“Keep your head down. Focus. Push the time for it. Talk to people. Connect. Most importantly, have passion.” These were the keywords spoken by Mr Shahid Malik, the owner of Gallery One62.

Back in 2018, Mr Malik had the opportunity to run an Islamic Art and Calligraphy Exhibition alongside Mr Ashraf Shad,  a writer, poet and journalist on SBS Australia, at the Bansktown Art Center. That event was a landmark success.

“This was a pivotal moment for me as this was when I was ignited to go deeper into the art world.”

Mr Shahid Malik painting on the streets of Turkey.

Soon after, Mr Malik tried to set up more events and exhibitions elsewhere but felt like he was restricted by many terms and conditions set up by the other parties. As an art lover who understands how to work around the art world, he soon decided to open up his own art gallery.

And so he did. Not only in Sydney, in 2018, but another one back in his hometown in Karachi, in 2019, as well.

He aims to shorten the gap between art lovers in Australia and Pakistan, by making sure these two galleries work cohesively in introducing native art of Australia overseas and likewise with Pakistani art and artists.

In January 2020, his art gallery in Pakistan called Art 162, held an Australia Day exhibition showcasing local and aboriginal art.

“It wasn’t just about running these galleries. I was coming out from my shell as well. I have been drawing since I was 7 years old. At the time, Bruce Lee and some Pakistani heroes were my inspiration. I taught myself how to draw as it has always been a passion of mine but it was only a few years back that I was able to fully bloom as an artist.”

I continued the interview by asking him the difference between his gallery and that of others.

“I want my gallery to be a platform in helping local artists. We try to charge as minimally as possible and only make profit if the artists does.”

His gallery in Sydney is called Gallery One62, located in Auburn, NSW and also runs art related workshops besides exhibitions and it’s annual Islamic Calligraphy Exhibition was held in Ramadhan this year.

Besides running these two art galleries, he also runs SignOn Sydney, a print shop with immaculate graphic design services.

What was your proudest moment?

“My solo exhibition held in Karachi in February 2020. It wasn’t just about showcasing my work and getting all the media exposure for it, but the support I received from my friends and family at that time was overwhelming. Some flew in from Australia, Canada, Europe and America. I couldn’t be prouder of them.”

Who in the art world, who inspire you?

“There’s two. Pro Hart and Sadequain Naqqash, a Pakistani artist who is best known for his skills as a calligrapher and painter. He is considered as one of the finest Pakistan has ever produced. He was also a poet.”

Lastly, what is your hope for the future?

“To open an art gallery or museum in Sydney CBD that specializes in Islamic Art.”