“Ikram” is an artist pseudonym of our founder Zukhra chosen as a tribute to her late father Ikram Shaabdullaev.
Art was an integral part of Zukhra’s life as she grew up. Her father was a professional artist who taught Art History and Fine Arts at the National Pedagogical University in Tashkent, Uzbekistan. He also worked at a boarding school for the deaf children teaching them art and decorating the school interior with beautiful murals.
To provide for his family in the difficult era post-perestroika, he also took on commission projects painting portraits of private clients in his tiny art studio in a family apartment.
Dad’s art studio was Zukhra’s favorite place on earth where she’d often sneak in to go through the stocks of paints and brushes, and books on Russian and European artists.
Reproduction of Raphael's the Sistine Madonna. Pencil on paper. Zukhra age 10
Naturally gifted, Zukhra never attended a formal art school. In her teens, she took some art classes at a community arts center where she was soon nominated to the city art contest and got the first prize. Zukhra’s most creative years were through her adolescence when she drew, sketched and painted for hours a day. Reviewing Zukhra's teen age paintings, her father’s faculty colleagues would comment that her skills were at a level of a university student.
Graduating from a high school, Zukhra’s rational mind took over and she applied to the second top university in her home country Uzbekistan to pursue a degree in regional studies and development. Tied up with a full-time school and work, she abandoned her artistic practices for nearly two decades to pursue a career track in international development. In 2004, she relocated to the US to pursue her second graduate degree followed by a career path in global health.
Watercolor on paper. Reproduction. Zukhra age 11
Ink on paper. Zukhra age 12
A series of adversarial life experiences of 2000s had turned Zukhra to the independent research and study of trauma and its impact on health. In her efforts to cope and process, Zukhra picked up a brush and found a great solace in the painting. Increasingly, she was drawn to the study of mysticism and the role of consciousness and spirituality in health. In the process, she developed a great interest in the mind-body medicine where expressive artistic activities play very important role.
Ink on paper. Zukhra age 12
In 2014, during her volunteer summer experience, Zukhra discovered her true life calling -- trauma-informed psychosocial support. In 2015 she founded a nonprofit Pro-Cure Art to deliver art therapy to people and communities affected by adversity. In 2018, Zukhra got trained with the got trained with the Center for Mind-Body Medicine to run trauma support groups. Currently, Zukhra works part-time in a corporate environment and spends the rest of her time painting, running her nonprofit, illustrating children’s books and delivering therapeutic art activities to medical patients.
Acrylic on canvas. Abstract. 2017
Zukhra’s artistic genre had matured from vivid watercolor cartoons of early childhood to pencil, pastel and ink in adolescence and to the fluid acrylic art and spiritual abstracts as an adult. She experiments with various techniques and mixed media with preference for a textured art in acrylic. Proceeds from sales of her art fund her nonprofit activities.
Zukhra's photograph of her own pastel painting
"A girl with a pearl earring" at the IMF-World Bank
International Photographic Society's annual exhibition 2017