Brushstrokes of Resilience: How the struggles of my past have positively shaped my art

Huzaifa Goga working on an aquascape project.


Huzaifa Goga from Dubai utilises his artistic prowess to create aquascapes, aesthetically pleasing realistic or abstract arrangements of aquatic plants, rocks, stones, or driftwood in an aquarium.

In this blog, Huzaifa shares his experiences of art and explains how it has enabled him to paint the canvas of his life on his own terms.

In the realm of creativity, where colors merge and ideas bloom, my artistic journey began with a passionate desire to express the unspoken. My art has enabled me to understand my inner self and has brought me closer to my sense of purpose in life.

My artistic odyssey commenced in my childhood, where every day was a new discovery, and grew as a result of the many train trips I took in my younger years. The slow and steady rhythm, the clickety-clack of the wheels on the tracks, and the ever-changing landscape outside the window all contributed to a sense of adventure and wonder.

As the train chugged along, passing through small towns and villages, I would catch glimpses of people going about their daily lives, and wonder what it was like to live in those places. This increased my understanding of the depth and quality of a space. It made me understand the magic of a square box and what secrets this form can hold. These impressions led to squares becoming an artistic avenue to express what I wanted to convey.

When adolescence set in, the simple joy of painting and creating spaces gave way to the complexities of self-doubt and societal pressures. I questioned whether I was good enough as an architect, artist, son, or student. These insecurities were manifested in my bipolar disorder, which I consider one of my greatest assets.

Pursuing my passion was emotionally taxing, especially when I faced setbacks or criticism. This led to stress, anxiety, and other emotional challenges.

When life’s tempests cast shadows on my creative spirit, art became my refuge, a sanctuary where I could pour out my emotions and find solace. I recall one such instance, during the Covid-19 pandemic when the world turned inwards, and I paused and began to introspect. I started documenting human emotions based upon the shape of a square. My first drawing named “Man in a Box” became the kickstarter for an entire series on this theme. It was then that I realized that-as for many artists-my illustrations, canvases and aquascapes were windows to my emotions.

I started documenting human emotions based upon the shape of a square.

Huzaifa Goga

As I immersed my time and energy into creating aquascapes, my efforts began getting noticed. I was pleasantly surprised when one afternoon, out of the blue, my daughter’s art teacher suggested that I showcase my art to a wider audience. She subsequently guided me to my own solo art exhibition for aquascapes.

My heart fluttered with a mix of excitement and dread. The thought of sharing my art with the world both thrilled and terrified me. For days, I battled with myself. I stared at my unfinished aquascapes, feeling the weight of my own expectations. However, as I remembered the passion that had once fueled my art, and the connection it forged with my audience, I became determined to see it through.

As the day of the gallery exhibition neared, I was filled with excitement and nervousness. The whisper of negativity still haunted me, but I had become adept at drowning it out with the encouraging voices of those who believed in me. Foremost among them was my wife, the pillar of my support system. Her validation and unwavering faith in my talent meant the world to me. She was not just my life partner but also my most trusted critic, pushing me to refine my work and to reach new heights.

The night of the exhibition arrived with my art showcased on the gallery walls. The viewers were, I believe, moved by the raw emotion and resilience pouring out of my work. A distinguished artist in the Middle East, Anjini Prakash Laitu, once told me that it takes courage to do something original and move away from conventional forms of art. I also recall the director of Tashkeel Art Foundation, Lisa Ball, who described my compositions as very original and said that they had their own unique language.

At that moment, I realized that my artistic endeavor was not in vain. It had become a bridge between my soul and others who faced similar struggles.

Eventually, I realized how far I had come: being recognised in leading regional publications and hosting six successful art exhibitions in a short span of time. I made a name for myself as a successful artist, not only in Dubai, but throughout the region. Today, I stand ready to start my own studio, which has been my long-lasting aspiration.

My artistic journey, like any work of art, continues to evolve. I embrace each challenge as an opportunity for growth. The struggles of the past have shaped my art, infusing it with depth and authenticity. I now see the beauty in the struggles, understanding that they are an integral part of the artistic process.

3 thoughts on “Brushstrokes of Resilience: How the struggles of my past have positively shaped my art

  1. Zoher Nomanbhoy says:

    Huzeifa…. I read the write up with zeal and enthusiasm. I don’t know what to praise you with …. an author or artist. Probably both. I have been following all your art work and exhibitions over the years. Improving by leaps and bounds.
    With Moulanas doa and nazaraat you are bound to do well.
    Your Fuaji sends his best wishes and prays for your success.

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