In Part 2 of my interview with Nabila Shishakli, she shares her typical day in Damascus and her dream of writing and illustrating her own children’s book. (Read Part 1.)
Absolutely! In fact, the first story I tried to illustrate was at the age of six. It’s a dream to write and illustrate my own children’s book, and I think this will be achieved [soon]. I’ve always wished for my book to be read by ALL the children of my country, Syria; but for my bad luck a lot of them have passed early because of [the war]; it’s really breaking the heart!
Which two colors look best together?
Blue and beige are my favorite! I…feel comfortable seeing these both colors; so elegant and so quiet especially [in] pastel.
What’s your favorite food?
Although I enjoy tasting different kinds of international food…Arabic [food] is still my favorite. [It] makes me feel …full of energy. (See a recipe for Nabila’s favorite, Tabula.)
What is strange and wonderful about you?
My birthday comes once every four years because [I was born] 29th of February [leap year]. [Also] most of my dreams come true; it’s a kind of strange thing, but I find it so interesting!
What is the best advice you’ve ever been given?
The best advice I’ve [gotten] so far is to enjoy what I have while I have it, rather than looking at what I don’t have. [This helped me focus on] my ambitions and dreams. It helped me concentrate on developing my abilities and…to enjoy each and every stage of my life.
The world is watching Syria. Putting politics aside, what is it like for you day-to-day? What is your typical day like?
Actually, I’m going through a lot of pressure. [My work] needs a lot of concentration, relaxation and stability, but unfortunately none of these is available at present. I’ve changed my dwelling lately due to the current events; nonetheless, when it comes to work I’ll have to put my emotions aside and separate between the two, which is so hard and tough. To do that, I try to live the story I’m painting.
I work almost three hours a day on average. I help mom in cooking, go out with her [to buy groceries or] go out for having some fun. We visit some relatives and communicate with the others via Internet. Since all my sisters work outside the house, we usually gather at the lunchtime and at the dinnertime. That’s how my days pass and that’s the most we can do currently.
What do you want our readers to know and appreciate about your country?
My country is the cradle of civilizations with greatest people ever. Syrians are well-educated and always seek keeping up with the rest of the world in all domains of life. They are also very kind, helpful and hospitable.
Syria’s climate is incredibly varied. You can witness all seasons throughout the year. [T]he most noteworthy difference being the contrast of sea and desert; of mountain ranges and coastline. It’s as a miniature of the whole world gathered in a small area called Syria.
Nabila was born in a Damascus suburb, she had lived a quiet rural life. All her family members love the fine arts. especially drawing Her father died when she was a student at the Damascus University, and he has been the encouragement for her to study at the College of Fine Arts. where she graduated in 2006. Nabila has worked as senior painter for children’s magazines such as Fulla and Nailufar.She is available as a freelance illustrator for children’s books. For now she hopes for peace and security in Syria.
You can see Nabila’s portfolio here.