Fizza Shabbar
Fizza Shabbar

From carving micro-scale sculptures out of thin lead sticks to making cars, Fizza Shabbar works with a commitment and passion. During every creative venture, she starts living with her works so intimately that it becomes her only focus in life.

Since her childhood, she was inclined to making products with the help of rough and recycled objects.

“I was never interested in academic education and reading books. During high school, my only inspiration was a variety of fancy and colourful art materials being used by my elder sister doing her Masters in Graphic Design.

“Without any technical skills of mould making and casting, I used to make pots by going through a laborious process of carving out solid blocks of plaster,” she recalls.

After doing her Masters in Fine Arts from Anjuman-e-Himayat-e-Islam College, she started working as an art teacher.

“It was exciting initially, but after some time I realised that a routine was making my life dull and consequently killing my creativity; so I quit teaching and indulged myself with studio practices,” she says.

She works in different phases with a wide range of materials, making hand bags from rough fabrics, creating pottery from paper mash, making jewellery by recycling metallic bottle lids and sculptures using clay.

“Every material has a charm of its own but I got hooked to the rough look of clay. I think it’s one of the best materials that go with flow of my spontaneous works,” she believes.

Focused on her works and family, she is not very social and as a result, very poor at selling her artefacts.

“I am very impulsive and unorganised; I keep on working without any target or strategy to market or exhibit them. After creating a bulk, I sell them at throwaway prices,” she says.

After a tedious labour of almost four years, she made a car using a Vespa scooter engine after discussing in detail all the process and seen the documentation of the whole process. Her project was appreciated and awarded at PakWheels Lahore Auto Show 2015.

“I lost my brother in 2011; he was a car enthusiast and we used to talk a lot about cars. While going through this agony, I decided to make a car. When I discussed the plan with my family and friends, everyone would say, “go ahead”, in such a way that they believe, for sure, that I will end up with nothing but a piece of junk parked at the backyard of my house.

“Except for my mother, who trusted my abilities and she spent a lot of time with me especially for going out to car spare-parts market and buy raw materials,” she says.

She is grateful to the non-cooperating attitude of mechanics and craftsmen that pushed her to do everything for herself, from mechanical works to tapestry, with her own hands.

“It was hard and laborious, but a blessing in disguise that made me learn so many skills,” she says.

Doing a job of gallery manager to finance her future projects, she is currently working on another car, using the engine of a motorbike, and doing paper work to convert the ordinary bikes into dashing sports vehicles.

She usually gives rough looks to her creations rather than turning them into finished products. Even after having formal art education, she is not stuck to any of the art trends. She works by following her own intuitive impulses.

With a serious approach towards her works and sound skills to play with a wide range of materials, Fizza has the potential to make her mark on the art scene of Pakistan.

Published in Dawn, June 7th, 2015

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