skip to Main Content

Art Watch : Summaiya Jillani

Summaiya Jillani is our Art Watch Artist for today. This section is brought to you by Art From Us and Divvya Nirula. The Artists we spotlight here can be from any field, across nay discipline, and using a variety of media. We share here why we think they are important and worth watching. Be it genius creators of eras gone by. Or the upcoming contemporary artist who is yet to have their first show. All come under the purview of Art Watch.

Karachi born artist Summaiya Jillani took the art world by storm in 2014, when her Facebook posts of her own art-work went viral. The artwork in question was ‘Baar Baar Dekho, Hazaar Baar Dekho” – a rendition of Marilyn Monroe in a ‘desi’ avatar. Jillani had always wanted to be a sculptor but was pushed into painting by her friends and family. Having formally trained at the Visual Arts Department of the University of Karachi. She now had found her love for all things Pop Art!

It is not to say that this kind has not been attempted so far. But her skill was obvious because it captured an audience that she was most interested with. In her own recounting –

“I am always interested in seeing young kids’ response to art, which you don’t get to see much on Facebook or Twitter as at this age ‘art’ has not yet become their cup of tea. But when they observe it in a gallery, their body language tells how mesmerised they are to see some original piece of art. That thrill in their conversations is exciting and something very positive. I even find uninterested kids very funny in a gallery because they are honest with their expressions.” Clearly Summaiya is somebody who likes to have fun all the time and even when she is serious it is definitely tinged with humour with an outpouring in art.

Why Summaiya Jillani?

For the artist it is important to have a wow moment from her audience. She says- “All I care about is the ‘bang,’ I want my work to give to the viewers. That is my main intention and then it’s up to the people whatever they like to extract conceptually out of my paintings.”

Summaiya graduated from University of Karachi in 2010. Having studied there, she believes that the education she received, made her ‘become a much better human being.’

She says that one of the main sources of inspirations is from the Internet. Where she enjoys studying the great painters, contemporary mostly. However, the impressionists inspired her as well. And it was that aesthetic that she used as a base technique for using paints. Then gradually she moved forward and started taking inspiration from some living masters of current times like Belinda Eaton, Francoise Nielly, Alexa Meade and a few more using paint very boldly. She is inspired by the young  and upcoming Pakistani artists like Samar Zaidi from Karachi University, Sausan Saulat. That being said she does maintain that Pop Culture is one of her favourite genres for the accessibility it offers. Moreover she believes with the popularity of social media platforms, certain kinds of art really make the sell.

As to the fusion of the modern and the ethnic touch in her work, that is part of her heritage and upbringing and also a matter of personal preference. :I have always had a proclivity for “desi” things and the indigenous colorus of Pakistan. It is a blessing to have a rich cultural background as a native of some place. I find it very easy to bring out the Pakistani feel in my work just by being true to the colours we get to see in our every-day routine.”


For more Artists handpicked by Divvya Nirula – explore the ART WATCH archive.

Back To Top