By Mushtaq Bhat
Srinagar, July, 17 : From being a student of the medical science stream to choosing computer sciences as her subject, this young artist has come a long way to find solace in the art of calligraphy and drawing her imagination on the canvas.
For 22-year-old Urooj Latief, hailing from Karan Nagar locality of Srinagar, learning the art calligraphy has been a “blessing in disguise” during 2019 when the entire Jammu and Kashmir was under a security lockdown and communications blackout that had been imposed throughout the Union Territory, following the revocation of Article 370 on August 05, 2019.
It was when Urooj learnt the titbits of calligraphy until she joined an academy in 2020, for a two-month course in her locality.
“I used to learn the titbits of calligraphy during 2019 lockdown from a teacher, who resides in the locality and then I used to practice it at my home. It was not inborn, I learnt it in just 3 years and though there are special and different tools for calligraphy, like pen, ink and pages, I started with normal tools and learnt the basics at home,” she said.
Urooj, while talking with Media, said that after learning the basics at home, she joined an academy in her locality to do a two-month course in calligraphy and after that, she started drawing on the canvas. “This is when I created an Instagram page to showcase my talent and upload my customized calligraphic painting on the page, and soon I started getting a good response from the people,” she said.
Urooj, who is pursuing a course in computer science engineering (CSE) from the IUST before being a student of medical science stream in class 12th, said that though she was not inspired by anyone, she used to follow several calligraphy pages on Instagram and Facebook and she got attracted by the work, the calligraphy artists have been doing.
“Lockdown in 2019, post abrogation of article 370 was a sort of blessing in disguise for me as I learnt the art of calligraphy, which needs a lot of time and patience, and then Covid-19 lockdown also helped me in honing my calligraphy skills, as by then I had already done a two-month course in it. After completing my course, I practised for about 4 months, till the perfected the art and then I started customizing orders for my customers,” she said.
She said that she has participated in several calligraphy competitions and has won several prizes for her work at various levels in the past 3 years.
Urooj says there are different genres in calligraphy as well and Khattinasakh, Thuluth, Kufi and Dewani are among those she has learnt and are well-versed in them.
“Dewani is the one, which I love the most, but I usually do calligraphy in other remaining genres as I still need some more practice in Dewani. This art needs a lot of practising and learning and one has to keep working and practising it, otherwise, you forget about what you have learnt,” she said.
She said that besides doing calligraphy she also has to study, and she has to maintain a balance between the two so that her studies do not suffer as well. “You have to maintain a balance between your studies and your hobby, to keep them going. And there are some hobbies which do not want to lose and keep them with you forever and keep them alive as well,” she said.
Like many new aspiring artists, who are emerging on different social media sites to make people aware of their art and the services they offer, this young artist is no exception. So to expand her clientele, Urooj started her official business page on Instagram by the name “calligraffiti__”
Urooj, who is the youngest among her two other sisters, besides her father (a government contractor) and a housewife mother, said that she plans to open an academy in future, where she can teach children calligraphy for free to keep her hobby alive.
“I want to keep this hobby of mine alive, so I am planning to open an academy, where I can teach children the art of calligraphy, and it will be free of cost. I won’t charge for it as this is not just my hobby but my passion as well. I also want to provide a platform for the children who want to excel in the field of calligraphy,” she said.