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Naushad Waheed
2011 (from Wikipedia)

Naushad Waheed, Maldivian artist
Naushad Waheed

Naushad Waheed (born 15 December 1962 in Male', Maldives) is a cartoonist and painter. He was detained by the government of President Maumoon Gayoom (1978-2008) for four months following the publication of one of his cartoons in the magazine Hukuru in 1999.

In 2001 he was arrested for participating in debates critical of the Gayoom government, tried for treason and sentenced to 15 years in prison. He was released on 22 February 2006.

Naushad Waheed is also the brother of Dr. Mohamed Waheed Hassan, a former member of the Maldivian Majlis and a leading political figure in Maldives. Dr. Mohamed Waheed is currently the Vice-President of the country.

Naushad Waheed was appointed as Deputy High Commissioner of Maldives to the UK in 2008 after the election of President Mohamed Nasheed.

(from Naushad Arts biography section)

Early years
Naushad took his first art lessons in 1976 under the supervision of the art master Mr. Swampilley in Majeediya School. Naushad's interest in art further grew due to his appreciation and admiration of his art master, and after meeting Noonu Thaa Ahamed Didi, another renowned Maldivian master artist. In 1978 he had several chances to visit south India and was deeply influenced by the work of the great master Ravi Varma.

naushad waheed painting - Dhoni

After working as a freelance illustrator for school textbooks and short stories, at the age of 18 Naushad received the award of best pencil, pen and ink artist of the year at the 1980 Maldivian National Art Exhibition. In the same year he received the award for best all-round artist of his school. In 1982, Naushad was sent to Indonesia to follow an apprenticeship in business, where he discovered many Asian Masters and some of the European masters, especially the work of Salvador Dali.

By the time he returned to the Maldives he had put aside all thought of a business career and resumed work as a commercial artist. As a painter and craftsmen he developed his skills by selling his works to the tourism industry where his work was greatly appreciated. In 1986 Naushad had the opportunity of taking part in the 4th South Asian art biennial, which was held in Dhaka, Bangladesh which became a turning point in his career as he moved more towards contemporary abstracts.

Suzanne Pruner, a novelist from California, USA, met Naushad in the Maldives in 1987 and funded his study at Art Instruction School in Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA. He then did illustrations for her folk stories. Naushad's Palm Climber won a prize at the annual art competition at Art Instruction School, Minneapolis in 1989. He was awarded the Blue Ribbon Art Award for outstanding achievement in the development of artistic skills in 1990. He had his basic art training from Art Instruction School in 1989 and took his Fundamental of Arts in 1990.

Political Upheaval
In late 1990, Naushad was taken prisoner for drawing a political cartoon in a weekly magazine and spent almost three and a half years in prison and under house arrest. During this period in prison Naushad composed the painting Minerat. His paintings thus became intensely political and reflect the suffering he experienced as a political prisoner. Naushad was subsequently declared a Prisoner of Conscience by the Amnesty International. After his release, in 1993 he painted a large controversial portrait of the then President of the Republic of Maldives. His art studio Naushad Arts Pvt. Ltd. was established in 1996 and in 1999 he founded Naushad's Academy of Fine Arts, a relatively informal school for artists.

In 2001 Naushad was yet again arrested and after trial without access to a lawyer or the opportunity to defend himself, he was sentenced to 15 years in prison. He was charged with treason, reportedly because of his involvement in public debates that were deemed critical of the government and his correspondence with Amnesty International detailing human rights abuses. During the period in prison Naushad painted several paintings depicting horrific scenes of torture inflicted on him and others, including children. The paintings were then smuggled out and preserved in his private collection. He was released in February 2006. Since then he has completed a Masters in Public Arts in the University of Bolton, UK.

With the establishment of democracy in the Maldives after the first multiparty elections in 2008 which led to the defeat of the 30 year old dictatorship, Naushad was offered the post of Deputy High Commissioner in the High Commission of Maldives in London where he is currently in charge of the Cultural Affairs desk.

Naushad is married to Aishath Hussain, and has two boys, Nabi and Akyas.

First six thumbnails link to larger images:

naushad waheed painting 2009 naushad waheed shell painting

naushad waheed turtle painting
naushad-waheed-painting-threatened-woman naushad waheed tortured man naushad waheed tortured tied to coconut palm

See also:
Naushad Arts Gallery section
and Saatchi Online

High Commission role for Naushad
Tuesday 03 March 2009
University of Bolton, News Archive

Naushad Waheed at work on toddyman statueNaushad at work

A political refugee once forced to smuggle his artwork out of prison has now been given an important cultural appointment by the homeland where he was imprisoned eight times in 20 years.

Naushad Waheed, a final year student in the Public Art MA at the University of Bolton, has been appointed Counsellor (Cultural) at the High Commission for the Maldives.

As a critic of the former President Maumoon Gayoom, Naushad fled the Indian Ocean islands after being imprisoned eight times in two decades.

In 1989 a cartoon by Naushad, satirising the president, was printed in a newspaper. This resulted in a jail term of three-and-a-half years. Until he left the Maldives in 2006, Naushad endured further summary arrest, imprisonment, solitary confinement and witnessed acts of brutality and torture. In 2003, in prison on a charge of treason, he was caught up in riots and saw fellow inmates killed by security guards.

On 1 March, Naushad Waheed took up his appointment as cultural counsellor for the Maldives, an archipelago of 1190 islands south-west of Sri Lanka in the Indian Ocean.

His change in fortunes followed democratic elections last November when the president, who had ruled for 30 years, was defeated and a new democratic government was formed. The offer of the cultural counsellor role was made to Naushad shortly after the new government took office.

'I'm excited by this new challenge,' said Naushad. 'The Maldives is culturally very diverse and I'll be developing and promoting artistic and cultural links, especially between the Maldives and Europe. I'll also have plenty of opportunities to support and develop the work of other Maldivian artists as well as continue with my own art work.'

naushad waheed - fisherman throwing baitfishThrowing baitfish naushad waheed - woman carrying brass water vesselCollecting water naushad waheed - toddymanToddyman

In the 1990s, Naushad set up an Academy of Fine Arts, the country's first art school, although it was forced to close in 2003. During some periods in prison he managed to produce paintings, using material smuggled in. Works were then smuggled out by his wife or other family members on the rare occasions when they were allowed to visit.

When he was released in 2006, Naushad came to the UK where he had friends and supporters – the Friends of Maldives was established here in 2003. It was here he took up the MA course.

Said Naushad: 'There was hardly any opportunity to study art in the Maldives. After I left school, much of my learning was in studios and workshops. I was basically a self taught artist. The course at Bolton gave me an opportunity to develop and extend many of my artistic ideas and concepts, especially for the creation of artworks as a public statement because, for me, all art is political.'

The chance to bring some of these ideas to fruition came last summer when Naushad was invited to take part in the Ninth International Sculpture Symposium in Chanchung City, China. It was, he admits, a wonderful opportunity. He was able to develop his proposal with his MA tutors at Bolton and received funding and practical support from the Chinese government.

Unsurprisingly, the finished piece was controversial. Entitled 'Way to Freedom', it incorporated a surfboard and an octopus, symbols of the country's tropical setting in the Indian Ocean. But the surfboard, usually associated with freedom and independence, was held by the tentacles of the octopus, representing the regime of President Gayoom. Naushad has often used images that reflect the tourist guidebook view of the Maldives – blue seas, sailing boats, exotic birds and fish – but which sometimes suggest another darker, layer of meaning.

naushad waheed - angel of the seaAngel of the Sea

Alan Buckingham, Programme Leader on the MA in Public Art course and Naushad's tutor, said: 'Naushad is an outstanding student and has produced some exceptional work. Considering the events of his life and the many difficulties he has faced over the years, his remarkable achievements are testimony to his commitment, vision and determination. I'm glad we had the opportunity to work with him here at Bolton and I wish him well for the future.'

With a new – and the first ever – democratic government in place in the Maldives and the responsibilities of his new role, Naushad is positive about the future. He is currently busy working on his final MA submission – a project for the courtyard of the newly built National Museum on the capital island of Male. His design depicts the 16th century uprising by the Maldivians which ended a brief occupation by the Portuguese. It is still art as politics, but also art as celebration.

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