SRINAGAR: Contemporary calligraphic practice is defined as the art of giving form to signs in an expressive, harmonious, and skilful manner, Nadiya Mushtaq Mir from Srinagar has been doing exactly that through one of the captivating forms of art. In fact, she has, through her enchanting artworks, given a new lease of life to the art of Calligraphy in the Valley.

Nadiya Mushtaq Mir - Bringing Calligraphy to life in Kashmir

Brought up in a conservative family in Civil Lines area of Srinagar, Nadiya did Masters in Economics and Diploma in Fashion Designing but followed her passion. She has become what she wanted to – a creative calligrapher and a designer.

“Right from my childhood, I had tremendous energy full of creativity. I wanted to follow my dreams and do something in life. Through Calligraphy, I was able to channelize my creativity,” Nadiya says, adding, “The first time I started doing calligraphy, I realised I am good at it. I had an intuition that if I continue working on my talent, I could be better at it.”

Calligraphy requires long hours of serious dedication and scope for deviation even by a small degree would hamper prospects of a perfect art. She adds, “To accomplish a piece of art, one must dedicate continuous focused hours.”

Nadiya Mushtaq Mir - Bringing Calligraphy to life in Kashmir

Nadiya’s family has supported her throughout her journey to be a well-known calligrapher. “They read media reports about my work. And, since my work is mainly related to religion, they are happy about it,” Nadiya says.

But she is not sure whether this support would last for the years to come.

On being asked about the challenges she faces, Nadiya Mushtaq says, “The first challenge is to choose what verse to work on, what colour combination to use. These are the basic things. Then you have to decide whether to go by the customized demands of clients or to pursue own creativity as the two may not coincide most the time.”

On being asked whether she faced any gender-specific challenges, she replies, “Not many actually. The clients who order, consider it very religious and give me a lot of respect. The journalists and even the people associated with many other arts have been very supportive and as such, I did not face any gender bias.”

Most of her clients want her to work on a particular theme which she finds elementary and basic. She wants to do something ‘on the next level’. However, she says, “Client demand is paramount.”

Even though Nadiya earns a handsome amount, she never rated money as a metric to gauge her success as a calligrapher. But she is still not sure whether to make the art her full-time profession.

For the time being, she wants to live the present moment. “Yes, my work is going well. I am even getting orders from outside of South Asia. Coming few years, touchwood should go well,” she says.

About her future plans, she says she has some definite plans in mind. Among other endeavours, she plans to open an academy to promote calligraphy. “At the same time, I am getting good offers and it all feels very satisfactory,” she adds.

In her message to the budding calligraphers, Nadiya calls calligraphy as an art of patience to create perfect beautiful handwriting. “Analysing & interpreting the knowledge of the structure of each letter and how to connect and balance them together effectively are the ways to developing your own style of calligraphy,” Nadiya says, adding, “Your calligraphy will never be and look good if the paper bleeds with ink or colour. So, keep practising and don’t ever give up.”

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