Muslimah Reflections- Zainab Zeb Khan

Creating art was my personal faith, my ultimate destiny.

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I can’t choose a favorite quote. Why? Because then I am creating a hierarchy. A list. Limited. One choice.
Decisions can be tough.

I’ve sifted through a range of quotes, and have come up with the top 5 that resonate strongly with me. These are quotes from artists and thought pioneers who have deeply inspired my work. These words are a collection in the dictionary of my personal mantra.  I hope you appreciate them as much as I do:

“True art is characterized by an irresistible urge in the creative artist.” – Albert Einstein

“The essence of all beautiful art, all great art, is gratitude.” – Friedrich Nietzsche

“Art washes away from the soul the dust of everyday life.” Pablo Picasso

“Life obliges me to do something, so I paint.” Rene Magritte

“A true artist is not one who is inspired, but one who inspires others.” – Salvador Dalí

Here is what I take from these tidbits: If you feel an instinctual hand of fate guiding you, shifting your compass in a particular direction, steer the call. Have blind faith. Follow that light. Don’t miss out on tomorrow by reaching back for yesterday or doubting the power that you have within yourself. These are simple words that are, in reality, much harder to follow and implement in life. Conceptually, it’s great advice. To put it into action.. that’s a whole different realm. Dare yourself to spearhead what you were always meant to do.

Faith is our core, our foundation as humans. Whether it’s experienced internally or manifested externally, it becomes our guide and light. Faith is a collective combination of personal experiences, hope, and trust. It is also tested the most in our lives. Sometimes, life comes barreling through and it’s not always ideal or according to plan.
In today’s stress-filled, uncertain, and information overload world, more people are take giant leaps of faith than ever before. Whether we recognize it then or in hindsight, faith exists. We may give blind following to faith, and reach out to “inner callings” to pursue dreams or improve our lives by seeking new ventures, adjusting our lifestyle choices for better health, stability, or seek more fulfilling relationships. We may also challenge or discount our faith. Some of us may be pushed into uncomfortable circumstances due to job losses, relationship rifts, deaths of loved-ones, increased family demands or health challenges. Whatever the catalyst may be, we all seek positive support, direction and guidance to help us survive and thrive. And this is where Faith’s role comes into power.

Creating art was my personal faith, my ultimate destiny.

I’ve always believed that art is not just about communication. It is a tool for creating change. It connects us, imprints itself into our souls and memories, and ultimately influences how we behave. It becomes an action item.  Through persistence and power, we can learn to transform personal pain into collective gain. Bring fresh ideas to a situation. Use objective truth masked in visual metaphors to convey a message. Carry that message into various hemispheres, drop it in people’s laps, and empower them to challenge the paradigms that constrict our infinite yet minute universe.


Zainab Zeb Khan is a visual artist, activist and humanitarian. She works proactively to address global social justice issues to remove barriers that people face because of gender, age, race, ethnicity, religion, culture or disability. She creates statement pieces that are influenced by history and current affairs.

Twitter: @ZainabZeb