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Local artist Shayema Rahim on living a creative life

While various forms of art have existed since the dawn of time, every artist has a similar goal; to convey a particular message and evoke emotion within the beholder.
Photo credit Tammy Labuda

While various forms of art have existed since the dawn of time, every artist has a similar goal; to convey a particular message and evoke emotion within the beholder. To accomplish this, Plano-based painter Shayema Rahim incorporates elements and techniques she picked up during her childhood in Bangladesh. With her work, she strives to embolden women and to elicit positive feelings within anyone who views her art. Rahim fell in love with art at a very young age, and she believes everyone should feel encouraged to pursue their passions. She has found solace in art that she believes she never could find anywhere else.

At what age were you first fascinated by art?

“I have been painting since I was a kid. My mother is my biggest inspiration because she is an artist herself. During my high school years, I started painting outside of school. I went to an art school in Bangladesh, and my parents saw that I had so much interest in painting that they hired a private tutor.”

Do you believe that it is important for schools to emphasize the arts as much as they do math and science?

“Absolutely. I think stimulating a child’s creative side makes them happy. Kids are so stressed out with school, and I think art helps improve overall happiness. It also helps with social development and learn about color combinations and other aspects of the aesthetic sense.”

How do your art stylings differ from those of your mother?

“My mother used to do batik, which is an Indonesian technique that is usually done with wax. For the last almost 9 years, I have been very focused on the encaustic painting technique. The encaustic technique is an ancient Egyptian technique, which is over 3000 years old. You can do it on handmade paper or on wood panels. I took classes on the encaustic and felt so at home, because it reminded me so much of my teenage years.”

NIMBUS by Shayema Rahim. Image courtesy of Shayema Rahim

Which museum houses your favorite art collection?

“My local favorites are the DMA and Amon Carter. They have very exclusive collections. I also love the MoMA in New York City.”

 A lot of your work has been showcased in galleries and restaurants throughout town. Where can we find some of your work?

“Sync Gallery represents my work. Also, this new gallery called Flight to Freedom. They will be showcasing my work at Tanner Gallery, which is over on Dragon Street in the Design District. I did a show at Veritas, the wine bar and I’ve also done a show at Cafe Izmir.

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“Right now, I’m looking forward to displaying more of my artwork with the right crowd that appreciates my art. You can also find my some of my paintings in the lobby at the Marriott Hotel on Stemmons Freeway.”

A lot of artists have a “day job,” where they work when they are not working on creative projects. What do you do for your day job?

“I work in talent acquisition for a financial institution. I hire mostly accounting and finance professionals. I always wanted to have a career in which I help people. Talent acquisition is all about finding the right fit for the company and finding the right job for a candidate. When I go to bed, I feel happy, like I’ve done the right thing. They way I see life, that’s part of being a good human being; to help others, because our sole purpose isn’t just to live for ourselves.”

What do you hope to accomplish with your art?

“First of all, I want to be remembered through my art. Secondly, one of my biggest missions is to empower women through my art. I am involved with Family Place, New Beginnings, and Hope’s Door. One of my goals is to help women get out of that miserable feeling that comes with leaving an abusive relationship and show them the light, because art is very therapeutic and rejuvenating. I also want to help kids with special needs. I have worked in summer camps with children with autism, and would like to continue to do so in the future. I would also like to branch over in the corporate world, because art can be therapeutic for those who work in those stressful environments.”

Rahim often incorporates the encaustic technique in her works (Image courtesy of Shayema Rahim)

What is your personal philosophy?

“I believe that you have to create from within. I’ve taken art classes with wine, where we’re all given the same image to go off of, but none of the final products are the same. Everyone has to create from within. I have one son, Arbaaz, who plays saxophone. I always tell him to play from his heart. I believe that whatever you do, you do it from within.”

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 What is the most therapeutic part about creating art?

“For me, the joy at the end of creating art is the most therapeutic part. There are sometimes struggles that come with creating art. There are times where I will spend all night painting and then I’ll look at it in the morning and decide that I don’t like it. Before I can allow anyone to connect with my piece, I have to have a personal connection to it. It doesn’t matter if it’s abstract. But when I complete a project, and I love it, and other people love it as well, that, to me, is the greatest joy.”

What advice can you give for those wanting to create and sell their own art?

“Firstly, I’m not going to lie; it’s not an easy route. No profession is easy. You have to give 100 percent. You have to be persistent and on it. You cannot give up. You have to create with all of your heart. Also, love all, trust few, and do wrong to none.”

See more of Shayema Rahim’s art at