Shermeen Uqaili (b. 1980, Karachi, Pakistan) draws profound inspiration from the allure of rugs and architecture from the Islamic lands. Her art serves as a vibrant reflection of her cultural identity and a captivating exploration of Sufism's mystical depths. Her creations are a harmonious interplay of evocative words and meticulously crafted patterns, reminiscent of the ancient tools of compass and ruler. Themes in her work revolve around spirituality and the pursuit of paradise, while finding strength in holding on to her roots and heritage. Shermeen graduated from the University of Texas at Dallas in Visual Arts and is currently pursing her Masters in Fine Arts at Southern Methodist University. Several of her artworks have been exhibited in numerous Dallas-area fine art exhibitions where she has also received various awards and recognitions.
One should never forget their roots and their heritage. Roots keep one firmly grounded while allowing to reach new heights. They nourish constantly, giving a sense of place and belonging. Authenticity flows from roots, and lineage comes from it. With decades of practice in geometric art and traditional patterns from the Islamic lands, I am comfortable owning my style in this genre. It represents a fusion of the East and the West, much like myself.
I've worked with geometric patterns from around the world, from different periods and cultures, as they've been used for centuries to decorate our structures and various items used in everyday life. It has been a remarkable journey of discovery as learning about and making patterns from varying cultures was a way for me to study the art and the historical and religious factors that influenced them. However, after learning about geometric patterns from around the world, I return home to my roots. A pattern that I grew up with in Pakistan is the Ajrak. It is a unique pattern with recognizable colors and designs usually printed on scarves worn by both men and women. The history of Ajrak can be traced back to the Indus Valley civilization from 2500 BC, where I was born and raised and where I track my lineage. Embedded within the Ajrak is my history and culture. It has been a part of me, and now its intricate geometric patterns adorn my art.
My initial tools are the compass and the ruler. I start with a tessellated geometric pattern before adding the various artistic elements that give my art its unique identity. The design unravels as I put pencil to paper and follow my instincts. As I introduce composition to the art, certain forms get highlighted while others are suppressed, giving rise to a pattern. I love that moment of instantaneous creativity and the message of beauty that I like to share with the world.