Healing Through Art: Kashmiri doctor transforms waste into wonder

[Photo by Special Arrangement.]

Tabish Aijaz Khan is a young doctor from South Kashmir who has gained recognition for her unique approach to art. 

As a self-taught artist, she focuses on themes ranging from social issues to sustainable environment. The doctor’s creativity knows no bounds as she creates art on Chinar leaves, stones, and waste material, in addition to using traditional mediums like paper and canvas.

“Using waste and natural materials, I aim to convey the message that nothing is worthless unless we perceive it to be,” Dr. Tabish said. “It’s all about seeing things with love and positivity.” 

The young medico explores subjects of self-discovery and inner strength in her art-pieces to inspire others to find beauty and value in unexpected places.

“I hope to explore the intersection of art and medicine,” she continues, “perhaps using art as a form of therapy for patients or incorporating artistic elements into medical education.” 

In a candid chat with Free Press Kashmir, the medico talks about art as an inspiration.

Art and the artist. [Photo by Special Arrangement.]

How did your passions for art and medicine come together in your life?

Art has been my companion since childhood. While my ultimate goal was to become a doctor, my love for painting and creating things was always a part of me. So, you could say, they’ve been intertwined in my life’s journey from the very beginning. 

But as I progressed in my medical career, I found that art provided a creative outlet that complemented my scientific pursuits. It became a way for me to express my emotions and observations in a different, more visual form.

What drives your passion for creating art, especially in painting and calligraphy?

My passion for creating art stems from my love for painting and creating. Nature, especially the beauty of Kashmir where I live, inspires me. Each stroke on the canvas or calligraphic piece is a reflection of my innermost feelings. I find that art allows me to communicate in a way that words sometimes cannot. It’s a way for me to share my perspective and emotions with others.

Could you share some of the themes or messages you explore through your art?

Certainly. My art often revolves around the beauty and culture of Kashmir. Using waste and natural materials, I aim to convey the message that nothing is worthless unless we perceive it to be. It’s all about seeing things with love and positivity. I also like to explore themes of self-discovery and inner strength, hoping to inspire others to find beauty and value in unexpected places.

Your use of waste material in your art is inspiring. What inspired this unique approach, and what messages do you hope to convey through these creations?

My inspiration comes from the idea of seeing things with positivity. I believe that if we approach the world with a positive mindset, it becomes a much more beautiful place to live in. By using waste materials in my art, I hope to convey the message that there is beauty and value in everything, even in things that are often overlooked or discarded. It’s a reminder that with a little creativity and imagination, we can transform the ordinary into something extraordinary.

[Photo by Special Arrangement.]

Where do you find inspiration for your art, and how do you keep your creativity flowing?

To keep my creativity flowing, I often revisit my childhood memories of being inspired by my school art teacher. I also find inspiration in the work of other artists, both contemporary and classic. I believe that creativity is a continuous process, and I’m always seeking new sources of inspiration to keep my art fresh and exciting.

Can you share a project or artwork that holds special significance to you, and the story behind its creation?

One project that holds special significance is a series of paintings I did depicting the changing seasons in Kashmir. Each painting captured the beauty of the landscape at different times of the year, from the lush greenery of spring to the snowy winters. It was a way for me to celebrate the natural beauty of my homeland and share it with others.

Balancing a medical career with an artistic pursuit must be challenging. How do you manage to juggle these two demanding professions?

Balancing my medical career with art has never been a challenge. In fact, art has always been a stress-reliever and healer for me. Whenever I feel stressed, creating art brings me peace and serenity. I also make sure to carve out time for both my medical work and my art, ensuring that neither one takes precedence over the other. It’s all about finding a balance and making time for the things that bring me joy and fulfillment.

How do you believe art, both creating and experiencing it, can contribute to healing and well-being?

I believe art has the power to heal and uplift, both for the creator and the viewer. It allows us to express our emotions and connect with others on a deeper level. In my own life, art has been a source of comfort and inspiration, helping me navigate the challenges of my medical career.

What are your future goals and aspirations, both in your medical career and your artistry?

I aspire to become the best doctor I can be, while continuing to create beautiful artworks that inspire others. I hope to further explore the intersection of art and medicine, perhaps using art as a form of therapy for patients or incorporating artistic elements into medical education. My goal is to continue to grow and evolve both as a doctor and an artist, making a positive impact in both fields.

[Photo by Special Arrangement.]

Your talent has been recognized with several awards. How have these accolades impacted your artistic journey?

All the awards and appreciations I’ve received have encouraged me to create more beautiful works. They bring me peace and motivate me to continue my artistic journey. The recognition has also given me a platform to share my art with a wider audience, inspiring others to see the beauty in the world around them.

Behind every successful person, there’s usually a strong support system. How has your family supported you in your dual careers?

I owe everything to my parents. Their support has been crucial in my journey as both a doctor and an artist. Their encouragement keeps me going. My father is the first person to like and share my posts when I upload anything, showing his unwavering support for my passions. Their belief in me has been a driving force behind my success, and I am grateful for their love and support.

Your journey is sure to inspire many. What advice would you give to aspiring artists, especially women, who are trying to find their path in the world of art?

I would say, never stop dreaming. Have faith in yourself and focus on your goals. Both passion and profession can be achieved with determination and belief in oneself. Don’t be afraid to take risks and explore new avenues in your art. Most importantly, always stay true to yourself and your vision. Art is a journey of self-discovery, and the path may not always be easy, but it’s always worth it.

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