‘I imagine the colors:’ Blind Pakistani doctor creates a world of art

Special ‘I imagine the colors:’ Blind Pakistani doctor creates a world of art
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Hassan smiles for the camera in front of some of her prized artwork at her home in Islamabad, on Sept. 14, 2019. (AN photo by Saba Rehman)
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Hassan stands next to a wooden cupboard in her home that she has designed and painted. (AN photo by Saba Rehman)
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Hassan with her painting material in the car porch of her home in Islamabad. (AN photo by Saba Rehman)
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Hassan on her iPhone, which she calls a “game-changer.” (AN photo by Saba Rehman)
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Some of Hassan’s paintings in her home in Islamabad, yet to be framed. (AN photo by Saba Rehman)
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Hassan holding a mug, among the many, that she has painted for sale, and with all proceeds going to charity. (AN photo by Saba Rehman)
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Hassan makes tea expertly, in her home in Islamabad. (AN photo by Saba Rehman)
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Hassan hosts another member of the blind community at her home in Islamabad. (AN photo by Saba Rehman)
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Hassan choosing the right brush to begin painting in the terra cotta tiled car porch of her home in Islamabad. (AN photo by Saba Rehman)
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Hassan arranging her painting equipment in order at her home in Islamabad. (AN photo by Saba Rehman)
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Hassan is busy at work on a painting in the car-porch of her home in Islamabad. (AN photo by Saba Rehman)
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Dozens of Hassan’s paintings are framed and lovingly displayed at her home in Islamabad. (AN photo by Saba Rehman)
Updated 17 September 2019
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‘I imagine the colors:’ Blind Pakistani doctor creates a world of art

‘I imagine the colors:’ Blind Pakistani doctor creates a world of art
  • Zarina Hasan, a doctor and graduate of Imperial College London, spends her free time with a canvas and a paintbrush
  • She lost her eyesight completely to glaucoma in 2015

ISLAMABAD: Zarina Hassan sits in her terra cotta tiled porch in Islamabad with a canvas on her lap. On the floor next to her, in a neat sequence, lies red, blue and yellow paint. She says she always keeps them in that order, because it’s the only way she can tell which color to paint her roses. 
A doctor from one of northwestern Pakistan’s most prestigious medical colleges in Peshawar, and with a master’s degree in molecular biology and pathology of viruses from Imperial College, London, Hassan lost her eyesight completely in 2015. Ten years earlier, in 2005, she was diagnosed with glaucoma, an eye condition that usually affects much older people.
Now, as the mother of three boys, Hassan said she continues to live her life as normally as possible, and painting canvases, even furniture, is a big part of that. 
“It was challenging to start life (again) with no eyesight, but I started looking for things to help me live my life normally as I had to take care of my children as well,” Hassan told Arab News.
“I completely understand life will never be the same again for me, but I wanted to make a difference and turning to painting was my resolve to make myself active,” she said.
Inside, the walls of her home are filled with the intricate oil paintings of landscapes and flowers, all framed and lovingly displayed, some bursting with color that she has created but will never see.
Hassan said she usually works with primary colors, after arranging them in order.
“I mix them with white if I’m painting something of a lighter tone. Usually, I know which color to mix with the other,” she said, and then added with a smile. “I imagine the colors, and then I paint them.”