“I want my art piece to be in every country, every city and every building in the world.” Founder Of ‘The Art Room’ Khadija R. Khan Shares Her Story
Most mornings, 35-year-old Khadija Rahim Khan wakes up early to make breakfast for her husband and children and once they go off to work and school respectively, she steps into her sanctuary, The Art Room.
Whether it’s her studio in Pakistan, her art area at Galleria Club, or a creative section in her home, one constant in Khadija’s life is the physical spaces that serve as a reflection of her purpose-to create.
I met with Khadija a few times to go through her story and anyone who has met her can attest to the healing nature of her presence. When she allows you into her space, you feel a sense of calm. Perhaps it’s her knack for art therapy or her gift as a Reiki healer that makes people feel like they are in a no judgment zone. A young woman who simply answered her life calling and is using her gifts to bless others, she shares her story in this exclusive interview.
WHERE WERE YOU BORN?
I was born in Pakistan and moved to Zimbabwe when I was in grade 6. So basically my growing years were in Zimbabwe mostly.
“I did my grade 7 in Zimbabwe until High School.”
WHEN DID YOU DISCOVER THAT YOU WERE PASSIONATE ABOUT ART?
I was 5 years old. The memories I can recall when I started drawing without any assistance, I started copying drawings from my reading books, stickers and whatever I found interesting as a child. I would collect different empty boxes especially matchboxes, soapboxes, shoe boxes and create craft.
I clearly remember an incident, I was only 7 years old and I copied a portrait of Quaid-e-Azam, the founder of Pakistan. When I showed it to my mother, I remember her words. “She will be an artist one day. ” I guess that must have been a stamp on it and encouraged me knowing I have her support.
WAS ART ALWAYS AN ACCEPTABLE CAREER PATH IN YOUR FAMILY?
To be honest it was considered first a hobby, like all families in every culture. But I guess I changed many views and they feel it’s a vast field and it is a proper career. You just have to believe in yourself and be strong to stick to your decisions. I believe I am one of those lucky ones who are always encouraged by their family. My biggest support behind ‘The Art Room’ is my parents and brothers. They are the ones who believed in my dreams.
WHAT DID YOU STUDY IN UNIVERSITY?
Having arts as a passion already in my life, my father suggested I get a degree in Business or Accounting, but my interest was interior design. Unfortunately, there was no degree in Interiors; I could only find diplomas of 6 months. I decided to go for business management. Then one day, I met my uncle and we were discussing admissions and entry tests and he suggested fashion designing.
I had no interest in Fashion Design whatsoever, but his logic made sense to me how fashion, interiors and art are all from the same family with just different names. From there, I went for the entry test at Pakistan School of Fashion Design affiliated La Chambre Syndicale de la Haute Couture in Pakistan and was called for an interview. Today, I am a fashion designer with a degree earned with top position, a textiles distinction holder and an artist by passion.
WHEN DID YOU DECIDE THAT YOU WANTED TO MAKE A CAREER OUT OF ART?
I don’t know when exactly I made up my mind but I know as far as I can remember I always said, “I want my art piece to be in every country, every city and every building in the world”. I don’t want people to know me by my face but I want them to see my art and say it is Khadija Rahim Khan without even reading my signature on it.
IF SOMEONE ASKED YOU WHAT YOU DO FOR A LIVING, HOW WOULD YOU RESPOND TO THEM?
Well, since 2007 I have been teaching Art, Fashion Illustrations, Textiles, Designing and Final year thesis. Along with that, I have experience working with some of Pakistan’s top brands as a designer and creative director. But if I answer this question today, I would say I am living my dream for a living. The best thing that could ever happen to anyone is having your passion as a means of living or career. You never get tired and you feel you’re not even at work. So now my focus is on promoting art in all ages, doing art therapy having a spiritual side, I like to help those in need [through] meditations, reiki, counseling.
WHAT FULFILLS YOU?
PLEASE EXPLAIN THE SERVICES THAT YOU OFFER
WHAT HAVE YOU LEARNT FROM TEACHING?
Patience-definitely. With the type of projects I am working on there is no age limit. In a day, I have classes with my youngest student being 5 years old to the oldest 55 years old. Your language, body language, ways to explain and dealing with the students varies with age. It’s a platform for all races, all cultures, different backgrounds, and different mindsets and every student has at least one thing to teach me.
They say you learn from your mistakes, I learn from my students’ mistakes because it’s me in the end who has to find a way to alter it.
WHAT IS YOUR FAVOURITE PIECE OF ART FROM YOUR OWN WORK?
Hmmmm, it might sound like a typical answer but honestly, none so far. Every art piece I feel still has a lot of potential to be better. And you also know yourself. I believe I haven’t given my 100% yet, not even 80%, I feel.
TELL US ABOUT YOUR FAMILY
I have a beautiful family. 2 boys and a girl and of course my very loving husband. My husband and I both graduated from the same university, the same batch too. Having a partner from your own field has always been a positive thing for me. We both understand the requirements of our work and the best part is we are always a team where needed, so the strength doubles. Like that, we also get to spend family time and professional time together.
Besides my art, my passion, I’m a full-time mom and a wife. I do all the cooking myself from breakfast to dinner. I love decorating my house and try to keep it as organized as possible within my capacity. I do gardening, play with my kids, help them with homework and tell them bedtime stories like a regular mom does.
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“I know what I want and I know I will get there one day. it’s the beginning I believe.”