Izhar is a queer Muslim digital artist from Karachi, Pakistan. Despite being a creative child, he has given up on his dream of being an animator and took up engineering.
After more than a decade since his last digital illustration, he picked up a pen and started drawing again in order to kill boredom during the COVID-19 pandemic. Having no formal background in art, he was surprised to find that his work was so well received.
"I am a deeply political person and most of my work reflect that. In light of the recent Aurat March (Pakistan's International Women's Day march) I realised there is very little understanding and exposure for the secretive and closeted gay community in Pakistan, and that no real empathy could be built to even have the conversation for rights and recognition. I want to change that- I want to show how queerness manifests in our country among the working class men and common people who haven't been exposed to western terms or literature, but still very much engage in behaviour that would be construed as queer. We tend to think of these things as foreign or coming from the outside of Pakistani culture when the reality is that queerness is fundamentally part of our lives and experiences everywhere in Pakistan."
Text says "Tauba, tauba"- an Urdu expression used to imply blame, dislike, disapprobation, abhorrence or contempt.