Dubai based artist Sheeba Khan is much more than just another abstract artist. Her story is out of a modern day fairytale.
Let me give you a taste of it:
Sheeba’s father was a close friend of the Nawab Of Bhopal (the ruler of Bhopal). In the late 1950s, His Majesty, Nawab Hamidullah Khan, convinced Sheeba’s father Abdul Saeed Khan to buy 500 acres of land in the forests. The Nawab of Bhopal used to spend his weekend there, hunting for game. When Sheeba’s father moved to ‘Daatkho’ – the village where Sheeba grew up and called home – it was uninhabited and 20 kms deep in the jungle. You had to cross seven wild rivers to get there.
Abdul Saeed Khan was a brave, adventurous man and he decided to create his own world there. He lost his first wife and many decades later, married Sheeba’s mother and took her back to Daatkho.
There they had a huge log house in the middle of the darkest, deepest jungle. By this time a large group of tribals had settled down in the village and worked for Abdul Saeed Khan.
Sheeba was born in the jungle. And raised there for the first 10 years of her life. Sheeba was literally treated as a princess, and her father was the king. People from distant villages trudged down the mountain by the hundreds, carrying burning torches, to celebrate Sheeba’s birthday. She would proudly sit on a cane high chair, proud like a princess while the tribals would dance all night long around a large bonfire.
Sheeba went fishing and hunting with her father every day, often coming face to face with a tiger or a leopard. He would tell her about the time he was mauled by a tiger and left for dead. Sheeba felt so proud of her father when he showed her his scars.
Despite being away from civilisation,Sheeba’s mother home-schooled her and her sister until Sheeba turned 11, much to her dismay, both her and her sister were whisked away to Bhopal. Sheeba could relate to Tarzan’s plight when he had to move to London for Jane, she felt like a fish out of water. There she found the city slickers devious, conceited and full of hidden agendas and missed the simplicity of jungle life. Sheeba missed the animals and their soothing sounds, the gurgle of the river that put her to sleep like a lilting lullaby…
A fairytale indeed!!! Her story is fascinating and she grew to becomes a wife and mother. A job she wanted and adored but the fairytale resided within her and was hidden deep for years until it burst out of her in the form of fine art. Sheeba says, “when I look back, it was the most incredible and unforgettable part of my life but my life is yet again becoming incredible with my artistic journey!” I invite you to see the colourful movement that is translated by Sheeba Khan onto canvas.
Sheeba Khan with her painting ‘Pulse’
Her eclectic mix of vivid abstracts captures the vibrance of her colourful childhood. Each of her deeply layered pieces embodies a myriad stories, letting the beholder find a new interpretation with every fresh look. With audacious colours and passionate storytelling she has garnered rave reviews from the art community across the world. Little wonder then that her work is now featured in the permanent collection of the Haegeumgang Theme Museum in South Korea. Sheeba is currently represented in the US by a renowned art dealer/curator based in Montclair, New Jersey, and is now being represented in the UK by Flying Ducks Art Gallery. Www.flyingducksartgallery.com
Featured image ‘Tantor’ by Sheeba Khan