Suzan Habib was born in Kabul to parents who were devoted to the intellectual development in the Afghan community. Today, Habib’s life is very different from how it was in her home country that she left at the age of 16. However, her cultural identity and interest in social questions is prominent in her art, and as a self proclaimed queer artist, Habib continues to make powerful statements through unique creations in the world of pop art, street art and sculpting.
“My art has been the world I could escape to when the outside was burning from the heat of war… My art has been and is a way for me to express and convey my experiences of society”
Habib’s fascination for other artists encompasses the elements of social status and international fame, what she seeks is common language and connection in technique as well as colors, which makes her appreciate up-and-coming independent artists as well. However, as a lover of pop art and street artistry, Habib’s biggest sources of inspiration are Austrian contemporary artist Voka and South African portrait artist Jimmy Law, among others.
Not only do inspiring artists influence the foundation of Habib’s art-making, but so do her closest relationships like the ones she has with her father and wife as well as siblings and friends. In the forms of support and advice, they offer her the necessary tools to truly fulfill her vision. “I’ve had my father as a role model and as the one who’s always guided me in my art. Today, I also have my wife who’s my closest person and the one who’s behind many of my ideas for finished works. My wife and my dad are two key people in what I do”
Although she’s always been an artist, her career took off after her first exhibition. In the summer of 2017, Habib was offered to exhibit her first series called Shattered Country at Dieselverkstaden in collaboration with the Swedish Afghan Committee and international Afghan film festival.
Her second series, Crossroads, was exhibited a year later on the same platform as well as at a multicultural center through a vernissage and film screening. Habib’s last show was in January 2021 at Juste Gallery in Hornstull in Stockholm as an independent exhibition, which was extremely successful despite certain restrictions due to the prevailing circumstances.
“My dream is to reach as many people as possible with my art and connect with others. I don’t see my art as a hobby but a big part of my professional identity and my own identity as a person. I see it as my true nature”
Starting from the beginning of her art journey, creativity is still a method and experience of freedom for Suzan Habib today. As life continues to shape her perceptions and characteristics, so does her art move in synchronicity with those changes.
We see reflections of Habib’s passions and personal beliefs in her art, as well as messages related to social issues through references to popular culture. Her art is never boring and always multidimensional, both figuratively speaking and in reference to her statement sculptures.
“Salvador Dali. Have no fear of perfection. You’ll never reach it”. which is an artist’s quote. I chose to illustrate the artist and the quote as it ironically speaks of a clear truth about us humans.”
“The Pippi character is a recurring theme among my works and it reminds a lot that inside every girl lives a Pippi who is strong, smart and kind.”
“The woman in burka and spray can is a symbolist painting that is very reminiscent of my background as a woman from Afghanistan and an active artist in Sweden. The contrasts between freedom and oppression.”