by Zainab Nasir
Sabika Fatima of It's a Wonderful Life
I am from Karachi currently living in London.
What drives you? (What makes you so passionate about your work)?
My life is divided into these two parts of me; one as a Chartered Accountant and the other half as an artist. I cannot choose one and let go of either one of them as they both are too precious and such an essential part of my existence and give a lot of satisfaction and happiness.
I have always believed that if you have a dream it is your responsibility to make it come true as you owe this to yourself and the fact that there is so much that I want to do and so little time, is what drives me.
How did you get here and how long have you been in this profession (or been doing what you do)?
I am a chartered accountant by profession with a love for arts. Whenever I used to get any free time since as long as forever, I used to draw and paint. My friends and family had always been a really huge support and motivation in taking up my arts to bigger and public levels, but I had always thought that I wasn’t ready (Yet).
By fate, I got a chronic illness in May 2015 soon after getting married, due to which I wasn’t able to sit or do any sort of activity and had to leave my work (as a Chartered Accountant). During this time to get over the depression and divert my mind from the pain I used to draw and paint (Which was also quite difficult considering the fact that I cannot sit and stay in constant pain.) But luckily one day a post for the crafters expo (December 2016) crossed my eyes and I thought ‘let’s do this.’ I was amongst the last two people who managed to get a chance to be a part of the exhibition. This was two weeks before the exhibition date, I had no social media presence, was not in Karachi and no products but loads of designs and paintings in my mind and even on paper. That’s when the journey of my ‘It’s a Wonderful Life- by Sabika’ began. And as it is said that ‘a journey of a thousand miles start with a single step’ so this was that first single step towards a wonderful journey ahead (Inshallah).
What has been your vision and what do you most love about your work?
My work both as a chartered accountant and as an artist, gives me a way to connect with people, an opportunity to play my part in this world and I try to make the world around me better, thoughtful and more colourful each day.
I love audit and my career as an auditor because of how essential audit is and the significance it has in building up better and more credible working environments, how it gives an opportunity to know and connect with different people/clients and their specific needs and working environments in different sectors of the industry, assisting companies and managements in improving their systems, their controls, identifying and addressing the risks. I enjoy doing this because it gives me a feeling of satisfaction by playing my part in making a better working environment.
My love for drawing, making and then filling everything with colours is something that I have always valued as an amazing blessing gifted by the Almighty. For me art is anything that can make a person ‘feel’ something. My work portrays love, my paintings depict hope, they show the battles within our souls, they talk about relationships, of connections with ourselves, with others and with the Almighty. It is something that makes me feel happy, alive and true to myself. My art, the choice of colours, medium and presentation of ideas is a depiction of what goes on in my mind, portrays a concept, an expression of how I feel, what I see and what I think, how I see and perceive things/people/life and emotions around me.
What do you think is your biggest achievement throughout your professional journey?
Since childhood I had heard and seen the faces and phrases of pride from people for my father being a chartered accountant and setting up his own firm, I always wanted to make my parents proud of me. I believe the biggest achievement has been to qualify as a chartered accountant working with one of the big four firm in the industry i.e. KPMG. And then the proudest moment was to have a cabin of my own in my father’s audit firm right next to him while I worked with him as Manager Audit and Assurance.
For my journey as an artist (which has only just begun) the fact that I have started sharing my art with everybody, to be able to fill other lives with colour, emotions, thoughts and messages through my art is and will always be the biggest achievement. And I can’t wait to see what the future holds for me.
What are your current projects and what do you plan on doing in the near future?
As I mentioned above that I’m struggling with some health issues, so my priority is to get well as soon as possible, because health is such a blessing and nothing is possible if you are not well in terms of health (being in constant pain all the time is so frustrating!)
Then I want to get back to work, because I feel the career gap/ break is increasing which is not good for me and the main objective is to achieve a balance between arts and the professional career as a chartered accountant.
I’m taking ‘It’s a Wonderful Life- by Sabika’ slowly and growing it gradually each day with new designs and art. I have SO MANY ideas in my mind that I need to get out through paints and letters, that at times I actually cannot sleep thinking of how and when will I be able to make them all. I am loving every bit of this journey, sharing my art with people, and through my art; spreading colours, happiness, creativity, thoughts, and conveying a message to everyone, is a really amazing and blessed feeling.
A word of advice you would like to pass on to other women struggling with their start-ups?
As I mentioned earlier, I would say that we should know ‘If you have a dream it is your duty and responsibility to make it come true because you owe this to yourself.’
Make a plan. Do the homework in terms of the essentials, requirements, the basic chain, and then just START. Do not be hesitant to reach out to people, because by this you would not only be able to get what you are looking for but you’ll also be creating an opportunity for other people. Once you have the basics established, things will eventually fall into place and be patient because like everything this too will take time. But it will happen only once you’ll start! And there will not be any better time to start than NOW.