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Official newspaper of The University of Texas at Austin

The Daily Texan

Official newspaper of The University of Texas at Austin

The Daily Texan

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October 4, 2022

Studio art sophomore explores collective history through multimedia art

Charlie Partheymuller
Longhorn artist Farah Narejo poses in front of her self portrait hanging in Medici Roasting on Feb. 16, 2024.

Amidst the steady hum of study groups with a view of pedestrians walking along The Drag, Farah Narejo researched her culture’s history from a corner table in Cafe Medici, half a world away from where she grew up.

For studio art sophomore Narejo, what began as an admiration for her older sister’s art flourished into a multimedia artistic career of her own. Among her accomplishments, Narejo’s personal favorite piece, a multimedia collage titled “Self Portrait,” hangs in Cafe Medici, and she recently sold her prints at an event fundraising for Palestine organized by In Sight, In Mind (ISIM). After moving to Austin from Pakistan in 2021, Narejo said she felt a sparked desire to study her country’s collective history, one she explores through artistic inquisition.

“I felt like I didn’t know who my family was, and who my father was, and who his father was and where I fit into all of that,” Narejo said. “For me to know that, I had to go back and figure out where I came from.”

Narejo’s “Self Portrait” served as a means for her to do just that. She said she approached the project, like all her works, by first researching themes and histories she wanted her art to reflect. For this piece, that research included the 1947 partition of India and Pakistan.

“After 1947, there was this weird distinction in what names things were given and what place they came from,” Narejo said. “That’s where my interest in collective history came from. Like, what is Pakistani? What is Indian? Who defines those things?”

Srisha Chakraborty, Narejo’s close friend and an advertising and studio art sophomore, said she admires Narejo’s incorporation of their cultural history in her art.

“When it comes down to her talking about her personal experiences that she embeds into her art, it does make you emotional and you can see yourself in her art too,” Chakraborty said.

While Narejo said she sees great value in history, she also views time as a non-linear, fluid force and the past and present as intertwined. She said her photography professor spoke of women who gave birth without anesthesia in the 1700s, before its invention. However, Narejo said modern-day Palestinian women face the same reality.

“It’s reoccurring, it hasn’t ended,” Narejo said. “It’s happening right now. It was happening then.”

Julio Martinez, ISIM co-organizer, met Narejo in her Introduction to Printmaking class last semester and said her prints stood out to him as pieces to sell at ISIM’s Palestine fundraising event on Feb. 11.

“She takes into consideration what she shows the viewer,” the arts and entertainment technologies and studio art senior said. “She’s very concise with the imagery that she uses. She uses it very effectively.”

Chakraborty also said Narejo displays incredible technical and storytelling skills in her art.

“I think people should keep an eye on her,” Chakraborty said. “If anyone is gonna make it in this school and actually do something super meaningful for the world, it’s Farah.”

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