The Introspective Artist: Masuda Khan

I have been drawing ever since I was very small, and it was my biggest hobby growing up. I’ve lived in 3 different countries, leading very different lifestyles. I’ve had a bumpy ride into adulthood, often being financially unstable, changing 13 schools, and 3 languages. But throughout all these times drawing has been my constant friend, my true companion. People often view art as a saviour in bad times, but to my dismay, I cannot draw a single thing when I am sad. When my parents worked in the heated kitchens of a Perugian restaurant, me, a toddler, drew in a corner where sacks of flour were kept.
Years later, when I was sent to a boarding school in the Himalayas on a cold February day, the first thing I unpacked was a box of coloured pencils. But when I failed my A’Levels the first time, I didn’t draw. Only a month later when I had enough condolences and a lighter heart could I finally dip my brush in some paint. I draw because I am happy to draw and nothing else.

My experience as an artist has been interesting. I started exhibiting my artwork in Dhaka right before my A Levels. Got an opportunity to teach a couple of classes on art as therapy to sheltered women in India. But what I love most is the birth of Masu Ake. It happened as a fun tutorial of drawing an egg that I sent to my friends, which I had kept secret because I didn’t think it was ‘serious’ enough for me to post on my socials. They saw and thought the idea was absolutely brilliant, so about a year later I posted it publicly for everyone to see. The attention Masu Ake is getting has been overwhelming to me. It also pushes me to draw more frequently and I love it.

A few months ago, a friend of mine furiously wrote a very long paragraph discussing why a certain kind of art is not art, and then we proceeded to have a very interesting conversation about the definition of art. I am a person of few words, and so I summed up my thoughts on art easily in a brief sentence. Anything that pleases the senses is art. To which my tepid friend asked: then is – nudity- is pornography art? I believe yes, but perhaps only for a brief time.

I find inspiration mostly from my surroundings. From Dhaka city, its chaos, which I miss slightly during this quarantine. I also am inspired by other artists, the people in my life, concrete, nature, smog, movies – random things like this. If you ask me if I have any favourite artists, I can tell you a few names. There was an American artist named Wayne Thiebaud, who painted inanimate objects using the most wonderful pastel colours. Other favourite artists are the Mexican artist Diego Rivera, Van Gogh, Jamini Roy, and my 11-year-old cousin Bivor.

Find more of Masuda’s art here:


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