Artist, Mother, Friend – Parvin Adbur interviewed by Fatima Begum (Editor: Kainat Javed)

“Art is not only my life-long hobby but it is a pillar of strength that motivates and injects energy in me."

Seeing the growth and development of artists in our midst through the ‘Knock Knock’ project has been a true validation of the ways in which women come together to support one another and shine. We spoke to one of our participants, turned facilitator Parvin Abdur, who delivers arts and crafts and meditation and wellbeing sessions to women in South Tyneside via Zoom. Together with her creative talent and conceptual prowess, Parvin has been an inspiration to women joining the Srijoni Group for wellbeing support.

“I start my day after the first Salah, ‘Fajar’, so I don’t have a set time for when my morning starts, I go by the Islamic calendar. I do this to start my day as I believe my connection to my god allows me to stay positive and I truly believe this helps me stay spiritually stable. Usually on Sunday nights, I also prepare meals as my husband fasts every Monday as a devoted Muslim.”

World Traveller
“I lived in Italy for many years, but I first arrived in South Shields after moving back to my homeland Bangladesh from Italy to take care of my ill mother-in-law. After her death, I was in search for a better life for my children and their education, and with the support from a very close friend who was also living in South Shields, we decided to board the plane in the hope that we would get a better quality of life.”

When Opportunity Strikes
“I was at a park in South Shields doing some landscape work accompanied by my son. A gentleman from customs house in South Shields called Gary watched me from a distance and then approached me. He was intrigued by my art and wanted me to network with others, who I will always remember him for. From then onwards, I became involved with a community where I felt my art and creativity was recognised and valued and littledid I know that one day I would become a facilitator and would run sessions through Sangini - a women’s organisation.”

Mental Health
“I am a very positive person who loves to share positivity and a healthy mind-set. After a terrible year when the global crisis started and having lost my own mother and brother, I became very depressed and felt very low in myself. But after deep thinking and wanting to bring change to myself and to help others, I decided that I would be a part of the Srijoni group where myself and other Bangladeshi women could get togetherseveral times a week and explore arts and crafts to express ourselves and uplift each other. Even though I had already been an active member prior to leading these sessions.”

“My love for abstract work, oil painting, water colours, traditional art and recycling work has enabled me to bring light to other women who have also felt isolated. The power of art has given me strength and hope and each of my art pieces have a strong meaning behind it – each tells a story. I deliver art sessions virtually due to the current situation where social distancing is a must.”

Drive and Ambition
“Art for me isn’t just a job or a hobby, it is something that defines me as a person. Mixing colours and playing with textures excites me. I come from Komilla in Bangladesh where I grew up and became passionate about art. To me there’s no definitive kind of artwork that I do. Just like a child who would run to new toys I too do the same where I see ‘rong’ - meaning paint. I have no favourites; I love everything that is creative as it gives me a opportunities to express myself.”

”Whilst I plan my work, one thing that I always make sure is that it should be enjoyable with an end goal of inspiring one another and being open, just like an open book. One of the projects that I’m currently delivering is a crafts session where we are using anything around our own homes, such as old fabric, card, paper, buttons, lids etc, to help recycle which is not only very important for the environment but also in teaching new skills. Some women were very unaware of recycling and didn’t realise the abundance of things you can make using old junk that sits in your house. Now they are amazed by the endless possibilities you create with these items; so far we have been making flowers using old fabrics and other bits and bobs. I’m very proud to say I was able to instil this knowledge and awareness. During my sessions I sing and encourage others to also do the same as art and singing both uplift minds.”

Support Network
“I remember the day my mother passed away, I decided that I want to learn calligraphy. The dark times were very difficult, but with dedication and willingness to learn I have acquired a new skill - something so close to my heart and I thank Roohia [Syed-Ahmed] for that.”

“Padma [Rao, Project Manager for Sangini (a friend) women’s charity] has taught me how to love myself and has encouraged me to believe in myself.”

Parvin’s work will be featured as part of the Srijoni Exhibition opening at the Arts Centre Washington on 18thMay 2021, in partnership with Sunderland Culture and Cultural Spring.

This is an Arts Council England funded project

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