A BIRD'S PEARL BY NABEELA
Nabeela, 23, is currently studying for a BA in Urdu literature in Chitral. Her ultimate passion and dream is to study Art and she would love to get the opportunity to enrol at an art school in Pakistan. However she would need to seek permission from her family.
‘My artwork depicts the story of a Chitrali fable – A bird's pearl, narrated to me by my nani at the age of six who was a very keen storyteller … It has been my favourite tale since then. Whenever she told stories I thought she had made them up… I prefer listening to stories in Khowar, as it’s so powerful.
A Bead of the Sparrow is a traditional Chitrali mythical children’s fable and has a moral to the story. It’s about a sparrow that loses her beads and all the ruses she adopts to try and get her beads back. First she attempts the tree to bend, when it refuses so she asks fire, water, buffalo, wolf, hunter, rat, cat and an old lady to help her but they all refuse. In desperation the sparrow looks up at the blue sky and prays. My favourite part of the story is when the old lady chases after the cat; the tree collects the beads and gives them to the sparrow so she finally gets her beads!
Storytelling is still very much alive in Chitrali society especially during winter when the days are short, heavy snow is falling and there is no electricity. I often get my nieces and nephews together and read stories to them. I always make sure there is a message in the story, e.g. like never break a flower petal, don’t raise your voice with elders and never swear or use offensive language.’
‘This is the first time I had the opportunity to step out of my house independently to attend art workshops.
My initial reaction was hesitant but overall I thoroughly enjoyed all the sessions, as I love drawing and didn’t find it difficult.
This project has increased my confidence especially when I was told to help Henna, Mansura and Mehria with their artwork, as I felt that my drawing skills where valued and respected. ‘
One of my most memorable times was when I was helping Henna draw the pattern on the curtains. The design looks great and I have admired Henna’s textile since then.’