The Redolent Dreams of an Artist ­— Rabia Zakir

Who knew that the little girl born in small town Sargodha, would ascend to the heights of being one of the most prominent painters of Pakistan. Her artwork shows that artistic splendor of her paintings will continue to flourish and blossom in the near future.
Rabia Zakir was born to a family belonging to Sargodha, however, she spent her early childhood in the beautiful valleys of Chitral (KPK), Skardu (GB) and Muzaffarabad (AJK). This gave her the opportunity to experience the captivating sights and sounds of the Northern Areas of Pakistan. The arresting colors of nature in these areas are manifested in her paintings. 

Rabia had an interest in sketching from her school age, yet she had no plans of becoming an artist. Looking at her drawings, it was her mother who felt for the first time that she had the potential to turn out to be an artist of worth in the future. Instead of encouraging her to choose a career in the traditional fields of the time, it was her mother who motivated her and inspired to work wholeheartedly upon becoming an artist. 
The most poignant and demoralizing incident of Rabia’s life was the untimely demise of her mother in 2012. For Rabia, it was as if her notion for artistry and inspiration had passed away. It was in the aftermath of this personal loss that her friends encouraged her to start painting and express her feelings on the canvas to cope with it. With the encouragement, she indulged herself fully into the world of colors and brushes. 
Rabia established a proper studio at her home. Initially, she painted with the sole purpose of expressing her sorrows and joys. But with the passage of time, her brother encouraged her to work on a professional level. Despite having absolutely no idea of professional art work, she remained devoted to her dream of succeeding in the professional art world. 
The artistic chapter of Rabia’s life began, when her first exhibition was held in tribute to her late mother on Dec 28, 2012 at Pearl Continental Hotel, Rawalpindi. It proved to be the real kick starter of her professional career. Her artwork was admired and well appreciated by the audience and most of the paintings were booked in advance. All these successful events raised Rabia’s spirits and she started believing in herself and her talent.
Long story short, Rabia has shown remarkable versatility in her art. Rabia dabbles in many different subjects like Sufi art, military paintings, calligraphy, aviation paintings, wood art, pencil sketches, etc. Her work is admired at national as well as international level.
Rabia is now the CEO of Aromas Art Gallery. Her paintings are exhibited at Pakistan National Council of the Arts (PNCA) gallery in Islamabad. She has also done a number of projects for Pakistan Armed Forces. Her artwork is displayed at different Pakistan Airforce, Army and Navy units. Recently, her art gallery completed a project for the terrorism-hit Army Public School (APS), Peshawar. Apart from this, Rabia also paints on demand including portraits and calligraphy.
She has also painted portraits of Pakistani officials like former Prime Ministers Imran Khan and Benazir Bhutto, and President Arif Alvi.  She has also painted international events like OIC conference, Winter Olympics, Saudi Green Initiative, Saudi Vision 2030, etc. She has also captured on canvas different events of the Armed Forces of Pakistan. Her major paintings include post-attack APS Peshawar, Zarb-e-Azab, painting of JF-17 Thunder post Operation Swift Retort, different heroes of Armed Forces, etc.
Rabia’s paintings are not limited to the national platform only; her international journey started when she was commissioned to work with the Romanian embassy. In this collaboration, she painted Romanian architecture and historical buildings on canvas in a very aesthetic manner. Her work was widely appreciated. She has also painted the cultural merger of Tunisia and Pakistan on a single canvas by highlighting the commonalities. She also worked for Portuguese national day; she painted about exploration and navigation exploits of the Portuguese as well as their famous landmarks. 
Rabia has painted portraits of leading dignitaries of the world on their official visits to Pakistan. She painted Muhammad Bin Salman (Crown Prince of KSA), Crown Prince of UAE, Mahathir Mohamad (former PM of Malaysia), Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, Prince William and Kate (UK), Emir of Qatar, Sultan Qaboos of Oman, President of Uzbekistan, Deputy President of Belarus, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan (President of Turkey) along with more than fifty ambassadors of various countries to Pakistan. 
In 2022, Rabia Zakir became the first international Pakistani artist to hold a solo exhibition in Saudi Arabia. This exhibition was held in Madinah under Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s Vision 2030 for promoting arts and culture in the Kingdom. 
Rabia is currently serving as the Secretary General of Pakistan-Romania Friendship Association, as well as the Vice President of Turkish Peace Art Council. Rabia’s upcoming projects include Arab Countries Exhibition, military paintings and some commissioned work. The money she earns from these projects is used for numerous noble causes. She helps the poor and deprived by engaging in different charity projects. Furthermore, she has plans of establishing a hospital for the patients of Motor Neurone Disease (MND) in the memory of her beloved mother. She has also started classes for ladies and kids during the pandemic. Rabia’s main focus is to introduce Pakistan as a peaceful country all over the world and promotion of Pakistani culture on the international platform through her paintings. Rabia believes that art is the best way to bolster the good image of Pakistan at the international level. HH


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