Visual Dhikr™
returning to remembrance

Beyond Orientalism

Samuel Huntington got it wrong, at least when it comes to art. Civilizations don't clash, but share and mutually inspire. So argues "Beyond Orientalism," an exhibition opening on July 25 at the Islamic Arts Museum Malaysia (IAMM) in Kuala Lumpur, The show examines Islamic art's impact on Western artists, highlighting how Islamic calligraphy, tile designs, and geometrical motifs pop up in the most unlikely places, from Tiffany lamps — some of which drew on 16th century Persian works — to the art of M.C. Escher, whose elaborate drawings of endless staircases and interlocking patterns were apparently inspired by Islamic designs.

Although the debt owed to Islamic art by painters like Henri Matisse and Paul Klee is well documented, Muslim influence on Western aesthetics began far earlier, says the curator of "Beyond Orientalism," Lucien de Guise. The Muslim domination of Spain between the 8th and 15th centuries enabled the transmission of advanced artistic and architectural techniques — as well as great accomplishments in music, science, philosophy and even cuisine. Until the industrial era, when interest in Islamic arts declined in the West, "Europeans were totally in awe of Islamic art," argues de Guise. "They couldn't get enough of it."

Bringing marginalized or forgotten traditions to light is something of an IAMM speciality. "Faith and Power," an exhibit on women in Islam earlier this year, unearthed the history of Muslim women as fighters, rulers and scholars. On the wall at the exhibit's close, a quote from Megawati Sukarnoputri, who in 2001 became Indonesia's first female President, read: "It appears that I am considered to be a housewife? What's wrong with that? It does not mean a housewife does not understand politics."

The museum itself, opened by the Malaysian government 10 years ago, focuses not so much on Islam's traditional heartland in the Middle East as on its Asian domains, the works of which are often overlooked in Islamic-art collections. Among the IAMM's standouts is a rare 19th century Koran, made for a Malay sultan with lashings of gold illumination. Precious, too, are the Chinese calligraphic wall scrolls with Koranic quotations — not merely because paper scrolls rarely last, but because so many were buried by fearful Muslims or destroyed by Maoists during the Cultural Revolution. Several are testimony to the fusion of Chinese and Islamic artistic traditions, bearing inscriptions that from a distance look like the traditional Chinese characters meaning "long life" but turn out to be Koranic inscriptions when viewed up close.

The IAMM is a gorgeous monument to the porous qualities of Islamic culture. With its elegant restaurant, storytelling sessions for children and calligraphy workshops, the museum is a neat expression of Islam Hadhari, or "civilizational Islam," Malaysian Prime Minister Abdullah Badawi's campaign to promote a moderate, modern version of the faith. Designed by Italian and Malaysian architects, the building is a bright, white and sleek place, with fountains, courtyards and a huge inverted gold-and-white dome hanging from the ceiling. "We wanted natural light, to make the place seem open and inviting, especially for non-Muslims," says de Guise. There, civilizations are far from clashing. Instead, they gently nestle up against one another, surprising and delighting as they do so.

By Carla Power


Tuesday, July 29, 2008 |

Louvre draws a veil over artistic neglect with bold new Islamic wing

Angelique Chrisafis in Paris

Thursday July 17, 2008


It is known as the Veil and is described by its architects as a giant glass Muslim headscarf in the heart of Paris. The former French president Jacques Chirac saw it as one way to avert a clash of civilisations in the run-up to the Iraq war. President Nicolas Sarkozy calls it the symbol of France's friendship with the Arab world.

The Louvre's bold new Islamic art wing had its first stone laid by Sarkozy yesterday , launching the museum's most daring project since IM Pei created the giant glass pyramid 20 years ago. The world's most visited museum will have Europe's biggest purpose-built exhibition space for an Islamic art collection, which France hopes will reconcile the secular republic with the world of Islamic heritage.

The €86m (£68m) project will open in 2010, creating 3,000 square metres of gallery space in one of the museum's neo-classical courtyards. Rather than cover the courtyard, a glass "luminous veil" will "float" above the ground, covering two floors. The Italian architect Mario Bellini yesterday described the undulating roof as "a headscarf blown in by the wind".

It was a pertinent image, coming soon after French citizenship was denied to a resident Moroccan woman who wears a veil. France has outlawed the headscarf and other religious symbols in public schools and yesterday Fadela Amara, a Muslim and feminist junior minister, criticised all form of veils.

The project's other architect, Rudy Ricciotti, said: "It is important for France, with a Muslim population of 5 million, to create something that speaks directly to the presence of Muslims in this country. This is a political museum in the noble sense of the term, in that the secular republic recognises all its people."

The Louvre, which registered a record 8.3 million visitors last year, boasts one of the world's most comprehensive Islamic art collections. More than 10,000 pieces range from the 7th to 19th century, featuring glasswork and ceramics, Ottoman empire art and one of the world's most important collections of carpets.

Yet most of the Islamic works have been in storage for more than 20 years, never afforded the same prominence as western exhibits. In 2003, when Chirac was setting France apart in the debate over the war in Iraq, he ordered the opening of an Islamic art department and the planning of a wing to do it justice.

Sarkozy used a speech at the Louvre to position France at the heart of geopolitics. "France wants peace, it does not want a clash of civilisations between east and west," he said.

He was accompanied by the Saudi prince Al-Waleed bin Talal, whose €17m contribution to the project is one of the biggest private cultural donations made in France. The prince, a francophile, is a major shareholder in Disneyland Paris and owns Paris's exclusive George V hotel.

Sophie Makariou, head curator of the Louvre's Islamic art department, said: "Islamic exhibitions have always been a huge success with the public."

Asked about the funding from Saudi Arabia, where the Wahabi hardline interpretation of Islam has often been blamed for the destruction of artistic and religious heritage, she said: "We have to move away from fixed ideas. In 2006, we took a show of 136 works to Saudi Arabia. There were 400,000 visitors in two months."


Thursday, July 17, 2008 |

T-shirts prove popular at IslamExpo

The Visual Dhikr t-shirt range has been a massive hit at IslamExpo this year - loads of you brought them, also check out the Khattat wearing the Visual Dhikr 'Dhikr' t-shirt while writing some beautiful khatt for people...

Check out the opening of IslamExpo 2008 - features the stand...

Wednesday, July 16, 2008 |

لوحات وتصميمات إيثار وروح العالم فى معرض اسلام اكسبو

An article by Elaph on Visual Dhikr and Iythar's work at IslamExpo

GMT 14:00:00 2008 الإثنين 14 يوليو

محمد الحمامصي: تستعد لندن الآن لأضخم معرض للثقافة الإسلامية فى أوروبا (إسلام اكسبو) الموجه أساساً لغير المسلمين للتعريف بالثقافة الإسلامية. ويشتمل المعرض الضخم على معارض فنية، عروض أزياء، حفلات غنائية، محاضرات دينية وغيرها. ويعتبر واحداّ من عدة معارض اسلامية تقام بشكل دورى فى أوروبا رداً على الإعلام المضاد للدين بشكل عام والإسلام بشكل خاص. تلقى هذه المعارض إقبالاً شديداً من المسلمين وغير المسلمين ومن الملاحظ اهتمامها الشديد بإبراز الفن الإسلامى المعاصر الغير مقلد للفنون الإسلامية القديمة وإن حمل روحها.

'Palmreading: Muhammad, Salam' by Iythar

من ضمن المشاركين فى اسلام اكسبو هذا العام المصورة المصرية إيثار، ابنة الشاعر الراحل عبد الحميد عبد الهادى حسن، وخريجة كلية الفنون الجميلة بالقاهرة. عرفت إيثار بمهارتها فى فن البورتريه وافكارها غير مطروقة، حيث تميل إلى رسم المواقف الغير مألوفة واظهار الأبعاد الخفية للأشياء كإضفاء الجوانب الشعورية على الجماد. كما تحرص على مراعاة القيم الدينية والاجتماعية فى موضوعات لوحاتها، إيماناً منها بأن الفن أداة للارتقاء، وبأن تجاهل القيم السليمة المتوارثة عبر مئات السنين فى أياً من الفنون لا يشير إلا إلى رغبة ضمنية فى التراجع فى سلم التطور الاجتماعى. ورغم أن لوحاتها ليست كلها دينية
المضمون إلا أنها تؤمن أنه يمكن اعتبار أى فن لا يتعارض مع الدين أو يعلى من قيم مخالفة لتعاليمه فناً دينياً.

وعن النهضة الفنية الإسلامية فى الغرب تقول إيثار أن الفن بشكل عام قد قام على أكتاف الدين، والفن المصرى على سبيل المثال ازدهر وعرف وقدر فى العالم كله حينما اعتمد على العقيدة- الفرعونى والقبطى والإسلامى كلٌُ سواء- فى حين لم يلق نفس التقدير حين اتخذ اتجاهاً مختلفاً. وترى إيثار أن اعتبار الدين مكبلاً للفن ومعيقاً لتطوره مدعاة للسخرية، فالفنانين القدامى اعتمدوا على الدين كإلهام بشكلٍ شبه كامل،وما الفن اليوم إلا استكمالاً لما بدأوه. تشارك إيثار فى اسلام اكسبو بعدة لوحات تصويرية وتصميمية خطية، وبرغم اشتراكها كفنانة بريطانية مسلمة وعدم تمثيلها لمصر رسمياً فإيثار لم تغفل ذكر جنسيتها المصرية.

'La ilaha il Allah' by Visual Dhikr

يشارك إيثار فى هذا المعرض زوجها الفنان البريطانى روح العالم، المعروف بتصميماته الخطية المعبرة من خلال مشروعه (الذِكر المرئى) الذى يهدف إلى إدخال ذِكر الخالق فى كل نواحى الحياة، والذى يعتبر من أول مظاهر نهضة الفن الإسلامي المعاصرفى بريطانيا. بدأ المشروع باللوحات الفنية، ثم أضيف خط تصميم للملابس والعناصر الزخرفية، والمشروع حائز على إقبال شديد بين مسلمى بريطانيا. روح العالم درس اللغة العربية والخط العربى فى مصر رغبة فى الارتقاء بفنه و تأسيس مشروعه (الذِكر المرئى) على أسس ثابتة، وقد جاءته فكرة المشروع أثناء دراسته للفنون فى كلية سانت مارتن، إذ لم تعجبه طريقة استقبال عالم الفن الغربى (والشرقى أحياناً) للفن، حيث بدا فى كثير من الأحيان أن الفنان قد أصبح أكثر أهمية من أعماله، وأن الأعمال المثيرة للجدل أو تلك التى تكسر القيم الأخلاقية هى التى ترى كفن حقيقى. لم يرد روح العالم أن تكون أعماله عنه أو عن رؤيته للعالم، ولكنه أرادها انعكاساً لإيمانه وعقيدته..لشئ أكبر وأعظم، لذا فقد ركز أعماله حول خلق الله..ذكره..وذاته سبحانه وتعالى، معطياً لنفسه نطاقاً واسعاً جداً للعمل وذلك رغم خلو مادته من الأنانية. يشترك روح العالم فى المعرض بعدة لوحات خطية تحمل اسلوبه المتفرد، يشهد الفن الإسلامى نمواً غير عادى فى الغرب خاصة أوروبا وأمريكا، فى حين يتراجع الاهتمام بالثقافة الدينية ككل فى الشرق، فهل تغيرت قبلة الفن الإسلامى؟..

GMT 14:00:00 2008 الإثنين 14 يوليو


Tuesday, July 15, 2008 |

Art at Islam Expo 2008 and more...

IslamExpo will host some great artists this year from some traditional masters to some great young British talent.

From the traditional calligraphy wing, you have the likes of Rasheed Butt and Mounir Shaa'rani - two of my favourites, amongst some other great masters of the pen!

Calligraphers’ Profiles:

Sabah Arbilli was born in Iraq in 1977 and is now a British calligrapher residing in London. From the age of 12, he began practising calligraphy, and with an engineering background realised the accuracy and geometrical forms of each letter. Being brought up in a traditional Islamic family led him to read the Holy Qur’an and was inspired by the sacred letters; he then went on to write the Qur’an twice and is currently writing the third one. He has gained recognition for the art of Calligraphy by running workshops in different cities in the U.K since 2000. He takes great pleasure in explaining the beauty of this art and the preciseness of every stroke for each letter. He has participated in many international exhibitions abroad and won on many different levels. His works are collected throughout the world.

Currently studying a Masters Degree at the Princes School of Traditional Arts has opened another direction where he is using various textures and techniques.

Rasheed Butt
of Islamabad, Pakistan, picked up his life's vocation in 1961. Since then he has devoted his everything to Islamic calligraphy. His work in many kinds of medium are displayed at Mecca Gate, Mecca, the Senate of Pakistan, the Shah Faisal Mosque in Islamabad and numerous other places. Rasheed Butt's versatility in various kinds of khatt (Arabic calligraphic scripts) is established in the Muslim world - and beyond: the famous Christie's had put up his work for auction, a distinction not given to any living Muslim calligrapher. The calligraphic inscriptions of Mr. Rasheed Butt fall into four catgories: Quranic, Hadith (sayings of Prophet Muhammad peace be upon him), traditional invocations, and poetry- both Arabic and Persian. He was also the first person in Pakistan to use illuminations in his work. Rasheed Butt has had several one-man exhibitions, and participated in exhibitions in Pakistan and overseas. He has received many awards including the Pride of Performance (Highest Civil Award of the Government of Pakistan) in Arts and Culture.

Haji Noor Deen
is a Chinese eminent master of Arabic calligraphy. Born in 1963 in eastern China's Shandong Province, Haji Noor Deen lectures on the art of Arabic calligraphy at the Islamic College in Zhen Zhou, where he has also established a correspondence course to enable students from all areas of China to study Arabic calligraphy. In addition, he researches Islamic culture at the Henan Academy of Sciences. In 1997, Haji Noor Deen was the first Chinese Muslim to be awarded the Egyptian Certificate of Arabic Calligraphy and to be admitted as a member of the Association of Egyptian Calligraphy. Haji Noor Deen's extraordinary mastery and genius in the art of Arabic calligraphy along with his unique ability to spectacularly deliver his craft to an audience has brought him lecture and workshop invitations from some of the most renowned and prestigious institutions around the world. The display of his beautiful artwork was a tribute to the unification of the Arabic and Chinese calligraphic tradition.

Mounir El-Shaarani
is a calligrapher, designer and writer, living and working in Cairo, Egypt. Born in Syria and graduated from the Faculty of Fine Arts in Damascus (1977). He studied under the great Syrian calligrapher, Badawi Al Dirany. He works as a calligrapher and book designer, since 1968. He has designed several custom typefaces that were used on his book covers and personal work. His work has been exhibited internationally; in Syria, Jordan, Lebanon, Egypt, Tunis, Algeria, Morocco, Bahrain, Abu Dhabi, Switzerland, France, Germany, Belgium, Italy, Yugoslavia, India, England and the USA. He is highly regarded internationally for introducing uniquely innovative calligraphic styles and for taking his inspiration from everything around him, old and new. He has emerged at the forefront of contemporary artists, distinguishing his unique character from other artists. He is recreating a genuine art that is almost suffocated by the tides of modernism.

Soraya Syed
Sanders was born and raised in London. Of mixed Pakistani-French origin, Soraya returned to the UK after completing her calligraphy apprenticeship in Istanbul. The art of Islamic penmanship is a bridge between the spiritual and material, the visual and the verbal. It is a living tradition that has the capacity for self-renewal enabling Soraya to adopt a contemporary approach while remaining true to her artistic heritage and the many years of study linking her to the calligraphy masters of the past. Her written and visual work has been published and exhibited worldwide. She read Arabic and History of Art & Archaeology at The School of Oriental and African Studies, and in 2001 graduated from the Masters programme in Visual Islamic and Traditional Arts at The Prince’s School of Traditional Arts, London. She now resides in west London with her husband and baby daughter.

Eytan Tiryaki
was born in Ordu, Turkey, in 1961.She graduated from Ankara University’s Theology Faculty with a Masters degree in 1983. She started her art studies in her school days, and pursued them in Istanbul. She started to take calligraphy lessons from master calligrapher Hasan Çelebi in 1983, and obtained her Ijaza- certificate which described her as “the first woman of calligraphy”. She started to study Tezhip (Turkish-İslamic Decorative illumination art) in 1984, obtaining her certificate of Tezhip from Prof. Dr. Çiçek Derman in 1986. She has participated in many exhibitions in Turkey and abroad. Eytan has studied English and Arabic. After working as a teacher in Qur’an courses under Üsküdar and Ümraniye Department of Religious Affairs, she retired in 2004. She continues to teach calligraphy and illuniation courses, and has organised an exhibition with her students in Altunizade Cultural Centre in 2004.

British Muslim Art Gallery Artists’ Profiles

IslamExpo will also showcase the works of some of the leading British Muslim talent that is shaping the Western Islamic Art scene, some are established and others are young and new - but ALL with great work...

Adam Williamson
is a practicing artist in many mediums. He has been commissioned by HRH the Prince of Wales, Magdalen College, Oxford University, The Foreign Office in Vienna, The Pakistan Embassy, St. Ethelberger’s (Bishopsgate, London) currently undertaking a large piece for the Shakespeare’s Globe London. Adam has traveled around the globe working with artists on Mount Athos, Greece, in France, Spain, Morocco and Turkey. He was the subject of a documentary when he traveled to Malaysia and Indonesia looking at the woodcarving in that area. He is a sessional lecturer at Birkbeck College, and has taught in schools and museums across London. Following a placement as artist in residence at the Prince’s Foundation, Adam now works from his studio in Hackney wick.

Amina Malik
is an artist inspired by a message of Peace, encouraged and motivated by her family. Drawn by the beauty of Arabic and the freedom of expression in creativity and the common desire for Peace – not just the worldly kind but the internal (Heart/Sanity) kind, her paintings are connected to that place of felicity - an expression of conviction - a mirror of reflection, a part of sanity’s equilibrium. She hopes that by sharing her paintings with the world, she can stir feelings of something, somewhere inside, be it the heart or the mind, but hopefully the soul.

Asia Alfasi
is a Libyan-British manga-influenced comic writer and artist. Her works focus around a synthesis of her exposure to Islamic, Libyan, British and Japanese influences. She first gained notoriety when she was the first female to participate in and win the Hi8us Midlands Stripsearch competition with a portfolio based around her character Monir. Since she first started creating comics professionally in 2003, she has released two major publications. JinNarration, was published in the Mammoth Book of Best New Manga, an anthology of works by up-and-coming young British comic artists. Her short semi-autobiographical story, The non-savvy non-commuter, was displayed on the walls of Piccadilly Circus as part of Thin Cities, the celebration of the 100th anniversary of the station's opening. Her first individually-published graphic novel, the two-volume "Native Narratives", will detail the adventures of a young Muslim girl and the events of her life in both Libya and Scotland. It is due to be released by Bloomsbury in September 2008.

Fathema Wahid
is a Printed textiles designer/maker who likes to create printed textiles that are unique and one-off designs. Her collection ranges from fashion wear, such as scarves and wraps to soft furnishing. The medium that she works with mainly is light-weight and transparent silks. The colours she creates for the cloth and the design itself are colours that she has either been working on from something she has seen and wants to re-create in her own way, or simply from her sub-consciousness. Her colour palette ranges from bright, fresh colours to subtle, natural hues. Her inspiration for design come from the delicate but strong structure of natural forms that surround us in the environment that we live in. However it is the colour that determines the design on the cloth.

Halima Cassell
Born in 1975 in Pakistan, brought up in Manchester and now living in Blackburn, Lancashire, Halima’s varied, multi-cultural background is tangibly present in her work. Halima’s natural creativity was nurtured to fruition through an art-based education: an undergraduate degree in 1997 and an MA in 2002. Fusing her Asian roots with a fascination for African pattern work and a passion for architectural geometry, Halima’s work is intense yet playful, structured yet creative; substantial yet dynamic and invariably compelling in its originality. Combining strong geometric elements with recurrent patterns and architectural principles, Halima’s work utilises definite lines and dramatic angles in an attempt to manifest the universal language of number and create an unsettling sense of movement.To achieve these effects she uses heavily grogged clay that allows her to work on a large scale and utilise relatively thick surfaces to carve to the desired depth.

Iythar -
A graduate of the Faculty of Fine Arts in Cairo, Iythar is a young artist residing in the UK and works in a wide variety of mediums and forms. As a fine artist, Iythar likes to explore surrealist, abstract and conceptual painting approaches, she also works intricately with calligraphy with her own stylistic scripts. She commonly uses oil on wood, but does not restrict herself to any particular medium or method of painting. Often she is trying to bring forth stories, moments in time or to capture a memory or feeling. She is also highly noted for her exceptional portraiture renditions from her past exhibitions. Her calligraphic work to date depicts not only a scriptural exuberance in a visual way, but also defines the meaning of the Arabic in a conceptual manner.
Her paintings are uniquely tied to her belief, spirituality and the heightened awareness of life and the meaning of struggle.

Lateefa Spiker
Lateefa Spiker, 26, was brought up by parents who converted to Islam. She has lived in Texas, Granada, New Mexico, Jordon, Cairo and Morocco, and now works from her studio in East London. From a young age her works where inspired by these experiences observing scenes of extraordinary natural beauty, diverse cultures and architectural wonders. Lateefa’s work is of great significance today, she is well placed to view the clash of civilizations on the world stage, having spent her life observing the differences and similarities between her religion and her cultural roots, feeling first-hand the ache of non-identity. The struggle to find her place within an often-contradictory environment triggered her interest in our true nature, stripped of culture and of individuality. Lateefa’s current works employ primordial imagery in its barest of forms.

Mohammed Ali
, a 29 year old British-born Muslim, takes his form of art from the streets to public exhibitions, bringing a positive twist to the oft-used term, ‘clash of civilisations’. He takes his inspiration from the modern urban-art of graffiti and weaves it together with the grace and eloquence of Islamic Arabic calligraphy. It results in a form dubbed as ‘Urban Spiritual Art’. Much of Mohammed’s work depicts universal principles such as Peace, Knowledge and Patience, concepts which are appreciated by people of all faiths and cultures. Mohammed’s work is becoming ever-more popular in this time where one’s spiritual direction is increasingly under the spotlight. Mohammed Ali has recently completed a tour of the USA, painting his unique "spiritual murals" across the three cities, New York, Chicago and Boston.

Rehan Jamil
Rehan began his photographic career at the age of 17 taking photographs for the local newspaper, The East End Enterprise. He has since continued as a freelance photographer providing editorial images to a number of large urban regeneration programmes in London.Rehan describes himself as a social documentary photographer who is primarily concerned with communities in transition.Work by Rehan has been included in the group exhibition Common Ground (2003) commissioned by The British Council the images explore Muslim identity in the UK. His work was also included in both the Changing Faces 02 exhibition (2003) and the Sony Playstation, Beautiful Script exhibition (2005). More recently Rehan was commissioned to produce the Peace by Piece exhibition for Southwark Council. Rehan is currently working on exhibiting ‘The East End of Islam’ a black and white photographic documentary capturing the spirit of the Muslim Community in Tower Hamlets, London.

Rezia Wahid MBE
Rezia’s work is a celebration of life, beauty, peace, tranquility, air, and light, and seeks to build bridges with the simplicity of fibres, colours, techniques and feelings which are felt within her when she is amongst the natural beauty of this earth – which can also be a form of escaping the harsh and troubled issues of the world around us. Her ultimate aim is for people to escape into a beautiful dream, connect with natural light and the feeling of peace. Rezia designs the cloths in order for them to hang in space so that ‘Light’ can travel through and create an atmosphere of tranquility. It can be enjoyed by walking around and looking through the different densities of the warp. At the same time she would like her work to be versatile and leave them to be free with the unfinished edge- she wants them to have a purpose but not be bound to it.

Ruh al-‘Alam
(Visual Dhikr) - A graduate of Central Saint Martin’s College of Art & Design, Ruh began combining his graphic design knowledge with painting to develop a fusion of Islamic and contemporary art that became popular under the guise ‘Visual Dhikr’. As a student of traditional Arabic calligraphy, he runs Visual Dhikr, a personal art project dedicated to the constant remembrance of Allah (God). Working in paint, fashion, video, sculpture and digital media, Ruh hopes to create unique visual art that encourages a new revival in the Islamic art world. He takes inspiration from the rich Islamic heritage of literature, the Qur’an and the Prophetic message, often working with intricate calligraphy, textures and patterns.
He has exhibited in the UK and abroad and has been commissions by local and international clients, including Sony and Outlandish to produce unique artwork. His work is also commonly found transferred onto clothing, art prints, accessories and home décor.

Ruqqia Badran
Ruqqia Badran is a self taught textile artist based in the Northwest of England. She uses dyed raw silk which she delicately hand embroiders and embellishes in an Islamic style using mainly geometric patterns reflecting the plurality of her cultural heritage; Islamic, South Asian, northwestern England and Syrian. She produces large-scale wall hangings that contrast and compliment the small intricate geometric patterns and beading her works are made up of. Her artworks are unified by her use of colour, reflecting beauty and harmony. Badran’s artworks are mainly concerned with aesthetic value and aim to highlight the sophistication of Islam and its identity. Ruqqia Badran has independently exhibited throughout the Northwest. Her last solo exhibition took place in 2007 at the Whitworth Art Gallery in Manchester. She continues to contribute to Islamic art through textiles and intends to expand into Islamic inspired interior design in the near future.

Vaseem Mohammed
Growing up in the East End, Vaseem has always been interested in the shapes, textures and atmospheres of his urban childhood. After access courses in Art & Design, Graphics and Creative Computing & Illustration, he freelanced in graphic design and furniture renovation with Islamic inspired decoration, through which he found his niche in fine art, his field for the past 11 years. After 4 years at Spitalfields market in east London, Vaseem opened his own gallery in the creative hub of Cheshire Street E1, and continues to regularly exhibit his work.

Vaseem’s most distinctive feature appears to be his childhood appreciation of form, colour, and texture. Additionally, there appears to be a recurring symbolism of juxtaposition- archaic eastern architecture and Islamic calligraphy from past eras, confronts modernist, western abstract style of painting; the rich beauty of the natural world through vibrant opalescent colours and awing space, contrasted against the deterioration and irresponsibility of humanity’s world.

The event has so much more than art, theatre, entertainment and great topical lectures.

This is an event NOT to be missed, rarely do we get the chance to have so many young and established artists into one place, showcasing the growing talent from our community. Be proud and show your support for our artists, Muslim businesses and the celebration of our beautiful heritage - visit IslamExpo this weekend...

11-14 July '08
Olympia, London

Wednesday, July 09, 2008 |