Anjum Sulaiman

People April 23, 2022

“Learn the rules like a pro, so you can break them like an artist.”


Please introduce yourself to our readers.
I am Anjum Sulaiman an artist from Bangladesh. I’m 34 years old, single child and living with my mother. I specialize in cubic portrait paintings, body art and love doing experiments with art.

Tell us about your education.
I did my O and A levels from Sunnydale, a reputed English medium school in Dhaka. Later, I completed my undergrad LLB from University of London under Bhuiyan Academy.

How and when did you discover your love for art?
Since I was around 3 or 4 years old I had a thing for art and my parents admitted me to a local art school. In 2018, I started doing art regularly and also began to go to teachers to learn professionally.

How would you best describe your style of art?
Is simply cubism but I would also say it’s experimental.

Where do you take inspiration for your work?
Mainly from Picasso and also from Pinterest and Instagram. I love modern artists like Michael Lang and Gabe Weis.

What is your favorite medium for producing your art?
Absolute favorite are oil paints but I also use acrylic paint a lot.

Can you describe your studio?
A very cozy place for my people to hangout. Every furniture or lamps or rugs are all made in Bangladesh. It is very simple yet colorful. At the same time very messy. There is paint and incomplete work laying around. The walls are filled with my art.

What artistic process goes into creating your work? Can you take us through your process from concept to final work?
There’s no one process in making an art piece. Every work has its own process. When I recycle, it’s a different process compared to a new one I’m making. Laying on a couch, I’m sketching and that turned out good. Putting hours of hard work on one single piece and asking my teacher to do the touch ups. When I paint on Canvas or tote bags or paper or bottle or walls. Well to me every process is different but one thing is common that is I try my best to make it look desirable.

What are some of your biggest achievements so far?
When people want to buy my art that’s my biggest achievement. Other than that, I got featured on a show on a national television of Bangladesh “Nexus Chanel”. My tote bags are sold in Jatra (20 years old and first local craft shop in Bangladesh). Some of my works are sold through community and later the amount is donated to charity. Recently, I got an offer to showcase my work in Shilpokola Academy Dhaka.

How do you overcome creative blocks?
I don’t get creative blocks. If I’m angry or upset or sad I just don’t touch my brush. Before starting a piece I know well what I’ll be painting on it and that’s how I order my canvas or cut the papers.

What message do you like to convey through your work?
The message would be – that to create artworks you do not need certificates. All you need is an observing pair of eyes, intention, ideas, internet and paints.

What inspired you to body art?
It’s not a common concept in Bangladesh. I like to experiment and wanted to try to paint on a human body. It is much harder than paper as body keeps on moving. So, I thought of taking it as a challenge. As it was first time in Bangladesh, I wanted to use the opportunity. Also my first human canvas Shayla was willing and very excited.

What are some of the challenges you find in body art painting?
Firstly finding a muse/model for it. I’m also heavily criticized for it, solely because of the Bengali Muslim mindset. It’s also difficult to find appropriate paint for body, that’s completely skin friendly. Also making the audience see the art and not the nude body.

How does it differ to paint on a body and on a canvas?
I take days to complete a work on canvas whereas on a human body I’m bound to finish it within five hours. As I also need to take pictures whilst the sunlight remains. Human body is never still, plus the sweat and heat of the body makes it quite difficult. Paint drips easily. Also there’s little room for mistakes.

What are you currently working on?
I am currently working on canvas Tote Bags and altered Bottle Art.

How and where do you sell your work? Do you also take commissioned work?
I prefer not to take commission based work but I do at times if it’s related with my style of painting. I sell locally through exhibitions and on Facebook and Instagram. Sometimes personally.

What are some of your other hobbies?
My other hobbies including driving, music (specially ghazals), and going for long walks with my dogs.

Your favorite quote?
“Learn the rules like a pro, so you can break them like an artist.” by Pablo Picasso.

Your message for our readers.
No matter how old you are, always nurture your passion. Always try to keep an hour of your day for that one particular thing that gives you joy.

Your message for us at CiiN magazine.
Your magazine is doing a brilliant job indeed by giving a platform to newcomers from different parts of the world. I’m simply grateful to you and honored for this opportunity.

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