Shaida Parveen

The moving story of Shaida Parveen and why she wants to give to others by producing beautiful works of art

I started at a very young age; I was about 5 when I started using my mothers’ cuts of material. I used to glue things together and make all sorts of patterns. I remember they used to be so beautiful. From there, I started cutting up my poor mother’s lace curtains - I really drove my mother crazy, but just couldn’t help myself! It was only when people pointed out to my mother that Shaida has a true creative talent, that she can’t help herself, and then my mother started buying me little felt fabrics, and gave me her spare materials she no longer needed, and I was able to continue with my passion for art.

I was always happy being creative - I isolated myself many times and still do, just to have some peace while my head was in a creative frenzy. It’s as if this is how I was supposed to be, some have art as a hobby, for me this is not a hobby, but something deep in my soul, waiting to be discovered and to be used for a good purpose towards life.

So my paintings go far far back say 30 years of my life, being brought up in England since the age of two. Then I used to get told about all the culture of Pakistan where I was originally born and I took a lot of interest - as this was the country where my mother gave birth to me.

I continue to be fascinated by my eastern background and this is mostly the starting point to my paintings. I will sit for ages, remembering what my family say about Pakistan and I look around where I am now in England and I get ideas through my thoughts and feelings, and through what I have experienced.

My eastern style paintings come from my background, with a twist of west in them - most times I don’t apply just one kind of paint as I have far too many ideas and thoughts in my head at any one time just to paint a landscape. I have to use different types of acrylic paints, as I love the thickness and texture you can create with them. I love to use different types of media - that to me is adventurous and daring, expressing myself. This allows me to put my feelings and expressions into my art – sometimes, I apply some kind of sequins or beads, to “glam” my paintings up, and that brings back all my past memories, to show the full beauty of art. I get a buzz out of the unknown and I get such a huge pleasure out of making happy accidents come alive and well.

As I got older, I have travelled back and forth to my country and other countries to grasp more of what I can out of life, these valuable experiences helped me to add more depth, drama and richness to my paintings, as I had smelt the different air and experienced the different cultures.

I also discovered other ways of making art, such as the eastern tradition to paint a bride’s hands with beautiful henna patterns - you see the amazing wet brown powder applied to the hand, with delicacy, intricacy and precision. With the bride later applying oils which soften the skin, and enhance the colour into such beautiful, rich amber. Even more amazingly, on different tones of skin this colouring of henna comes out in wonderful tones of deep red, shades of orange, and brown. I got well and truly fascinated by this process and I apply it to my paintings now.

My final cultural journey ended in Vietnam, where what I saw was enough for me to say, that’s enough now. I simply know what the world’s about, enough is enough, and I must try and do something little or big to change someone else’s life for the better even if I have to use my art in some way or other to get a message across or try and sell them for me to be able to be in a position to do so.

I stayed in Vietnam for a whole month; something inside me had given me direction to head to go there. Vietnam was beautiful, there was amazing scenery, and they seemed to have it all, the villagers seemed to have little, but lived well.

Then I saw the sad side, I saw helpless mothers carrying their skeleton-like children, begging and crying for help, they were simply dying from starvation and dehydration, this was poverty! There was us, with our bottled water everywhere, just in case we get thirsty, and there was them, without a choice to even do so. I went back to the apartment to cry my eyes out ... how could this be possible, next day I left the apartment to set out sight-seeing with no water - the immense heat I couldn’t take any more. I didn’t let the others know what I was doing, but I wanted to feel what these people are going through, but I will never know, as how could I know, I only suffered one day without some water and food, and it nearly killed me, as I felt irritated, angry, thirsty, hunger pangs, I felt sick and weak and I knew I had food and water at the end of my day.

For the first time in my whole life, I truly felt my heart bleeding like never before, they had hardly anything and these people happened to be the most humblest, thoughtful, grateful, passionate, kind but unfortunate human beings ... their souls were full of warm love, and true kind spirits, as they didn’t want much, neither did they expect much, neither do they ask much from life, just food and water would be enough for these kind souls.

I gave my water bottles and used to buy candy for children as I passed through the streets of Vietnam, even a little candy made one girl give me the biggest, warm smile I have ever seen. She wept with joy, her eyes twinkled with such passion, she held my hand and squeezed it so tight, and couldn’t stop kissing my hand and arms  ... my heart just sank. Here, we give a child a PlayStation and yet he will moan if it is not the latest, what a truly terrible sad world we live in.

I feel I have to do something. Allah (god), I don’t know who to save and who not to, but to even lighten up a whole months of someone else’s life like that little girl, by even just giving her so little. I made a mission in life now, I must do something, to even help provide some water, to keep these poor people from suffering so much, as man can live on water for so much longer than food, so that’s where my water project has come about.

I may not be able to work around the clock to save the world, but I surely can put my heart and soul into my paintings and try to help them this way, now this is what my art is about. These days ... the more I saw the more I wanted to see, like my art, the more I knew, the more I wanted to know, so today the more rich and detailed my art has become, just like my life experiences.

I am artist not seeking richness in fame, or richness in money, for myself or my paintings, as this simply means nothing to me, as I have more than enough gratefully from god, and neither does or will it ever do anything thing for me alone spiritually. I am an artist on a journey to fulfill my heart by fulfilling others first, knowing someone out there has suffered a little less by my help in some way means the world to me. Nothing else or no amount of money will give me that feeling, so I will follow my golden heart and do all I can on my new journey in life as an artist, this is my purpose in life, to follow Allah, and use the beautiful talent he has given me to help others less fortunate than me, through valuable life experiences I learnt it is was those with nothing that taught me the value of life which is simply priceless ...

I am grateful to for helping me get my true message across, for giving me such an opportunity to express myself, and let me show my art in such a way, that will fulfill my heart by touching other hearts, that will further reach out to other yearning hearts.

I do hope you will be moved to buy my paintings to allow me to fulfill my mission to provide water to those who regard it as so precious.

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