Nahal Fekri Ershad does a balancing act by being a fashion designer, artist and a poet, writes Neeraja Murthy

In trendy denims and shades coolly resting on her head, Iranian artist Nahal Fekri Ershad looks every bit the fashion designer that she is. Behind the fashionable eye is the heart of an artist and a poet. If as an eight-year-old, she drew on the books of her friends to pass her time, as an adult she is painting on canvases that are gracing the walls of The Corner House Gallery at Road No.44 in Jubilee Hills. “I did not join any art classes as one ends up following the art teacher and paints like him,” says Nahal, who is in the city for her art show. However, she changed her mind and joined Karim Nasr, a popular artist in Iran who is known to ‘make his students come out of their own style.'

For Nahal, it's a strange coincidence that she is showing her works in India, the country which gave her inspiration. “I had heard a lot about India and that it's a very traditional country. When I visited about two-and-half-years ago, it had a strange impact on me. It changed my life from inside and I felt peaceful,” she says. So, when Nahal couldn't explain the new-found calmness, the artist put the thoughts on a canvas.

Her art diary currently unveiled at the gallery is figurative and abstract and explores a myriad of expressions and emotions. Looking at the display, Nahal says, “The paintings carry some messages. It makes a comment on women and their situation especially in countries like Iran, India, Pakistan and Afghanistan.” In the works, Nahal talks about the four kinds of women present in the society. “The first group is very traditional and strongly believe in customs and religion. The second group of women wants to be modern but is scared to leave the traditions. The third group is very modern but in some situations, still hold on to beliefs and the fourth set of women are open-minded. They believe that men and women are same. These women think, read and do not follow anything blindly as they have the mind of their own,” she says and adds, “I want women to think more than taking care of their husbands and their materialistic needs. I want them to try to be close to the universe and be more spiritual.”

She held her first solo exhibition in Chennai in July, 2010 and this is her first visit to Hyderabad.

Nahal does a balancing act by being a fashion designer, artist and a poet.

“When I am designing clothes I enjoy every part of it. When you design an outfit, it's your creation and it's like your painting,” she smiles.

What: An exhibition of paintings by Nahal Fekri Ershad

Where: The Corner House Gallery, Road No.44, Jubilee Hills

When: Till March 14