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Haseebah Ali

First published January 26, 2023

We’re thrilled today to share this chat with Birmingham-based Artist and Arts Educator, Haseebah. Since graduating with a BA in Illustration back in 2018, Haseebah has gone on quite the journey; from appearing as a guest judge on the BBC’s Britain’s Best Young Artist, to exhibiting her work at the Saatchi Gallery, it’s only now sinking in… ‘It’s very surreal to me that I can financially support myself through art’, she says, but she’s not going to let the imposter syndrome get to her. Read on to learn more about her approach to self-care, her art studio (her ‘pride and joy’), and why people will always be at the forefront of her mind, and work.

Haseebah Ali

Haseebah, what’s your creative occupation?

I am an artist and arts educator. I mainly use printmaking in my work and really enjoy exploring relief print and intaglio, but I also have a background in illustration. I teach art workshops in schools, and different community settings, and consider myself a socially engaged artist. I really like storytelling within my work and touching on issues that I feel need to be highlighted more.

'Migration' etching

Where have you been?

I’m a South Asian artist that lives in Birmingham and I’ve lived here all my life. I’ve always been interested in art; my mum’s side of the family are very creative, but I’m the first one that’s taken to it as a career. I graduated in illustration in 2018 and, in my first year as a graduate, I did a printing residency at Uni whilst working a retail job and being part of a short youth heritage programme. It was pretty much just a year of juggling a lot of things at once. After that I was a bit confused so decided to dabble as an art teacher for a bit and was tempted to do my PGCE, until I realised it wasn’t fulfilling enough for me. I loved the teaching aspect but needed more freedom to create. During lockdown I was an activities worker at a hospital. It taught me a lot about people and made me recognise that I will always want to work with people in a creative way – it’s very rewarding for me. Since then, I’ve facilitated a lot of workshops and been on TV for being an artist and creating a lot of artworks. I think my highlight so far has been working with WaterAid, and having my work at the Saatchi Gallery which didn’t really sink in at the time… ’til now!

I’m trying to take self-care more seriously. For me, that means taking more breaks and not working myself too hard. HASEEBAH ON HER APPROCH TO THE NEW YEAR

Where are you now?

Currently, I’m working full-time as a freelance artist. I split my time between workshop facilitating and creating. It’s very surreal to me that I can financially support myself through art, but I can see this continuing in the long run. I’ve had my art studio for a year now and it’s my pride and joy, whenever I’m there I’m ready to create. Right now, I’m trying to take everything as it comes and not let the imposter syndrome get to me, which unfortunately does happen occasionally, especially after a very big moment.

Stamp lino print

Where are you going?

I’m aiming to make things more about me this year. That means accepting less work for other people and creating work more for myself and my practise. I recently came back from a trip to Pakistan (where my family are from) and it’s given me so much inspiration that it’ll definitely be my muse for a lot of future works. Also, I’m trying to take self-care more seriously. For me, that means taking more breaks and not working myself too hard.

Finally, what’s occupying your thoughts today?

My thoughts tend to always go back to people. Whether it be people I know, people I don’t know or acquaintances, and what I can do to help, if I can help at all. I want to capture people, in a state of feeling or thought, looking at my work or participating in my workshops. I’m thinking of what I can do to make that happen by chance, or intentionally.

Thank you so much, Haseebah. Check out Haseebah on Instagram to follow her journey and discover more of her work.


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