Nadia Haji Omar is an artist whose work caught my eye on Instagram. When the Instagram algorithm magic crossed our paths, I was struck by the attention to detail in Nadia’s work, which is reminiscent of fine embroidery. When I was in New York during one of her solo exhibits, I snuck into the cosy gallery (really—it was closed and the gallery owner was kind enough to let me in) to see her work up close. I could have spent an hour with each one.
1. What is the work that you do?
Fine Arts, mainly painting and drawing.
2. How did you get to where you are now in your work?
First I got a Bachelors degree in Studio Art and then a Masters degree in Fine Art. After that I worked consistently on painting and drawing on my own.
3. What is the value of being yourself in your work?
Every person’s lived experience brings something unique to their work, I believe. So being yourself should inevitably make your work or craft unique in a way that is just your own.
4. What do you personally bring to your work?
I bring my specific approach to color, which has been informed and shaped by my internal and external world. Also, attention to detail. I have an affinity for meticulous and repetitive mark making.
5. Who or what inspires, encourages, teaches you in this line of work?
Other artists, other disciplines and crafts inspire and encourage me. I am also very inspired by science and nature. I consider the natural world my greatest and most constant teacher.
6. What do you dream about?
A time where my work can completely sustain my life.
7. What does a good day’s work look like for you?
A good day's work is 7-8 hours of uninterrupted work and a long walk at the end of it.
8. How do you relax/wind down/take time off/recharge?
Usually by reading, hiking or watching a movie. I find that sleep is the only real mental recharge I need.
9. What guidance would you give to someone who wants to do the kind of work you do?
Establish a solid and consistent work ethic and don't give up. Also, choose to be inspired rather than intimidated by the achievements of others.
10. What do you need right now in your work?
I need mainly time and as much of it as possible. My work takes a really long time to make so every little bit of time that I can devote to it is extremely valuable to me.
Thank you, Nadia!
More interviews with Nadia Haji Omar:
Nadia Haji Omar and the Fluidity of Language (Providence College Galleries)
Nadia Haji Omar’s Multicultural Cartography (Hyperallergic)
Nadia Haji Omar works currently on exhibit: