If you’ve ever felt that your world doesn’t shine like it should, look to Sara Shakeel, artist and founder of the #glitterstretchmarks movement for some joy and inspiration.

“Each picture heals a part of me, and I hope it heals a part of you too.”

Pakistani born artist Sara Shakeel produces Tumblr-esque, Insta-worthy collages covered in glittering crystals. Becoming an art sensation for Shakeel began with an image of her stretch marks filled in with crystals, demonstrating to viewers that blemishes, imperfections, or anything that society views as our faults should be celebrated and embraced. She relates her creations to Pakistani and Indian “truck art”, elaborate floral patterns and calligraphy used to decorate trucks servicing Afghanistan that became known by American servicemen as “jingle trucks” for the clinking of chains that hung from the backs of these vehicles. In a way, the idea of the jingle truck is like a metaphor for Shakeel’s representation of the world: we are but innocent and elaborate vehicles rolling on through our own war.

An unusual start for an artist, Shakeel trained as a dentist until the age of 27 when she took a new direction, picking up her notepad to doodle and experiment with digital art. She says that she has always had a love of art and curiosity for creation, but that being surrounded by a family of Engineers, Doctors and Teachers, pursuing art seemed a little impractical, or perhaps even impossible. An accidental upload to Instagram later and the likes came rolling in, and so too did the following and the flow of ideas. Shakeel uses crystals and other delights to light up her world and transform the expression of her feelings and her worldview into something truly magnificent, and fundamentally optimistic.

Shakeel says on her personal website that “each picture [that she creates] heals a part of me, and I hope it heals a part of you too”. We certainly feel uplifted, and we hope that Shakeel continues to create bold and innovative expressions for many years to come.