Alumni Spotlight: Shafia Fiaz ‘Hidden Narratives’ Illustrations

We are always thrilled to see our alumni progress & share their achievements.

On this #Worldmentalhealthday, we celebrate the stunning work of Shafia Fiaz, in her latest role as ‘artist in residence’ for 42nd Street, a mental health charity based in Manchester that uses creativity as a tool to enhance wellbeing.⁠

Shafia has gone from an Ideas Foundation Creative Media Bootcamp at Manchester College to Professional Illustrator who became the first diverse role model for Manchester Publicity Association’s ‘A Place for You’ campaign to celebrate diverse role models.

About the Project:

Shafia says “I find immense joy and fulfilment in using my artistic skills to explore and address various topics of mental health and its effects. In this series of illustrations, I have chosen to focus on the profound impact of mental health issues on both young individuals and adults.”⁠

The illustrations were part of an exhibition called ‘Hidden Narratives’ – which showcased the creations of six South Asian artists with themes of chaos, culture, catharsis, connection, creativity and community in August, at the Horsfall.

Gallery: Shafia’s illustrations for ‘Hidden Narratives’

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In the creative process, I decided not to incorporate facial expressions in most of the illustrations. Instead, I wanted to give a sense of emotional detachment and disconnection, symbolizing the feeling of being lost and devoid of emotions that many individuals experience during their mental health struggles.
Shafia Fiaz, Ideas Foundation Alumna

Shafia continues: ”In an effort to encourage a personal and contemplative viewing experience, I decided not to add any accompanying text or descriptions to the illustrations. By doing so, I invite the audience to interpret the artwork based on their unique perspectives and individual experiences with mental health. Each person’s journey with mental health is deeply personal, and I believe my work will resonate with many, fostering a sense of shared understanding and connection.

Through this artistic exploration, I hope to shed light on the importance of mental health awareness, empathy, and compassion in our society. My aim is to inspire conversations and reflections that can lead to greater understanding and support for those navigating the complexities of mental well-being.”

Find out more about the exhibition

More about Shafia:

Shafia is an Illustrator, Digital Producer & Creator who has worked for some incredible companies within the city such as the Manchester Museum. Originally from Pakistan, she has cultivated her impressive career in the digital and creative industry through determination and talent for her craft. In fact, Shafia’s passion for digital production has been recognised on several occasions, having won Creative & Digital Media Student of the Year!

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