Voices

Painting Melbourne with the Colours of India

Bushra Hassan initially found it hard to adapt to Australia when she moved there from India. But art helped her cope and find meaning.

By Bushra Hassan, 33, Melbourne

I was born in a town called Korajahanabad, close to Lucknow, UP. I grew up in a household where almost everyone paints and so did I. Later, I studied in Nainital, and then got a formal arts degree from Jamia Millia Islamia in New Delhi.

I worked in an international fashion magazine in Delhi for a while, and in 2010, I started making quirky hand-painted homeware called Indybindi inspired by ethnic Indian art. It was a great time in my life; I had the best of the corporate world as well as creative fulfillment. In 2013, I fell in love, got married and moved to Sydney.

That was a difficult phase for me: I couldn’t find a job, and couldn’t even understand the local accent. Luckily, we moved to Melbourne and I fell in love with the city. I volunteered my skills and began selling Indybindi products at ‘makers markets’.

Soon, I was noticed by an art organization who invited me to conduct workshops. In the meantime, we had a baby boy.

I now freelance as a graphic designer, teach Indian artwork and also make my own products. Last month, my painting was selected for display on a Melbourne tram, and will run for six months. I feel really proud to represent the art and culture of my country.

Life has both ups and downs, but art has seen me through.

First published in the September 2017 issue of eShe magazine

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