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|File:Afreen with her artpiece hope.jpg|
Syeda Afreen Suroor Khundmiri|
Hyderabad, Andra Pradesh, now known as Telangana, India)
|Occupation||Blogger, Compliance Analyst, Artist|
|Spouse(s)||Syed G Khundmiri|
|Children||A daughter, Zoha Khundmiri and a son, Zuhayr Khundmiri|
Afreen Khundmiri (known popularly in Atlanta by her pseudonym name, akartist; born Sept 18 Hyderabad, Telangana, India)Template:Better source She was 8 years old when she drew her first calligraphy in Arabic on a piece of styrofoam with spelling errors as she couldn't read or write Arabic.
Her artwork has gained popularity in recent years with her social media presence of 18k and growing Instagram followers, garnering praise and sales internationally.
She has inspired a new generation of artists across the US to share their talents and further calligraphy and arabesque art. Her unique style of modern and old-world techniques, together, bring about visually stimulating pieces that warm the heart and soul. Through proceeds from sales and generous donations, Afreen runs a not-for-profit charity to assist the less fortunate with medical care.
Also, she is active in donating to several Non-Profits across the US. Her art was recently celebrated at Atlanta City Hall at the inaugural Religious Pluralism day on April 4.Template:Failed verification
Early life with Dyslexia
Her relationship with dyslexia has been lifelong, and up until recently, she was not aware that this condition existed. Throughout her childhood in India, she struggled with reading, writing and pronouncing words. She struggled to understand why she was being punished for being different. She struggled quietly, knowing that She was different but she didn't know what was wrong with her. She thought everyone had the same struggles and she was just not given enough time to learn.
Early on, she was determined that school was not for her so she tried all sorts of crazy things to avoid school. Like one time she tried burning her finger and ended up lighting a fire in the storage room.
She pretended to talk to dead people and spirits. That's scared the pants off of everyone. She had made every excuse possibly known to a pre-teen and her poor parents had heard it all, so she had to up the game for them to believe her. One day she faked a stomach ache and ended up in a coma because the Doctor ended up cutting her open because they couldn't understand what her issue was. She regained consciousness after 3 days. That incident changed her completely.
Experience in school
Her experience in school was horrible until about 5th grade when a new English teacher started at her school. His name was Mr. George Anthony. He took the time to understand her and coached her on how to overcome her challenges. He would give her tips on how to pronounce words and how to play on her strengths. For example, he encouraged her to take part in school plays where speaking was minimal. She was fortunate, that year the school was auditioning for Charlie Chaplin. She auditioned and killed it. Since Charlie Chaplin was a silent actor, it was perfect for her. Ever since then, her fortunes turned around. She went on to become a popular girl, earned several awards and represented her school in arts.
"I’m sharing this story because of two things. 1. One person can make a difference as in the case of George Sir and Number 2. Art is one of the most powerful communication mediums…. Transcending language, religious and cultural boundaries as well as gender and social norms."
She is married to Syed Khundmiri. They have a daughter, Zoha Khundmiri and a son, Zuhayr Khundmiri.
She graduated in Finance from Kennesaw State University and worked as an IT auditor for 8 years before quitting and becoming a full-time artist. Her passion for art comes from her late father, a notable Islamic architect who designed over 500 mosques throughout southeast Asia as well as her lifelong struggle with Dyslexia.
Her painting career started in January 2011 when she lost her beloved father, Talib Khundmiri. He was her mentor, friend and most ardent supporter. After his sudden death, she was searching for peace and the meaning of life. She wanted to do something her dad would be proud of as well as find purpose. After a period of reflection, she realized that her dad found peace in helping the less fortunate through his work.
It hit her 2011 so she immediately rushed to the art store and bought a whole bunch of supplies and started painting. Surprisingly, she made my very first abstract art with mixed media after ages, but she felt there was something still missing...It looked great but it was empty. It too needed purpose. She jumped on my computer and started searching for “Masha’Allah” in Arabic. After the paint was dry, she recreated the artwork to Arabic calligraphy. (As she can't read Arabic, she searched online so she won't make mistakes in writing Arabic.) She decided to share her very first calligraphy on Facebook but she was very nervous. She found purpose but will she get acceptance? She finally gathered the courage and shared it. Two hours later, she received a personal message for her very first order from her classmate. She knew right then that her dad was smiling down on her. After delivering her first commissioned order, she used the money to help uplift others less fortunate. At that moment, her purpose had found acceptance and she found a way to stay connected with her dad
She made a painting and named it as "Hope" and wrote the following blog on it.
My name is Afreen and I'm an artist from Atlanta. I self-taught watching my dad paint when I was a child. I make mostly Arabic calligraphies though I can't read or speak the language. I donate my paintings to social fundraisers and also sell my work to raise funds for surgeries and medicine for the underprivileged. Serving others heals the emptiness created after my father passing. Serving others is also a privilege not everyone gets and I am humbled by the Glory of God for His miracles and life lessons as well as for my network of friends, family and all who have contributed to my efforts, our efforts.
I speak with patients and their families almost every day and one thing is common, they all have Hope. They may not have money, a strong support network or even a fair chance to defend against the social stigmas of their financial or health conditions, but they remain hopeful. Hope is not exclusive to a religion, caste, race or geography. In theory, Hope does not discriminate, but the irony is that Hope is discriminated against, everywhere, even here in the U.S.
We have had our own set of challenges lately with each new day lowering the moral standards we hold so dear. I wanted to capture Hope through a woman. The woman in all of us, strong, faithful, loving, humble, proud and self-reflecting. The sunflower on her head symbolizes radiance, warmth, loyalty, longevity, and power. With her head in prostration towards her Creator, she counts her blessings while running her fingers through the worry-bead necklace.
She is praying for her child to be safe. She is praying for her child to have a better tomorrow. She is praying for her child to outlive her.
- Xenophobia blog
- Ilm Academy
- VonyageAtl interview
- "Noted Afreen Khundmiiri blogger". Blogspot. 1 March 2014. http://talibkhundmiri.blogspot.com/2011/02/my-beloved-father-janaab-marhoom-syed.html.
- "Hosting a Day of Religious Pluralism: Two Cities Celebrate the Energetic Engagement of Difference" (in en-US). 2019-04-24. https://www.aspeninstitute.org/blog-posts/hosting-a-day-of-religious-pluralism-two-cities-celebrate-the-energetic-engagement-of-difference/.
- http://talibkhundmiri.blogspot.com/2011/02/my-beloved-father-janaab-marhoom-syed.html A tribute to my beloved father
- "Afreen Khundmiri's Blogspot". http://afreenkhundmiri.blogspot.com/2018/09/friendship-96-normal-0-false-false.html.