Meet Nadia Janjua

22 Jul

Nadia sharing her dreams at our biz plan pitch.

Born to Kashmiri-Pakistani parents, Nadia grew up in the forested mountains of Western Maryland with her three siblings, strongly influenced by the solitude and beauty of her natural surroundings.

Nadia, a self-taught artist, was born with a strong inclination towards the arts. She started drawing before she could write, always coloring and drawing images. Nadia says she gets a lot of her creativity from her parents. Her father would frequently take her to the library in the evenings, and would borrow drawing books, and draw everything in them. She grew up always working on projects with her father whether it was installing a ceiling fan, planting a garden, building bird houses, or fixing the house plumbing.  Her mother used to tell her stories of how she loved to sing in her youth and Nadia would often see her design little doodles in between her daily tasks.  Nadia says, “but it’s not her just her sense of creativity that she passes on to me, it’s truly how dedicated and driven she is with every task she sets her mind to.”

When Nadia was 16 years old, she came across “The Bob Ross” Painting show on NPR, and started videotaping shows.  She bought her first canvas and set of oil paints through instructions on his show, and for many nights to follow, would paint alongside Bob while the rest of the family slept.  In college, she pursued a Major in Fine Arts, with a focus in Ceramics. Then she entered Graduate Architectural School and through her training in Studio learned to apply the same rigor and strong concepts to my art work.  Over the past fifteen years, she has explored different paint mediums, photography, graphic design, ceramics, and printmaking, eventually spending the majority of her time on nurturing her painting ability.

Nadia is inspired by the challenge of capturing potential, nuance, and nostalgia in all of her works. Through her paintings and her architecture, she explores narratives of her past, present, and future in the hopes of not only processing her own life journey, but also striking the viewer to reflect more deeply on their own personal narratives.

"Dream Me Beautiful"

Her architectural design focuses on the multi-sensory experience of space, encouraging the inhabitant to go beyond just the visual sense and become an active participant in creating the experience with all of their senses. Similarly, Nadia’s paintings involve a history of layers where line, shape, color, and texture come together to provide an elevated experience of harmony and meaning to the viewer. Her work has evolved from producing rendered images of landscapes and scenes from the East, to abstract painting, incorporating both Western and Eastern parts of her identity.

As one the founders of Muslim Women in the Arts, Nadia came to EWI because she had a vision to combine her creative talents with her passion for women’s justice, particularly the issue of violence against women. Nadia says, “I believe art has so much potential to be the sustainable and effective change that we need to eradicate and prevent sexual and other forms of abuse, and to provide a sustainable form of healing. To use art as a tool for engaging individuals with themselves – their traumas, their beauty, and their empowerment is something I want to dedicate my life to. The individual voice is extremely important to me, and I want to use my skills and experience as an artist and architect to help other women find their voice, and be constructive with it.”

Nadia's "Dangling Canvas"

ETS has helped Nadia to narrow her focus and figure out how she would like to help women survivors of violence heal through art and she dreams of attending Graduate School for Art Therapy in 2012.  In addition, Nadia has learned how to better market herself, diversify her work, and increase sales.  Through the help of our coaches, Nadia started to create jewelry based on her paintings, which she calls her “Dangling Canvas” Line.

Nadia has been exhibiting her work professionally since 2002 throughout the United States, and more recently, internationally. She has numerous works commissioned by private collectors, and has contributed annually to charity, fund-raising and auction events for different causes.

You can find Nadia here.

RSVP for the graduation gala, Women Architects of Change.


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