Shehzil Malik: Promoting Women Empowerment with Feminist Art in Pakistan
Shehzil Malik, a renowned Lahore-based illustrator, and designer is making an effort with her feminist art to empower women and to promote the concept of feminism in our male-dominated society. In an interview with AJ+, she expressed her aim of making people understand what it’s like to be a woman in Pakistan through her posters and designs.
The 31-year artist had been busy putting up a poster across Lahore for the Aurat March that called for women and girls across the country to take to the streets in solidarity for women rights. ‘So something like the Aurat March is something so close to my heart because it’s exactly what I want to be a part of. It’s about women, it’s about demanding a better life for women in Pakistan and being supported and in the company of these awesome women who activists, lawyers, writers, stay at home mothers,’ Malik said expressing her happiness over the progressive march. Some of her posters had been ripped down as well but Malik is determined in supporting women & fighting against the injustices they face.
In 2015, Malik drew a comic depicting the struggle of Pakistan women who feel harassed in public spaces, based on her personal experiences, which went viral globally but Malik believes that this problem of harassment on women on streets and in public spaces is not specific to Pakistan, rather this is a global problem and patriarchy is the global system.
‘It’s not just a Pakistani thing to feel unsafe when you step outside. I think women in the US have been talking about this as well. With the internet, we’re all so connected that we can see it live about what happens to women around the world,’ Malik added.
Two years ago, Shehzil also launched Pakistan’s first ‘feminist fashion’ clothing collection to raise awareness on the pressures women face over their dressing & body image. ‘ I deliberately called it a feminist fashion line because I wanted the make the term feminist a common one, one that people in Pakistan would not associate with something negative,’ she further added.
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