“Art is important to raise issues, awareness, and contribute to change as well as give strength and hope to get by in challenging times like this.”

Published: December 1, 2020

Categories: Fall Campaign | Featured

Photo credit: Rachel Coward

For this year’s Giving Tuesday, we wanted to share the stories of artists connected to The COVID-19 Artist Trust Relief Fund, including James Pakootas, a hip-hop artist from Nespelem, WA who received financial support, and Humaira Abid, a King County-based visual artist and past Fellowship and Arts Innovator Award recipient who donated to the Fund to support artists in need.

We spoke with them both about what this year has taught them, how they’ll carry those lessons with them, how their artistic practice has changed, and most importantly, what they ask of artist-serving organizations in the new year. Read Humaira’s responses below.

Your support of Artist Trust on Giving Tuesday will help us be there with artists now, and for the long haul. To donate visit: https://artisttrust.org/donate/.




How are you involved in the arts? 

I am a visual artist, mentor, and an activist.

Why did you feel it was important to donate to The COVID-19 Artist Trust Relief Fund? 

Art gave me wings to fly and Artist Trust as well as other organizations and the Seattle art community with their support, added feathers in my wings, to make them bigger, so I can fly higher, explore the sky and reach new heights. I believe when you have wings and you are free, you need to free someone else. You need to share some feathers so others can fly too – so we all can fly. The world is a better place when we help each other and we all fly together. I received help when I needed it and now when I am in a position to help – it’s my responsibility to give back to the community.

What has 2020 taught you both personally and professionally?

It has been a challenging year for most as well as a difficult political and social situation but I applaud the community for sticking together, for the fight and voices that were raised and made a difference. This year has taught me the importance of family, relationships, community, movements, voices, and support system, which is making it easier to get through this difficult time.

How will you carry those lessons into 2021?

I think the best way to carry those lessons is to continue the fight, support system, and appreciate what we have.

Has your artistic practice changed? If so, how?

It has made my belief stronger that art is important to raise issues, awareness, and contribute to change as well as give strength and hope to get by in challenging times like this. I just had a solo show at Greg Kucera Gallery Seattle which was focused on the current situation and it was mostly created during 2020.

What do you ask or expect of artist-serving organizations as we look to 2021?

I feel the best way is to be flexible and adapt to the support system according to the situation. Focus where and when help is most needed.

Humaira Abid gathers the ordinary objects from everyday life and transforms them into something extraordinary. Her turned and carved wood sculpture and paintings—known for their exquisite detail—depict human relationships, societal repression, and the consequences of keeping basic truths from being discussed and shared. The beauty and seductive virtuosity of her work offset her political, ironic, provocative, and even scandalous objects and installations.

Humaira Abid was born and raised in Lahore, Pakistan. She immigrated to the United States in 2008 and now lives and works in Seattle, WA.

Abid received her BFA in sculpture and miniature painting from the National College of Arts, Lahore, in 2000. Her works have been exhibited in museums and galleries and documented in publications around the world and reviewed by local, national, and international news media. Abid is the recipient of numerous honors, most recently the 2019 Artist Trust Arts Innovator Award.

Her work has been published in books and other print media and she has been the recipient of prestigious awards and grants. She has lectured widely and participated in residencies and symposia around the world. Two documentary features focused on Abid and her work, produced by the KCTS9 branch of PBS and Seattle Channel, were both nominated for Northwest Emmy Awards. The artist is represented by Greg Kucera Gallery, Seattle.