Make your art powerful - Learn art activism and tell your story | Mehreen Hashmi | Skillshare

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Make your art powerful - Learn art activism and tell your story

teacher avatar Mehreen Hashmi, Curator/Visual Artist

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Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Lessons in This Class

8 Lessons (16m)
    • 1. Introduction

    • 2. My work for art activism

    • 3. Creating compositions

    • 4. Choosing symbols

    • 5. Fun exercise of brainstorming your context

    • 6. First focus with circles

    • 7. How to make a unique composition - Project

    • 8. QnA and feedback

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About This Class


Make it personal, make it powerful ; Make it speak for you.

Mehreen Hashmi's work is based on art activism and her self-catharsis to create awareness for survivors of abuse and PTSD. She is also a speaker for this context and to help several other survivors in Pakistan who are suffering in silence. Her story has been published in The Daily Times, Pakistan for her work as an artist and a curator. 

Read the article here ;

Artist Statement ; My work as an artist has been a catharsis for me and it has been my strength to communicate with the world about my struggles with PTSD. Though my work narrates some traumatic experiences  that I have been through but it has been my super power as well. You can make your art practice powerful and bring social change as well.

This is an introductory class to make you understand basic elements of use of symbols, elements of thought provoking images and basics of unique compositions. 

This class is designed to make you understand your true inspiration which speaks your truth. 

Conceptual art works are based on several context. Main context are based on either personal or social.

In this class, you will learn how to  ;

Brainstorm context related to personal experiences or social taboos.

Use of elements, symbols in a composition.

Create unique compositions.

To get inspiration to tell your story , watch her vlog  here ;

Meet Your Teacher

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Mehreen Hashmi

Curator/Visual Artist


Mehreen Hashmi, residing and working in Karachi, Pakistan is founder and curator of MH Initiatives, and MH Online curated art gallery featuring renowned artists of Pakistan and international artists.  In 2019, She has curated a traveling project called 'Kabutar; which is a cultural exchange between Italy, Turkey, Netherlands and Pakistan. She has curated Pakistan's first art summit, Karachi Art Summit' in 2017. She has been exhibiting her multidisciplinary artwork based on art activism globally and have been part of several projects in Europe. Her work has been reviewed several times by pioneer art critics. She has taught for International Baccalaureate  and Cambridge systems and have worked as Head of Department for four years. 

About her work as an artist ; ... See full profile

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1. Introduction : First thing for us, what is our activism? So there are two kind of artist, some who show us the blessings of life and being pictures which are easy on i means it's easy to digest, such as landscapes, flowers, and all of that, which is, gives you an efficient feel offered. You feel happy and pleasant way looking at it. And their other kind of artist. Some people like me who paint considering disturbing images which people like to avoid. But then if you are showing all things positive and all tanks, you know, in a comfort zone, then you cannot have a torque provoke inside. You weren't, doesn't have to be disturbing. My work actually shows the narration of my emotional state with PTSD, saw how I was feeling, I being did that, nervous breakdowns, my CDs of Veronica dogs with therapy as well. I am at therapy for several years. I make vlogs about so a mental illnesses and how to deal with it. I also talk as a speaker for these challenges to create a radius about that you can find my belongs on my Agenda item is shared in here also as a resource power of art activism. So when we talk about such social taboos such as domestic violence, such as childhood abuse, such as emotional and sexual and physical. I have went through all of that and I was also emotion in emotional distress. Do you know how to let it out and show people what I am going through. It did work. It did show people what I was going through and there were a lot of exhibitions and I got it, started to speak about it and now others and I study here, I am sharing my story with you. So how do you do our activism? First of all, you need to learn to share your story. It starts with you. There are a lot of artists who are working with self portraits. So cent portrait was my very, very strong signature style. I love doing portrait and that's how I started painting my own self portraits and sharing with different textures and dollars an element also which shows what is disturbing you. So in my work, as you can see there, this is my bending of the beam Dang, I chose a fly. A fly as a house fly sits on disgust and. 2. My work for art activism : Hi there, My name is Marina Hashmi and I'm an internationally acclaimed visual artist and a curator from Karachi, Pakistan. I have been exhibiting internationally in Australia, Nepal, young job in early China, this year, Germany, London. There are a lot of business I have exerted every year and have been part of different projects based on art activism in Europe. My work has received several awards in Karachi, Pakistan. I'm also a curator and have worked with their friend or prohibit organizations are just Culture Department govern of what this thought and a half the rated karate Art Summit. You can find a lot of publications about my work nationally and internationally. My work is also now giving recognition to be part of students who are studying in US and UK for their input and master's degrees? Yes, in autumn, this I do to tell my story and create a radius against social taboos of mental illnesses, which I have also my struggles with the survivors of abuse, domestic violence, and all of those broken, different disturbing topics which we avoid socially. So recently, last year my work got published. I had a feature in daily dimes Pakistan, and it's very difficult to reach the masses here and talk about such context. So I live and work in my studio, also running by online art gallery promoting different artist and teaching for several years for different departments, International Baccalaureate system, edX, Cambridge for their diploma program. I have several students and I always encourage them to get out there. Personal connection with their works who have the signature style of your own and get to express their feelings with their work. Because I have been doing this in a country like Pakistan, creating a radius for the social taboos of survivors, childhood abuse, and everything else, which we are forbidden to even mention social gatherings. My work has given me a lot of strength and a lot of power through my art activism. I worked with paintings, used those in mines relations and audio and video installations as well. My work is really conceptual. I have been part of international artists phenol Indian job in angina and get to talk about the work. So here I am, I'm going to share my expertise and skills to get you to tell your story and get your ward the period of identity for our activism. 3. Creating compositions : A good composition. You need to know where to place your element. For example, make three boxes here. 123. What you need to do is, for example, this is my one composition, this is second and this history. I want to draw a pomegranate, which is the main element. As a Froude, I resonate with the pomegranate or something, and it's circular as well. It has some very simple specific forms as well. You can draw, choose elements which you can draw in so many forms and it has a margin of doing a lot of work. So you don't have to put anything in the center. Drawing a circle in our center is a scalar. If I put this woman granite in the sender, this doesn't go This does not look at or it doesn't have any move rent. It doesn't it's not engaging. Everybody has seen pomegranate in the center. You can have, you know, you can start with an apple also, you can zoom in to any kind of composition. For example, this one, C. It has to be unique. It doesn't have to go right in the center. You can think of ways where you can put your, you know, your element and so many thousands and thousands and millions of ways. I am not coloring the whole tangent here. Like if I can zoom and just use the crown. I'm sure everyone that it's a booming granted, I don't have to complete a voltage gain this way. It's balancing my whole composition. You have a negative space and you have a positive, positive space as well. This is like background and foreground. And you know, also that it just needed few colors. You know that it's a pomegranates. It can, people can come engage with themselves. Good composition is when you can tell the audience that what is it when they are creating ambiguity. So here's another example. I can, I don't have to do it this way. We can make it like upside down or half of it. There are so many ways of drawing this pomegranate. You have so many corners in one box, in one composition. And you can, you can just choose one element and keep drawing it and you can find your own way of composing things. I like to zoom in as you can see how I've seen my self portraits, I like to zoom things in an adult to exaggerate as you can see. So if I have to use anything for my own work, I will choose this one. But it's not necessarily has to be the Zoom in an exaggerated. You can go for this one, you're getting for upside down one. Or you can try more and more and more and more compositions every garner or you can have another woman grenade. Or for example, I can have like, you know, here, I can choose another color for it or anything is possible. Here I will show you more compositions and next goals. 4. Choosing symbols : First thing first, you have to choose your symbols. We would do an exercise about this intro, about how to choose your elements to show your story. It doesn't have to be disturbing, it doesn't have to be a thought-provoking, gory images. I like to work dark in the middle, display emotional and provocative, and I have a niche in Europe as well. Otherwise you could use your elements in my work, I chose a house fly. Why? Because I had to. I am a survivor of sexual assaults and emotional and physical abuse in my childhood. And that house fly shows that disgust you feel when you are assaulted. I'm going to go into details because it's a trigger for a lot of survivors. But that's how I have been showing and using my work as my string. So I, John and all those anger and separation and all of that which I was not able to express through words and emulsions, considering the social barriers and boundaries. That's how I chose to tell my story. 5. Fun exercise of brainstorming your context: Let's play this game. Tank, fruit and animal. This game really gets you an ink part that what do you connect with most and sometimes it all, all afraid is an over head but you're not thinking through it. So this is going to be taking firstly, forests. These are notables to be your favorite things. Actually, this should resonate with your personality trait. For example, I am a full migrant. Hello spelling is hard. I'm not, thank God, I'm not teaching misspellings so pomegranate because it's smooth outside and it has so much inside. Details. Inside. I am this kind of a person. I don't open up easily, but for now I open there's too much or dog. So many stories and a lot more. There are people like that animal is a spider because, you know, and if alone and I would do be independent and then creative of course, as a visual artist, this is kind of an feminine also because we resonate spiders with no small and it showed mainstream like a lion and everything. But it has a strong, it praise and spiders can be very strong. They go hunt and find their own food and create their own web in wilderness and all of that. So independent, creative, it's strong actually because they hunt. So this is kind of a mindmap tank, tank using which is which thing you are not what you like. So cheer, I like to be in fleming. Sure. This can go for different, different kind of context. For example, animal can go for your personal one. Your personal context. You are digging down and you want to say things about your own personal story or anything like that. Fruit also goes for that, for personal and social, Hao thinks people perceive you, your standing in connection with your social, because personal is connected with social. Everything going through social society, your visual culture in your country, taboos and all of that connects with your personal identity, with social setting. In the ring, it mostly goes for political contexts. There are a lot of artists who are working on the thing. What I know that the jiggles really political, Yeah. So there are a lot of others who are working on socio-economical context concepts and political concepts. And you know how the capitalism is affecting a lot of people and all of that. This goes for that. You can find the chair elements, all of these elements for your, if you are going political, you can use these elements for social. How people look at foods for social, their gatherings. We connect food with culture as well. So this is just one example of finding out your creative identity or your style for your own story can, because mostly artist work with either social and political. I am not going to talk about religious because this does not go with the policies. So, you know, and my work doesn't connect with that as well. We have a mindmap, so my things are. 6. First focus with circles: Here's one and other exercises that are dual. I just draw circles so you know, you have more random your hand and circles. It gives you good control over your grip on your pencil and a lot of things. So you know, you just go in the movement and keep drawing circles. You can fill this whole page with circles and focus I list when I am thinking. And also it helps me to focus on one thing and clear my head. It's like meditation. Meditation also helps when you want to focus on your work and you know, thinking, because in conceptual art, you need a lot of thinking browsers, you will have to be very careful when you elements and a lot of that. See, I was just talking to you and I made this composition. Let us start with composition. 7. How to make a unique composition - Project: Most important element which engages the audience. Look at your artwork and which makes you stand out from other artists, work in a gallery or a museum anywhere. It's our composition. There's several objects, tools, work is, you know, vey famous because of their compositions. Let's just mark Rothko. You'll see colors and squares VD the way it is, you know, assembled together to engage audience and null we're following is work. If you notice, Hi, an artist have very few elements, very engaging the end uniquely composed. Most of the high and AAC work is very simple. As I've done my students also, simplest is the strongest. Then you know where to put the circuit on a box on your godless, exactly which can make it unique is the most amazing element. And it can make your artwork to stand out. So how to compose your elements and how to place your circle on your gammas. 8. QnA and feedback: There is a GASB project for you and if you like these losses blue, please do. Let me know. I would love to see your work. You can share it in the discussion and I can share more off my expertise as a curator and an August and I can vector more how to approach galleries and how to improve your grade of identity and how do have a thriving kick ass are distinct barrier. I'll see you soon in another Gauss.