The Citizen

Rashida, 50, an upcoming art entrepreneur, is also an inspiring activist. The motto of her creative brand, Rashida Anjarwalla-Nurbhai Art, is ‘upliftment and empowerment through art’. Inspired by her purpose, Rashida defines her art as her legacy.

Her idea of upliftment and empowerment is to be able to help others become self-reliant – physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually – so they can create their own state of abundance.

Rashida was born in Nairobi in 1971 and relocated to Arusha after marriage in 1991. Apart from being an artist, Rashida’s everyday role revolves around being a daughter, sister, wife, mother, friend, homemaker and an entrepreneur.

She is one of the directors at her family owned business, Bulk Group of Companies but has recently diverted all her attention towards her entrepreneurial endeavours. Rashida says she is blessed to have a family that supports her to pursue her art venture and to concentrate on her career in nutrition and food processing.

Rashida has been passionate about art since childhood. She has always enjoyed painting but has only recently ventured into it as a business.

A self-taught artist, Rashida says, ‘Earlier, I was comfortable painting landscapes only. With time, practice and experimenting with different styles and techniques – I’ve gained the confidence to paint many different subjects.’

‘As I learn, experiment, understand, and grow – my creativity changes too. Art is a part of the artist, it’s a part of the artist’s thoughts and feelings at that point in time,’ she said during an interview.

She used to work on various ideas, but she wants to concentrate on certain themes that she instinctively feels drawn towards. Most of her paintings are related to Africa as Rashida wants the world to view the beauty of Africa through her Art. Rashida explains, ‘My art style is a blend of realism and expressionism. I use photographs as reference for painting. Sometimes I paint exactly what I see. Sometimes I change a lot of it – I could change the whole colour palette, I could pick just one small reference element and change everything else or, I could combine several references to create one painting.’

‘Most times, I use my own photographs, but sometimes I approach other professional photographers to allow me to use their photos. A photograph is a captured moment,’ she adds. ‘Using the photo reference and adding elements of my own imagination gives me the opportunity to create art out of a moment.

Rashida decided to start her art venture in 2020. The idea was inspired by her desire to create an outlet for her work which would in turn enable her to paint more. She also wanted to use her talent to give back to the community. These ideas birthed Rashida Anjarwalla-Nurbhai Art.

Rashida works from home. She has an art studio within her residential premises. Her art works are displayed in her studio but can be viewed on her social media pages too. ‘I used to be inactive on social media but my art venture has driven me to become quite active on it and led me to learn a lot of new things about the digital world.’

Apart from the original paintings, Rashida sells art prints and printed magnets of her paintings. She has collaborated with art companies to sell designer products created using her original art works. The decision to create products related to her original paintings was in order to allow more people to be able to own a piece of her art.

Rashida is very happy when her painting and related artworks find a loving home. She says, ‘Every painting and art work is special to me. Each one holds a moment.’

In terms of expanding her brand, based upon many requests, Rashida intends to start an art training centre. She wants to encourage art enthusiasts to develop their talents. Rashida also intends to broaden her venture into creating designer apparels.

She is conscious about preserving the rights of an art collector. All her original artwork is hand signed, stamped with her logo, and comes with a certificate of authenticity. Rashida is very open about creating financial abundance through her art. She says, ‘Abundance is important to me. My purpose is dependent on it.’ The funds accrued from her art sales are used to support the broader community through a number of projects.

One is the provision of meals to needful people catered by food vendors famously known as Mama Lishe. This way, the purpose to provide a meal is fulfilled with the added benefit of providing support to local entrepreneurs. Rashida has also opted to grow fruit trees so they can serve as a future benefit for the community – as a direct source of food or as a source of earning by selling the produce. In addition, Rashida sponsors students for diploma courses at local Tanzanian institutions to promote literacy and self-sustainability.

Apart from the above mentioned projects, Rashida is working on creating a platform for the many talented local artists. She tries to collaborate with artists using online galleries to promote their works.

Her belief is, ‘Everyone is blessed with their own sustenance. Everyone has their own unique talent.’

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