Saabiqah Tariq-Khan is a young artist with a big vision of making positive change through the medium of art in Cardiff. Her work is centred around a fresh and modern Cardiff, that is inclusive for everyone and where anyone can be what they want.
Inspiring young people through art
“It’s quite a long story. Initially, I didn’t really know where to start. Eventually, I thought of a Spiderman-like character with a hijab.”
“Growing up, I never saw superheroes with scarves bearing the colours of Pakistan and Somalia. I have never seen a Muslim superhero.”
Saabiqah’s character is perched on the iconic Pierhead Building in Cardiff Bay, which is her favourite place in the city. The location has a special meaning to this young lady.
“Through this character, I am reflecting myself and my personality. I decided to make a British Pakistani girl. She lives in Cardiff, goes to school, and she lives her life as any other Muslim teenager would. She represents me in a way, but she also represents all the other Muslim girls in Cardiff.”
“My art is crafted to act as an inspiration for people who want to defy the odds and do things that they would never have thought of.”
How is Cardiff reflected in your work?
“I admire Cardiff Bay. There is such a lovely view from all the different points around the water. I enjoy looking at the water myself, so the way my character is positioned reflects a part of my ritual whenever I am in the area.”
Being from Cardiff, Saabiqah has a personal insight to both the good and bad sides of Cardiff. She tells us that the positives outweigh the negatives.
“I have had good times and bad times, but that goes for everywhere else in the world. The opportunities I have been given to play an active role in my community is what has made Cardiff different, for me.”
“Here, I have been given a chance to create art as a force for good in my home city. I am getting to display my talent while inspiring other young people in the process.”
“I have to thank my mum for finding this opportunity for me, without her my work would not me on display here this week.”
As we have already heard, Saabiqah had imagined a Spiderman-type character, with her own twist which reflects Cardiff both physically and socially. But making the fruits of her imagination a reality was no easy task.
“After lengthy discussions with the kind people at Promo-Cymru, we settled on the idea of a superhero that reflects Cardiff. The second he said that, I was intent on a hijabi superhero. She would reflect Cardiff, without having to change her own way of life.”
“Making a hero that hasn’t been made yet was very exciting. I feel like a little bit of a pioneer, because I have never seen a Muslim superhero before, despite others making the effort to increase diversity in action films and comic books.”
What fascinates you about art?
Saabiqah tells us she loves the freedom that comes with being artistic.
“It gives me that sense of happiness, when I know I am inspiring other people through my artwork. I have been inspired by other artists, so I hope I can encourage the children and young people to do some art at the festival.”