ISLAMABAD: Pakistani artist Rabia Zakir, who recently shot to fame for painting a portrait of Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, said on Tuesday the gift was not just from here but from all Pakistanis.
Zakir presented the portrait to Saudi Ambassador Nawaf Bin Said Al-Malki during the visit of the crown prince to Pakistan last month.
“We, the nation, and I as a Pakistani, have great respect for the Saudi people, the Saudi royal family and that’s why this gift is not just from me but from all Pakistanis,” Zakir told Arab News in an interview. “I thought it was a great gesture to present him something unique and different.”
Zakir said the Saudi ambassador had received the portrait and assured her that he would present it to the crown prince.
“He [Al-Malki] appreciated the efforts and how Pakistani people love Saudi people,” Zakir, who has been working as an artist for seven years, said. “He told me, ‘these kind of gestures make bilateral relations stronger between our two nations’.”
Born to a government servant, Zakir spent most of her childhood in Pakistan’s northern areas, particularly the picturesque mountains of Gilgit, Skardu, Chitral. She completed her graduation in painting from the National College of Fine Arts where her first exhibition focused on landscapes of the northern areas.
“At the start of my career I was a landscape artist, I never thought to paint portraits but with the passage of time and demand I learned how to paint portraits [with some help] from my NCA teachers, foreign artists online, and through the Internet,” Zakir said.
She said she has painted portraits for a large number of countries’ embassies in Pakistan.
“I have painted portraits for more than 45 countries’ embassies in Pakistan, including all European and Arab countries, including Kuwait, Qatar, Bahrain, Oman, UAE and north African nations like Tunisia and Egypt,” Zakir said.
Her first portrait for a Saudi royal was in 2016, when she was commissioned to draw King Salman in 2016.
“[The painting of King Salman] was commissioned by the former ambassador of Saudi Arabia,” Zakir said. “Later on I was asked to do the [Kingdom’s] flag for the Saudi Embassy which I presented to the Saudi Ambassador on their national day last year.”
Next, Zakir painted ambassador Al-Malki. She has also drawn the Governor of Makkah, Prince Khalid.