Shakir from Pakistan, HND in Contemporary Art Practice
Shakir Mughal, 39, from Pakistan
HND in Contemporary Art Practice at Forth Valley College, Stirling, Scotland
Though I had a postgraduate qualification in Pakistan, through visual arts I was always keen to express myself more creatively and confidently. I didn’t have many formal fine arts qualifications from back home, but I always tried to do things on my own, so at the beginning I was kind of a self-taught artist. Honestly speaking I originally came to Britain to study subjects like Business and IT. But I could not stop myself drifting into the flow of my aesthetic ideas.
You know what some native British people might find unbelievable: about the first thing I liked about the UK as soon as I got off the aeroplane was the weather. Yeah, that’s right! I still remember that day, though it was just typical British weather I loved it – it was windy with a bit of rain.
I said to my friend, 'Lovely weather, isn’t it?'
'You are going to get this a lot,' he replied.
The second thing I liked was the UK’s beautiful and classic architecture, with a lot of parks, libraries and art galleries. After a bit of argument with my aesthetic sense, I let it win and decided to study fine arts. Since I didn’t have a formal qualification, I was accepted at HND level in Forth Valley College, Stirling, as a mature student.
I have a firm belief that seclusion and isolation are very close to creation and innovation, which is why I like quiet and small cities like Stirling. I have visited and lived in a number of cities including London as well – they are all fascinating, but I’ve always been a small-city boy. I finished the course in 2012, six months ahead of schedule.
In the near future I am planning to pursue further qualifications in visual arts, while working as a practicing artist as well. My art practice covers various genres of art; I used to be very traditional but now my work is more conceptual and contemporary (thanks to my HND). I have an exhibition in Pakistan in February 2014, with the topic 'Kingdom of Capitals' – I first exhibited these paintings in Dunblane Community Library in 2012, but I want people back home to see what I’ve learned and experienced, and to persuade other talented individuals to study in the UK.
'Kingdom of Capitals' covers all the capitals of Britain (London, Edinburgh, Cardiff and Belfast) in watercolour, with a blend of some pencil and pen work. I travelled many cities of the UK and spent a good amount of time in these four cities, recording many scenes in my sketchbook, then ultimately produced the final outcome in these 45 paintings. It’s basically my visual diary.
In the end I have to say I enriched myself in Britain, in terms of experience, education and arts – but my journey in Britain as a student, and as a struggling artist, is not finished yet.
These are a few paintings from my 'Kingdom of Capitals' exhibition (if you want to see more, see the event details on Facebook!)...
Above: London Underground
Below left: Trafalgar Square, London; Right: City Hall, Belfast
Above: The Scottish Parliament Building, Edinburgh