There is a conspicuous strength that lies in embracing one’s own insecurities and transforming them into powerful tools of identity. Sobia Ameen, baker, model & architect knows the tricks of this trade all of too well. This Dhaka-based creative has shattered notions of beauty & gender to establish a pathbreaking stance for herself in this digital age.
The artist wears her identity on her sleeve and allows her journey to speak for itself. Ameen shines through as an extremely powerful voice that is strengthening the foundation for young South-Asian creatives across the globe. Sobia speaks to Homegrown on what the journey has entailed so far and what the journey ahead could hold for her.
I. You have often been written about as a multi-faceted South-Asian creative? Tell us a little more about your journey so far.
My journey has a lot to do with going back to my childhood, the things I would look at as mundane parts of my daily life entail parts of culture that are being forgotten today, it inspires me to keep learning and growing. I grew up around a very diverse community and that definitely plays a role in how I incorporate the different aspects of South Asian culture into my work.
I try and use existing information from the past and incorporate it into the world that we live in today. My aim is to convey messages visually, it makes it relevant and relatable to my audience but most importantly, it allows me to express myself.
Growing up, I was embarrassed of the things that I celebrate today. I realised how much I miss my culture but also how much I took it for granted.— Sobia on going back to her roots
II. Your work appears as a celebration of South-Asian culture, how would you personally categorise it and why?
South-Asian culture is one that deserves to be celebrated worldwide because it imparts so much wisdom and knowledge, it is also artistic and beautiful amongst many other merits. I focus on how a lot of the patriarchal traditions have now changed, for the better or worse. I consider myself a modern South-Asian woman, I know there are so many individuals who feel the way that I do about South-Asian culture being celebrated.
Being a Bangladeshi, I feel like we are often stereotyped as Bengalis from West Bengal. While we share the same language and so much of the food, arts, etc., there are so many differences that are left unexplored. I do not want to be put in a box as a “Bangladeshi” because I embody a number of philosophies that I grew up around and adapted to, they are a melting pot of other cultures which is why it is so important to seek for the root of what we celebrate today, to know that we have more similarities than differences.
Being a brown woman, I grew up insecure and with not many role models that looked like me or was representing the culture I grew up around.— Sobia on choosing to represent her culture through her work
III. As a creative, model, baker and so much more you have shattered one too many glass ceilings. Where does your inspiration and drive come from?
Inspiration comes from everywhere. It can be specific people in the same field or from something completely unexpected. My background in architecture set up a foundation for what I do, especially when it comes to the technicalities of creating. When I was studying for my degree, I had no intentions to do what I do today.
It is important for me to tell my own story because that is the one I know best. The importance of conveying messages that I feel are personal or need attention are the ones I would like to bring to attention. Achieving & accomplishing things that I thought I could never do is probably the force that inspires me to keep going and doing better.
As an adult, I understand that in today’s world, the possibilities are endless. It is easier to do what you want to because of accessibility but harder because it is easy to get lost in between so many individuals trying to do the same.— Sobia on finding inspiration in today's world
IV. As a female South-Asian creative, what do you think are the discrepancies and gaps that this diaspora witnesses and how do you think we can bridge them?
There is a gap in communication for sure. I think South-Asians that have to live through diaspora hold onto culture in a way that no longer is seen as the norm, they hold traditions that people who live in the subcontinent have moved on from (in most cases).
Being a South-Asian woman, I know I am only going to be chosen for specific roles where as someone of a different race will have more opportunities because we are not always the protagonists, tokenism is still very relevant and done by the biggest of designers & brands. I hope over time we can be included in everything imaginable so that it is no longer an afterthought but the norm.
V. What does the future hold for your vision as a creator?
I hope I keep growing and get opportunities that allow me to work with amazing individuals that I can collaborate and learn from. The future is so unpredictable but my vision as a creator is to have my own team and be able to produce on my own terms.
Amidst the several negative connotations that the term ‘influencer’ holds in today’s world, Sobia speaks for the community in a very positive light. She believes in the power that influencers hold right from creating large content that otherwise would involve an entire team to having the power to create an impression by being true to the roots and their story, Sobia takes pride in being called an influencer.
Sobia’s story has impacted thousands of people online as she even went on feature in large-scale campaigns with fashion labels such as House of Masaba.
To know more about Sobia’s work, click here.
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