Nahida Sharmin: An artist and entrepreneur
Tell us something about your childhood...
I spent my childhood in Agrabaad colony. This place was very serene and my upbringing was in a very creative environment. I studied in St Scholastica School, a missionary school. The school plays an important role in my life. One of my teachers, Mary Magdalene was our constant inspiration. She was much disciplined and well mannered person. So, since my childhood I have been a well organized person. My parents were always cooperative. Whatever I always wanted they had given me the liberty to do so. Thanks to my surrounding, this has been a blessing for me.
Story behind becoming an artist...
I was never so sure that one day I will be an artist. When I was in school I loved drawing so much. After lunch, kids of my age used to take rest but I always tried to do something creative. For example, I used to make cards and drew them. Painting has always been my passion. One interesting thing, I made a calendar when I was only 10 or 12 years old. That was very much appreciated by many people. Once, the former Mayor Anisul Haque came to visit my place and he was astonished to see my work.
However, that time I hadn't decided to become an artist. After passing HSC I was determined to admit in Fine Arts College of Chittagong. However, my mother was against my choice. But I was stubborn from my childhood. I attended the admission test, to my utter surprise, when I looked into the notice board I saw my name first! Actually I stood first in the examination. Well it was unbelievable for me. It is said that, "When you want something, the entire universe conspires in helping you to achieve it."
In my case it happened really. My Art College days were the best days of my life. I got 1st in first class. Then I joined in a government high school. My posting was in Khagrachori. Those days were also good. Later I applied for the position of lecturer at Fine Arts College of Chittagong and I got the job.
From a teacher to an entrepreneur, how was the journey?
It was not at all planned. Once I started it with one of my friends. We together invested some money and bought some sarees. Later we blocked on it with colours and sold it. But a miracle happened in my exhibition at Chittagong. Around 52 sarees had been exhibited and all of them were sold in that exhibition. I was unprepared for it. Later I got married and just few days after my marriage another exhibition had been arranged in Dhaka Monju art gallery. This time 100 sarees were exhibited and all of them were sold.
Artists usually work in canvas but I made saree as my own canvas. One more thing I would like to mention that I was still continuing my job. And that was pretty hassle for me to go Chittagong and Dhaka every now and then as I have two kids already. So, in 2005 I resigned from my job, but I told my mother in law that it is not possible for me stay in the kitchen and do only household chores. I am an artist and artist should connect with art and aestheticism. Many of my clients had requested me to open my boutique so I decided to become an entrepreneur and started my own shop, 'Shailpik Craft'.
What are the qualities an entrepreneur must have?
An entrepreneur must have love, dedication, motivation and passion for his work. Family support is also needed. Like my in-laws were always supportive they always let me do the things what I wanted. And remember there is no short cut; you have to work very hard.
Inspiration of your life...
My parents, my in-laws, my family and my children. They are my constant support.