My name is Zoe Harveen Kaur, aka ZHK Designs! I was born and raised in Calgary, Alberta, Canada, however when I was 18, I decided to leave Alberta and study in Ontario. As a South Asian person, I grew up in a westernized Punjabi-Sikh family with both my parents and my older sister. My dad has an extremely large Punjabi family in Calgary and my mum also has a large family in England, so I grew up surrounded by my culture and a very strong Punjabi community. Growing up, I have always been fond of my culture; I watched Bollywood movies all the time with my grandparents, I went to Punjabi school every Friday night and I only listen to Punjabi and Hindi music.
Though I have explored other spheres of life, my culture is extremely important to me and I wanted to highlight that as much as I could. Through my adolescence, I realized that a lot of my peers didn’t know who Punjabis or Sikhs were and they could not differentiate between different South Asian cultures. This led me to create ZHK Designs. In my first year of university, I started painting South Asian people on denim jackets and started selling them. From that point forward, I started exploring my culture more, but I was solely focused on the Punjabi culture. Once I finished my second year of my undergrad, I realized that I wasn’t completely educated on other cultures as well, so I began to do more research and I started illustrating key features of various South Asian cultures.
Through the summer of 2018, I created my Instagram page and my business began to flourish. ZHK Designs was created to educate others and enhance various identities, cultures and backgrounds through art. I wanted to create a page that was not only directed at the South Asian community, but could be a safe space for all individuals.