For Mashal Hussain, Art and Media are the two sides of a creative coin - GulfToday

For Mashal Hussain, Art and Media are the two sides of a creative coin

A study from Mashal Hussain.

Muhammad Yusuf, Features Writer

Artist Mashal Hussain does not confine herself only to the canvas: the Dubai-based painter also has a keen interest in advertising, journalism, travel, culture, history, and food.

Content writing, graphic design, animation, video production and collaborations with influencers, are also part of her talent bouquet; she has authored website content, worked with developers for web design and done documentary-like videos/infographics, catalogues/brochures and newsletters.

Back in Pakistan, Hussain worked with BBC Urdu (2021 — 2022), creating video content, focusing on Pakistan and the UAE. She has produced high-quality travel videos, showcasing destinations, attractions and cultural experiences, besides conducting in-depth food reviews and capturing the culinary diversity and flavours of different regions.

At Geo News English, Pakistan (2020), she worked as a travel journalist. She also created pictory in interior Sindh in Pakistan. As a writer, she has contributed to newspapers such as Independent Urdu (Islamabad); The News International (Karachi, Lahore, Rawalpindi/Islamabad and London) and Daily Kawish (Hyderabad).

 A portrait from Mashal Hussain.

She has been featured numerous times in, one of Pakistan’s leading newspapers, for personal photography shots and in multiple online magazines and Instagram accounts. “Painting is my comfort,” Hussain says. “Whether I’m hurt, sad, overwhelmed by love, or filled with joy, the canvas becomes my refuge.

It’s where I channel my deepest emotions, crafting vibrant artworks that reflect the essence of my being. As the saying goes, “break my heart, and I’ll create a masterpiece out of the shattered pieces.” My art shows the mix of feelings inside me in a way you can see. It’s like a colourful picture of all the emotions woven together.” Hussain spoke more to Gulf Today

Have you had formal art education?

No, I didn’t receive formal art education. Initially, I was enrolled in Business school; but I felt like I didn’t quite belong there. Recognising my passion for creativity, I made the decision to switch to Mass Communication, which allowed me to explore my artistic inclinations through various mediums such as visual storytelling, photography and social media content creation.

What are your inspirations?

First, my art is a heartfelt tribute to my homeland, the beautiful Sindh province of Pakistan. I draw inspiration from the Tharparkar desert, a place of immense beauty and resilience. It represents the strong spirit of the land and its people, who have faced many challenges throughout history.

 A bird playfully looks at the world.

But that’s not all! Since I moved to Dubai, the emirate has become a second home for me. The colourful mix of cultures, traditions and stories from around the world, creates a vibrant tapestry of inspiration for my art; it fuels my creativity, as I explore new narratives and perspectives. My inspirations are a blend of the beauty of my homeland and the exciting stories of nomadic life.

Who are the artists you look up to?

Of all the artists who have influenced me, Vincent van Gogh, Michelangelo, Leonardo da Vinci and Banksy, hold a special place in my heart. Vincent van Gogh’s paintings, filled with vibrant colours and powerful emotions, truly touch me. His dedication and passion for art inspires me at a personal level.

Michelangelo’s sculptures and frescoes are absolutely breathtaking! It’s incredible how he could bring stone to life. Leonardo da Vinci’s diverse skills in painting, sculpture and invention amaze me. He paid such attention to detail and had a deep understanding of the human body. As for Banksy, his thought-provoking street art challenges the status quo and makes us think critically about society.

The anonymity surrounding his identity adds a sense of mystery to his work. The creativity and passion of these artists inspires me in my own artistic journey.

 Mashal Hussain with one of her works.

How do you find your subjects?

I discover my subjects by observing the world around me, finding beauty in the simplest of moments. Nature is a great source of inspiration, with its breathtaking landscapes and complex details.

I am deeply fascinated by people and their stories. The emotions we experience, the connections we share and the meaningful moments that shape our lives, all inspire me. I find myself drawn to capturing expressions on faces, the relationships between individuals and the small gestures that speak volumes. They are like windows into the human experience.

Your art seems quite South Asian. Don’t Arab subjects attract you?

Absolutely, Arab subjects indeed have their own unique charm, and I find them incredibly captivating. The way Arabs embrace and preserve their culture in a rapidly changing world, truly resonates with me. It’s admirable how they prioritise their language and traditional wear, staying true to their roots, no matter where they are.

The ability to adapt to change while remaining flexible is something that really fascinates me. However, I have a particular affinity for South Asian subjects. It is a personal preference to explore and portray the beauty and richness of Asian cultures. I also like fostering cultural exchange and understanding here.

How is the Media linked to Art?

The connection between Media and Art is a fascinating bond that brings together creativity and communication. Media platforms such as television, film and digital media play a big role in showcasing and promoting different types of art. Social media and the internet allow artists to display their work globally and connect with people who appreciate art. Art has influenced the media as well. Artists use their creativity to challenge norms and address social issues, and this influence can be seen in things like advertisements, music videos, and even news. 



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