In 1953, I was born in Netto Ville, Arima, Trindad and Tobago, my parents being Raffick and Zorida Abasali. Soon after our family moved to De Verteuil Street, close to the Arima Market. Still a child, we finally took up residence at Providence Circular, where our family home still stands to this day. I lived with three (3) brothers, and four (4) sisters and other cousins growing up.
My primary education was gained at the Arima Boys’ Government School and my secondary education at Holy Cross College, Arima, and at Mt. St. Benedict Abbey School in St. Augustine.
Thereafter, I studied electronic engineering technology at John Donaldson Technical Institute in Port-of-Spain, Trinidad and Tobago.
During my early school years, my parents established a business concern “Farm and Garden Supplies” right in the heart of Arima next to the Dial. It was part of the corner building on the south-west side of Broadway and Queen Street, adjacent to the Court House.
And I worked for many years here learning at my family’s business that served the needs of gardeners, farmers, agriculturalists, and homes with pets, kitchen gardens and poultry livestock, of our Arima town and the surrounding communities.
This tendency and love for fellow humans, family, friends, and pets, had been instilled and impressed upon me in my growing-up years by my loving parents, family, neighbours, and ‘community uncles and aunts’.
Such persons as “Auntie Babsie” (Ursula Bleasdell) and “Uncle Tommy” (Thomas Bleasdell), “Pa and Ma Gomes” (Cecil and Josephine Gomes), “Papa and Mama” Look Loy (Anthony Look Loy and Callistra “Baby” Look Loy), all who were very close to my parents, played an important part in my, and so many of our Arima youths’ upbringing.
These dear parents cared for us with so much love and affection. Out of this association, the “A-Teens” Group was formed of the many teenagers in these families to involve the youths in worthwhile activities. “Uncle Sulan” and “Aunty Carmen” (Sulan and Carmen Assue), and other parents of the families of that era in my childhood, consisted of my “community uncles and aunts”.
Auntie Babsie, together with my dad, Raffick Abasali, and Cecil “Pa” Gomes, served as Councillors and Aldermen in the Arima Borough Council with Rupert Clovis as Mayor of Arima. Such was their concern for our Arima, they did all they could to look after all Arimians, not just their own families.
These nurturing parents of the families in our formative years truly touched all of our Arima young people’s lives for the better.
I felt a calling to care for others with the tremendous impact of these loving souls in my development. As I grew I was drawn more to a life of service. So I chose to be involved in social and community work.
And the various organisations I served in my hometown of Arima included the Arima Lions Club, the St Vincent de Paul Society of Santa Rosa RC Church, and the St Vincent de Paul Society of Malabar RC Church. I coordinated the Santa Rosa RC Church meals-on-wheels and food bank operations. I also served with Ma Darbreau, and with Paddy & Mayotte O Connor in their House of Light, caring for the elderly and homeless.
Projects included seeing after the elderly with home repairs, researching and finding jobs for the displaced, organising small businesses and providing job training and support services for those in need.
Under the guidance of Dr. Lloyd Ramcharan, I worked with him and briefly served in the Diabetes Association, the Historical Society, and the Memisa Home for the physically challenged.
At some point around this time in my life, I studied advertising and worked in an advertising agency in Port-of-Spain.
In 1990, I emigrated to Brooklyn, New York, USA. There I studied through correspondence schooling and taught myself the world of computers and electronic music technology. I also studied Chinese Medicine (Chinese Herbs, Acupressure) in Manhattan, NY.
In 1995 I relocated to Phoenix, Arizona, furthering my love for music and computers. It was then I discovered abstract digital art and became immediately transformed by its beauty and developed my own style. Our rich cultural background from our native Trinidad’s carnival, with its creative costumes and designs, helped to shape my artistic talents.
Although before 2007 I had begun using empowering and inspiring words with my art to encourage others, (as I was encouraged growing up), I finally launched “Empower with Art” to the public in 2009 as a form of compassionate art.
It was then an international fellow artist from Australia referred to me as “The Empowering ARTist”. So I decided to use the identity as a way to continue how and what I was raised up to do, and love – encouraging and supporting others.
I sincerely try to share my passion for art so others too can feel uplifted. In my life’s work, I strive to make my art creations the inspiration for your life to be the Masterpiece.
Also, I have built up decades of wide-ranging experiences – directing, facilitating, fundraising, and doing community outreach in social service programs. I have worked extensively with different organisations in a volunteer capacity in Arima, and internationally, wherever I visit or reside.
From 1995 to 2000, I served the community of Phoenix, Arizona through my church affiliation with Unity of Phoenix. In 2002, together with a friend George Roundy, we founded two non-profit organisations in Phoenix: Universal Resource Sharing, and Transform Hunger Alliance – to address the issue of world hunger and the sharing of resources to attend to that situation. That year, together with a core team of ten individuals, we helped raise close to $100,000 US for The Hunger Project. The Hunger Project is an organisation that empowers inhabitants in different countries in the world to be self-reliant.
I believe the success of these organisations and programs will allow us to increase opportunities for our disadvantaged through training, life skills and literacy programs as we continue to serve our communities. And that these services will have a positive effect on the social and economic development of humanity.
Being a multimedia digital artist, at any point in time, I am involved in projects such as digital art creations, graphic design, web design, web development, social media marketing, photography/music/video/film productions, computer literacy training, computer consultancy, conservation, the environment & sustainability. With my company “Empower with Art” I serve as “The Empowering Artist” – empowering a sustainable way of living together in community with others.
I share the belief with like-minded souls, that by renewing our commitment to our environment by making use of alternative energies and environmentally friendly living, we ensure a safe heritage to our coming generations.
And that we will continue to make a difference in the lives of fellow humans in our community,
With these numerous skills acquired, I have found ways to give back to others over the years. I have built websites for the alumni of the school and colleges I attended, even working with present Principals. I also created online sites for my family who live in different parts of the world so that we can remain closely connected.
In addition, I have served and supported many individuals, groups, and organizations over the years, and continue to do so with my skills as a multimedia digital artist. Whether it be web design and development, producing videos, desktop publishing, or developing an online presence in social media to promote one’s business or organisation.
At present, I reside in Sweden with my wife sharing my “Empower with Art” Creations to fund my social service programs in an art-based project.
“Empower with Art” – Hearts empowering lives.”
“Sharing awareness of a universal eco-civilization consciousness, for we are united together by the life force of our earth home we all depend on for sustainability”.
By Kazim Abasali
Kazim Abasali is a multimedia artist who enjoys creating his empowering and inspiring art, music, videos, ebooks, published articles, and websites, for himself and others. To access his artistic projects, kindly visit his website.
“Empower with Art” – Hearts empowering lives.