Rida Mushtaq – Reimagining Pakistani Currency


A few months ago a tweet with beautifully designed Pakistani currency notes went viral and for good reason; they were exquisitely designed, colorful notes, hand drawn by Rida Mushtaq, the artist, representing Pakistan’s cultural diversity. The project was Rida’s final thesis for her Bachelors degree in Fine Arts that she was pursuing from Fatima Jinnah University.

Rida has specialized in Graphic Designing and says that art is in her genes. She was always interested in the arts, whether it was drawing or other activities that required creativity. Luckily, she didn’t have to go too far from home for inspiration as her uncle and brother are also artists.

As a young artist Rida experiments with different styles and techniques in her art. With her thesis Rida wanted to do something special that would represent a positive image of Pakistan, and what better way to do that than focusing on Pakistan’s cultural diversity. The reason she picked currency notes is because “currency travels hand to hand” spreading far and wide which she thought would be an interesting and unique way to spread the images.

Initially there were many challenges with the project of this scope with some people saying that this kind of work wouldn’t be considered art but Rida pushed through with positive guidance and kep her focus on the message she wanted to portray.

The final result was each note displaying cultural elements from all parts of Pakistan on vibrant backgrounds. Once images of the currency notes made their way to social media, (thanks to Rida’s brother, Faisal) there was no turning back. The feedback was overwhelmingly positive with Pakistanis all over the globe appreciating the colorful, detailed and one of a kind representation of Pakistan’s cultural diversity.

“I would like to thank everyone for an overwhelming response. Also, those who positively criticized my work.”

Rida says that even though experimenting with art in Pakistan can be challenging at times, the response has been encouraging which is why she would like to keep finding different ways and artistic mediums to promote a positive image of Pakistan by focusing on its cultural diversity.

“The main idea behind the project is to spread a positive image of Pakistan through its rich culture and public’s overwhelming response showed me that they did get my idea, and I am happy about that.”

Interview and Written by Sameen Mohsin


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