Shop Local: Nafiart Studio
Falls Church artist Nafia Syeed turns natural found objects into colorful keepsakes and bijouterie.
The oyster shells Nafia Syeed embellishes with brightly patterned decoupage might be her current best-sellers, but the Falls Church artist has more than one trick up her sleeve. She’s been studying art ever since her mother enrolled her in an art school at around 8 years old in her hometown of Dhaka, Bangladesh.
“I’m actually an interdisciplinary artist, so I explore new fields of art and expand my horizons creatively,” she says, listing oil painting, sculpture, jewelry-making and resin art among her many skills.
Syeed and her husband moved to the D.C. area from Bangladesh in 2020 (for his work) with their two children. Since then, the industrious artist founded Nafiart Studio, creating her colorful oyster-shell dishes ($17–$25) along with jewelry made from butterfly wings encapsulated in resin ($22–$30). She works only with found butterflies that died of natural causes, which means their wings show imperfections like tears and discolorations.
“I always try to collect things from nature and turn them into a piece of art with my style,” says the artist. “I love nature’s vibrant colors.” In Virginia, she has been especially taken with the seasonal changes in the landscape—something she wasn’t accustomed to seeing in Bangladesh.
Syeed donates a dollar of each sale to the World Wildlife Fund and incorporates sustainable practices into some of her artwork—such as the earrings she recently started making out of recycled Bangladeshi wedding outfits her mother brings from home. She hopes her maximalist, colorful designs will bring a little magic to those who need it. “I want to inspire people to be more positive,” she says. “With my art, I want them to realize the blessings of nature.”
Next on her wish list of skills to master are mosaics, clay art and digital art. She’s currently adding hand-painted accent tables and jewelry boxes to her repertoire of online offerings, which can be found on Etsy, Amazon Handmade, Facebook and Instagram, in addition to her website.