June 13, 2021

Sky is the limit for Pakistan’s metal artist

Nasim Yousufzai started digging art with a pencil, struck some oil, and ended up in scrap, so to speak.

From unlikely origins, the 50-something metal artist from Pakistan’s north-western city of Peshawar has done all of this, and more.

His biggest exhibit was when he designed a huge float for the Pakistan Day parade in 1995, winning second prize.

Then in 2001, he took to the air by designing a makeshift aircraft from an old automobile engine, used car tyres, wooden propellers and wings made of steel pipes covered with canvas sheets.

He flew the machine for five minutes, before he was waved down by his brothers who dragged him home where his panicked mother ordered him never to do it again.

He has since abided by that order.

The son of a day labourer who had migrated from his native Swat region to Peshawar in search of work, Nasim’s childhood was steeped in poverty.

But he appears to have made the best of it.

“My elder brother didn’t want to study, and my father was happy for him to drop out of school, but I refused to do that, and my father didn’t force me,” he says.

As a child, he did everything he could to help his family while he studied. After school he would go to a nearby wholesale market to buy vegetables, which he sold in his neighbourhood. Then he worked part time as a helper at an electric store, and also at a tailor’s shop where he learned stitching.

“Since my earliest years, I somehow developed a passion for drawing,” he says.

That might have sparked his talent for designing things in later life – and in recent years making art out of scrap metal.

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