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Pakistani artist featured in Forbes 30 Under 30 Asia list says country ‘missing platforms, opportunities’


Byraq Shabbir

KARACHI: Pakistani visual tech artist Ayesha Mubarak Ali, who was featured in this year’s Forbes’ 30 Under 30 Asia list last week, said on Monday that the South Asian country has a plenty of talent but is “missing” opportunities and platforms.

Ali, who is based in Pakistan’s southern port city of Karachi, is the first Pakistani artist who has collaborated with NASA scientists. In July 2022, her art was sent to the International Space Station through SpaceX for Maleth II. Ali’s fusion-art practice was also featured in NFT NYC, Forbes Middle East, E27, Hello, and GRAZIA publications.

The Forbes 30 Under 30 is a set of lists for people under the age of 30 and is published annually by Forbes magazine to recognize businesses and industry figures for their contribution to different fields across North America, Asia, and Europe. The eighth edition of the annual list featured a total of 300 honorees under 10 categories of 30 people each. Ali is one of the 30 artists who made the cut in ‘The Arts’ category.

“Pakistani talent is being recognized in technology and innovation around the world,” Ali told Arab News. “Pakistan has all the talent, it’s just the opportunities and platforms that are missing. We are slowly and gradually increasing more platforms but it’s something that is going to take us more time.

“We have technologists and we have artists, and there can be huge collaborations between them. It’s just that there has to be a platform that exhibits this kind of art.”

Ali said AI-based digital media content, such as films, can be highlighted through festivals in Pakistan. However, she lamented such opportunities aren’t available in the country.

“If we start creating those platforms, more people [artists] will come. Internationally, when you talk about the kind of art that actually has impact, this has impact,” she said.

On being the first Pakistani artist who collaborated with NASA, said she had been working on the project for a long time and that it felt great to be recognized by a prominent international publication.

Born in Lahore, the 26-year-old artist moved to Karachi with her family a decade ago where she graduated in Fine Arts and majored in New Media Art from the Indus Valley School of Arts and Architecture in 2018. She describes herself as a “hardcore painter” who decided to incorporate technology in her art three years ago.

Ali said Forbes had been following her work and had reached out to the Pakistani artist last year on the possibility of her making the list. She received an email from the international publication last week, informing her that she had made the list.

Ali uses Artificial Intelligence to create wearable forms which she represents through digital art. The Pakistani artist says Forbes has a “special networking circle” that is putting her in touch with various people around the world.

“What I am getting now are message requests and people from other continents who are in Forbes now, reaching out to me,” she said. “That’s not possible otherwise.”

Ali plans to move to Dubai or the US permanently to pursue her passion for fusion art. Currently, she is working on an AI-based New Media film project which she says will take time to materialize.

courtesy : bbc