Huda Z: Desi Design
Huda Z is a digital artist and writer who is currently writing for a private magazine. Her work is stands out from the crowd because of the kind of topics she touches in both art and writing. According to her, “Art isn’t just a bunch of colors put together on a canvas. Art is a medium of communication. It’s a weapon at the artist’s sole disposal.” As a modern-day visibly Muslim woman, her aim is to create content that represents what she is and creates a positive impact on the society that’s closest to her.
The nature of her art revolves around social justice, politics and culture. As a Pakistani living in the middle-eastern diaspora, she has learnt the value of her culture and tries to mirror her culture in her drawings as much as she can. She often posts her artwork on Instagram. In one of her Instagram posts where she drew Pakistani women sporting naths – cultural jewelry pieces worn on the nose – she talked about how the Indian and Pakistani culture has been appropriated by the west as she compared how every object of the said culture becomes socially acceptable after the western media approves of it. To quote, “It’s funny how everything about our culture is ‘ugly’ before a huge international brand or a rich non-desi model sports it, after which it all suddenly becomes ‘exotic’.”
She has a great interest in politics and every now and then, writes and creates content to voice her strong political views. She has previously collaborated with about two-hundred Instagram artists and creatives in a public collaboration she hosted which went by the name of Hands Off Her Niqab. This collaboration was initiated as response to the face-covering ban which was introduced in Quebec, Canada, back in 2017, which forbade Muslim women from covering their face with a piece of cloth called the Niqab in public, as a religious practice. “The point is to prove that we are there for each other and will continue to support each other through whatever medium we can. To quote Angela Davis, if they come for me in the day, they will come for you in the night. It’s no one’s right to prevent a woman from covering her face if she wants to.”
She is also the creator of a series of drawings called Your Average Dulhan, which she described in an interview with a private blog. She said, “Your Average Dulhan is basically meant to change people’s minds about women in the desi society. In our culture, there is a common thought, especially present in the minds of many of the older women of our society, that marriage marks the end of a woman’s professional life and her career, resulting in a very few women in the sectors of our society they’re badly needed today. I aim to defy that mind-set. Marriage, I believe, is a start, and just a start; a start of a beautiful chapter characterised by responsibilities and fruits of those responsibilities. It’s not the end of anything. It doesn’t have to be.” All drawings in the series show desi women in the bridal attire doing stunts like biking, surfing and skateboarding that they’re not usually seen doing in so.
Huda is very vocal about women and them taking up important and essential positions in the society more than ever before. Upon being asked what she wants. more people to be talking about these days, she replied, “I want people, especially people of our community to talk more about women empowerment and mental health. I want us to focus more on areas like this as I think we lag far behind many nations in terms of these two. Especially our women. I want women to talk about science. I want women to talk about women. I want them to let go of superstitions and believing in every other thing they’re told to believe in and discover themselves and their environment and change the bad narrative about their own selves.”