Farzana is the founder and managing director of Curzon PR, a strategic public relations and digital communications agency with offices in London, New York and Dubai, and an office in Delhi soon to be launched. In addition to this, Farzana is on the board of CARE Pakistan, Pakistan’s largest educational NGO.
Farzana regularly contributes to media outlets such as Al Jazeera, The Guardian and the BBC. She has been nominated for numerous awards and recently won Media Professional of the Year at the Asian Media Awards 2014.
If there was one piece of art you could feature in, which would it be and why?
It’s hard to pick just one, as there have been many beautiful moments in the history of art. But if I absolutely had to, I would go with featuring in the late Alexander McQueen’s designs. As a lover of fashion, I would have liked to have been one of his muses, as so many of his collections epitomized the idea of fashion as a work of art. His innovative works continue to influence the world of fashion and his contribution to the design world is celebrated amongst all those aspiring to become a part of this world.
Who inspires you and why? An artist, a family member, someone current or historical?
My main inspiration is my six-year-old daughter, Isabella. We can all learn so much from the creative perspective children bring. It is their natural curiosity and enthusiasm that inspire me to continuously ask questions and push back against the preconceived notions that we have as adults, which I believe often hinder the creative process. For me, creativity and inspiration can be derived from young people and children - those who are yet to make their mark in the world.
What are your cultural aspirations? What do you still want to see, do and achieve?
In terms of cultural aspirations, I want to further develop my understanding of cultures outside my own, as I have both a British and Pakistani background. I am particularly drawn to the Japanese, Iranian and Lebanese cultures and would love to learn more about how the unique history of these countries is reflected in the development of their respective cultures. I am particularly intrigued by the evolution of food, visual arts, design and fashion in these places. I hope to travel to Japan, Iran and Lebanon in the near future and experience all of it firsthand.
What are your favourite cultural cities in the world and why?
I’m lucky to be based in my favourite city, London. The eclectic architecture, the vibrant street culture and the interconnectedness of the city are just a few of the things that make this city great. The fact that London has a great number of world class cultural institutions that are free to the public, such as the V&A, the British Museum and the Tate Modern, truly sets London apart.
Odessa, Ukraine is also another of my favourite cities, because of its stunning architecture. Travelling to Odessa is amazing. The city is like a slice of the Mediterranean in Eastern Europe, a feat recognized by Pushkin, one of my favourite poets. The city is alive with a passion for classical music, opera, literature and poetry that crosses class and socio-economic divides. I always try to visit the Odessa Opera and Ballet Theatre, as it has a charming atmosphere and offers excellent shows.
One other city that I adore is Turin. Home to several stunning museums, Turin is buzzing with cultural history and excellent museums such as Museo Egizio, a museum of Egyptian archaeology, and the Museo Nazionale dell’Automobile, which showcases the city’s history as the home of car manufacturers such as FIAT, Alfa Romeo and Lancia. Turin is a city brimming with beautiful baroque architecture and, like much of Italy, is a place with incredible food. The culinary history of Turin is particularly rich: Piedmont gave birth to the slow food movement, villages like Barolo are known for wine, and Alba for its truffles. Other delicacies such as marrons glacés, grissini and Gianduja chocolate all contribute to the city’s formidable culinary heritage.
What are you up to at the moment and where can we find it?
Much of my time is taken up by my role as Managing Director of Curzon PR. We are currently working on a number of exciting arts and culture projects, including Heist, a fine art photography collective and London’s first ‘anti-gallery’. We are also working with Simone Krok, a South African born sculptor and multi-media artist, who explores themes of creation and human nature through her work. Curzon is also working with the inaugural Art Bahrain this October, an exciting project which will see us supporting this new art fair that looks to bring the arts and culture of Bahrain to the world and vice versa.
The company has grown considerably over the past 12 months - we established offices in New York in January, in Dubai in April, and we are currently working to launch the Delhi office this June. Working across so many different cultures and countries is something I deeply enjoy, not only because it gives me the opportunity to take a more internationally informed approach to my work, but also because this allows me to take in all the cultural delights that these countries have to offer.