sara-shakeel-instagram-the-last-supper-featurePhoto: Charles Emerson

A dental student turned Instagram sensation, Sara Shakeel adds a little – and sometimes a lot – of sparkle to our daily social feeds. The Pakistani artist lets us in on what drives her creativity as well as the best things to see and do in her hometown.

Sara Shakeel’s surrealist works have a universal appeal, as her masses of followers (in surplus of 750k) will attest. Inspired by artists ranging from Pablo Picasso to Hannah Höch, Shakeel has a style that is distinctive and chintzy.

In essence, Shakeel is a fantasist who dabbles in Dadaism. Here we explore her dreamscape, discuss why she considers Innsbruck to be a leader in the field of visual art and why young Pakistanis should indulge in their imaginations.

Where are you from and how has that shaped or inspired you?

I am born and raised in Pakistan. Coming from a country that is still struggling and young compared to many nations out there has truly taught me to dream. Things are not perfect here, not at all, which gives me more reason to fix it with my imagination.

Why the bling and glitter?

It represents the very essence of who I am and how I see the world. It’s therapeutic on so many levels.

The London Underground, the New York skyline, Sagrada Familia in Barcelona – what’s the rhyme and reason when selecting your destinations?

I like crystal-ing places I visit or really want to visit.

Best cities for visual art?

Istanbul, London, Innsbruck and Milan.

Other collage artists you admire…

Hannah Höch and Pablo Picasso.

Do you consider art a universal language?

5,000 per cent yes.

Is Instagram a new and universal language?

Yes, in a way. I always tell people that I owe my success to Instagram. It gave me the platform I needed and connected me with those that share similar ideas.

Why do you think your account has been so successful?

I’ve been honest with my work, maybe that shows through my art?

What destinations inspire your creativity?

From the mountains to the seas, every location reminds me of the wonders God created. I can’t put my finger on just one.

Where’s your next adventure?

Somewhere in Asia or America.

What areas should we visit in Pakistan…

The Hunza Valley or Chitral.

Must-try local food and drink…

Chapli kabab and lassi.

What are you working on at the moment?

I am in the process of creating my own studio.

Any editing tips you can share?

Everything you need is on YouTube.

One piece of travel advice…

Clear your sinuses before you fly.

And finally, what’s in your SUITCASE?

Lots of clothes that I never wore.

The Great Supper by Sara Shakeel is on display at the NOW Gallery until 23 June 2019.

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