Decolonise not Diversify DIY Exhibition

Here are some quick images from my phone of the exhibition (still sorting through the ones the photographer has sent us, and they're amazing, but I just couldn't wait! Sorrynotsorry)

We were really pleased to feature: Melanie Cervantes, Sukina Pilgrim, Isra Butt, Aisha Zamir, Sanaa Mirza, Sabiha Mahmoud, Rumina Khanom, Sumaya Kassim, and Jade Foster amongst others. 

Apologies for the lack of detail, links and the pithiness of this post. I just needed to get something up before the end of the week whilst I catch up on everything else that I'm behind on. And I really wanted to share some of the magic with you. I'll edit this once I've gone through the official photos. Time to feast your eyes now!




Decolonise not Diversify Festival and Exhibition

Creative Callout for Decolonial DIY Exhibition

We’re sitting around the Impact Hub Bham with our laptops and notebooks, phones a buzzing and sorting out speakers and timings and all sorts of programming for the 8th of October. We are very nearly there. Both in terms of the actual day approaching and having our line ups finalised. And in terms of the conversations we want to have in spaces in the city, and making it happen.

And in terms of our programme for the day, we are already over capacity, and trying to sort out who is doing what and when. We’ve had people approaching us to pitch sessions, and have had to decline as we’re just out of time on the day. (But don’t worry we’re banking on those ideas for future events) Today we were doing this: Who is talking about what at what time and in which space, and sorting out publicity and food, and organising the DIY Exhibition and Creative Callout and going through entries, and arranging the mini market place and breaking out into Destiny’s Child songs when it all got a bit much.

For me personally, curating the creative callout and DIY Exhibition space is really something to be excited about. It is the first opportunity I’ve had to do this, and am doing it alongside a lovely artistic soul. The feeling of creating opportunities for yourselves and each other is a really good one. And to exhibit artists and visual creatives’ work, principally from those who identify as people of colour (but the callout is open to all) is more of an honour than anything. Whether they are well known in their fields or not, whether the contributors add the exhibition to their portfolios or not, their work will be seen by lots of people, and present in a place where some radical ideas are being discussed, and can only contribute to and spark off those conversations in the most positive and beautiful way. And the DIY nature of the exhibition (you’ll understand what we mean when you see it) may be by default due to a lack of funding, but it also lends to what we’re about; defying barriers by creating and curating spaces for ourselves, reclaiming our narrative, and what that narrative means to us.

But it’s not just about the day, but the reasons behind the different sessions. It’s basically us having the conversations we’ve always wanted to have in spaces in the city, with people who know what they’re talking about, be it through the seeking of knowledge as well lived experience and exploration. Coming to real terms with what decoloniality is and what it means to us here in the UK in 2016, confronting all the subtleties and facets of racism and white supremacy. We’ll be tackling them through the mediums of the arts, faith, inter community relations, academia, film, bath bombs, zine making and a lot more. We’ll be asking difficult questions, and not necessarily finding the right answers. We’ll be making and talking, participating and doing, sharing and buying and selling.

The subject matters of the sessions may seem exclusive, but that the point; it’s about curating spaces and giving stages to people and ideas who don’t get listened to on mainstream platforms. And we’re not saying that we as a collective are mainstream in any way, except that like all people of colour, we live in the same world as our peers who enjoy privileges that we don’t, be they historical legacies or contextual realities. We are however, as always, open to anyone who wants to attend, listen, learn, and be there. There are those we know need to be there, and we’re trying to reach them. So if you do know them, please do share this.

So we’re trying. We’re trying something out for the first time, and we don’t know what will happen. Our intention isn’t just to have an event for the sake of it. We’re hoping for future good things; connections and networks, growth and learning. There will be provocations, and I’ll be honest and say I’m a bit nervous, wondering how they’ll pan out.  But we’re excited. And you should be too. 


More about us here, more info about the 8th and tickets here. Tonight is the last chance to send us your entries for the Creative Callout

Mughal Designs and Block Printing, Alchemy at Southbank

Being invited to teach at a venue as well-known as the Southbank Centre was not something I thought would happen anytime soon. However, just last weekend, along with one of my art buddies and partners in crime Tasleema Alam, founder of Traditional Ateliers, we were invited to deliver an afternoon of workshops which would form part of the Alchemy festival 2016.

The Alchemy festival is, as on the Southbank website, ‘a vibrant array of performances, workshops and exhibitions – and a delicious food market. The festival celebrates the rich cultural relationship between the UK and the Indian subcontinent, and explores the cultural influences generated by our shared history.’ But which version of that shared history?   

Whilst this is all very exciting, and a celebration of any BAME culture especially important, it did lead me to question the content and programming of the festival. Music, theatre, literature, art, fashion and so on, are all important and equally valid, but at the same time, what about our history, heritage, our suffering under a brutal occupation and colonialism, what led to the bloody partition and struggle for independence. And what of the pre-colonial civilisations of the sub-continent, are their advancements in art, architecture and culture to be credited and celebrated. Or was it just a preapproved and palatable handpicked selection of the aspects most colourful and lively, you know, the bits we all like. Pre-packaged to satiate the call for diversity in mainstream spaces.

It also led me to question how important my presence would be in such a space. I was being given the opportunity, one many would love to have, to deliver a workshop on something I love and am passionate about. Something that has been appropriated and even ignored in western art history.  How much could I, within an afternoon, decolonise the Alchemy festival. Sounds funny doesn’t it! But it wasn’t just a case of how much, but if it would be possible at all within a space that has an undoubtedly interesting and thought provoking set of events, but is also part of the established art and culture scene of London and the UK.

Mughal designs and block printing as a title was quite self-explanatory. It was an introduction to, and a celebration of the history, heritage, art, architecture and culture of the precolonial India.  All in an afternoon! I started off by introducing some images and talking about some of the features most common in Mughal, and therefore Islamic, art and architecture. Focussing on architecture, we discussed the style and embellishment of renowned buildings such as the Jama Mosque in Delhi, Humayun’s Tomb and the Taj Mahal in Agra. Picking out common elements that feature in them all, and are also ubiquitous in Islamic art and architecture across the world, they provided the initial inspiration for the later part of the workshop. We also discussed the symbolic and sacred significance of particular patterns and motifs.

We weren’t sure how many participants to expect, we thought perhaps 10, and were prepared for 15. So delivering to 25-30 with up to 10-15 more people observing was a bit of a surprise, but a pleasant one! Thankfully we had just enough equipment and materials to cover everyone, and following step by step explanations, all the participants drew a perfectly proportional 8 pointed star using just a compass and ruler. This was followed by adding curved lines within the star, which could be inspired by flowers, leaves, natural forms, domes and arches. Each participant created their own individual motif, and it was amazing to see the range of designs deriving from the same principles of geometry and rotational symmetry. Adding colour then took the designs a step further, and enhanced the individual flair and characteristics of each motif.

Some participants were ready to start carving their block prints, which is when Tasleema’s expertise came into effect. 

Tasleema introduced the tradition of wood block printing, which originated in China and has been used to decorate and print on fabrics for many centuries.  She took us through the process of traditional carving of the wood blocks, and also the dyes used to print on fabrics. Tasleema  also took the participants through another method of designing motifs, using the principles of reflectional symmetry, and with her expert guidance and examples, the participants were able to come up with new (or develop their original) motifs in a short space of time.

As we were constrained by both time and materials, and in the case of wood carving expertise also, our more contemporary take involved carving small blocks of lino. The participants traced their designs onto the lino, and decided to carve out selections of the design, focusing on positive and negative spaces. Tasleema then demonstrated the printing process, from mixing up the dyes to actually printing. Participants were then able to print using their own carved lino blocks, or use the wide range of hand carved wood blocks that Tasleema brought with her from Bangladesh.

Monochrome and bright and colourful, floral and geometric, rotational and reflectional, inspired by Mughal design and the motifs found in south Asian textiles, the results were fantastic! We received really positive feedback from all of the participants and people observing, and ended up clearing away quite a bit later than planned! None of this would have been possible without the presence of Nyeema Yasin and Shama Kun, who were not only a great help during the workshops, but are also amazing textile artists in their own right.

Nyeema designs the most delicate and beautiful pashminas, which are handmade and hand embroidered in Nepal. Real pashminas which are woven from silk and actual pashmina – mountain goat hair. A rainbow box of colours and hand painted silk ties formed part of a really lovely collection. Shama had with her on display a handmade, hand woven jute dress, which is like nothing I’ve seen before. Beautifully designed and made, it will be on display at the Rich Mix in London soon, so do make sure to check it out.



Persian Miniature Painting - Trees and Flowers

Last week I attended a course at PSTA focused on painting trees and flowers in the Persian miniature style. Partly because its been a while since I painted anything and feel I need the practice, and partly as a treat for myself, because why not hey! 

The course was taught by Farkhondeh Ahmadzadeh, an extremely talented artist and all round lovely person, and with focus on two of my favourite things in this world, it was great timing as all the trees were in full blossom, and inspiration was physically growing around us. Held at PSTA as part of their Open Programme, it felt like I was back at uni, back in class during the first year of my MA! But this time with more confidence and more self assurance. 

The course opened with a presentation introducing the genre and style of painting, and the principles of nature in traditional Persian miniatures. The depiction of the natural world is there to remind the reader (as these paintings would form mart of the illustrations and illuminations of manuscripts)  that there is a paradise. The representation of flowers, plants, trees and fruit, whilst inspired by the world around us, have an other worldly quality, and an almost fantastical feeling about them. The vegetation doesn't have to be related, for example it is perfectly acceptable to have some spring blossom neighbouring an autumnal tree. Its about fantasy and paradise, and your fantasy and your paradise, all whilst remaining somewhat loyal to the inspiration.  

Likewise, proportions and perspective are given the same treatment. Persian miniatures are always painted in the plain/flat perspective, and are never realistic or dimensional. The reason for this is because God, or The Source, has no dimensions, and is limitless. Therefore the less dimensions we have, the closer we are to The Source. The perspective, proportions and forms within the painting could also be symbolic, emphasising a particular part of the narrative or message of the story. 

The painting process itself starts off with preparing the paper. It is sized with hollyhock flower (purple or white) and sometimes egg white, and then burnished. This fills the pores in the paper and allows the pigments to sit on the surface and not be absorbed. Once dry it is stained so give the ground some warmth and depth. This could be done using the water from boiled pomegranate skins, tea, saff flower, and many more, and the paper is burnished again. 

Pigments are ground from, depending on the colour, rocks and minerals, earth, plants, soot, and even animal parts. Brushes are made from the softest kitten hair (without harming the kitten) as they hold the pigment and are of the right length. Once the design and composition has been decided on, it is drawn up and traced onto tracing paper, which is retraced or burnished onto the paper to be painted. 

The painting then begins, and colour is applied in layers. We start off with the background block colour, and once dry, add in the small details. This is done with a dry brush technique, and the rendering entices a play with light and shade. In Farsi this is called the pardakht technique. A small area can take many hours to render, so patience and practice really is a virtue! 

Here you can see some pictures of my progress (and more on my Instagram). I'm going to try my best to finish this painting when I get some quiet time. Painting all those tiny leaves and petals may seem tedious, but with the right mindset, can turn into quite  meditative process. Its something that requires a lot of concentration and being in the moment. So all these colouring books and mindfulness stuff...yep the Persians have been doing that for centuries! 

Art Against the Grain

I still can't believe that I was lucky enough to be part of the team that organised and delivered this kick ass event. And the repercussions are still positively flowing though us! (Yes it was over a month ago...yes I am only just catching up on my blog posts now...yes I'm about to get emotional...) 

Australian spoken word artist Sukhjit Kaur was touring the UK, and we were lucky to host her here at Impact Hub Birmingham. Sukhjit speaks about faith, femininity and everything in between, and kicked up quite a storm with her performance at the semi finals of Australia's Got Talent.  What was planned as a night of awesome poetry, art and discussion turned into something that was just a bit magical. I'm going to get quite gushy here and to be honest I don't even care. 

The night was hosted by the fabulous Immy Kaur, and first to grace the stage was some home-grown local talent, whose words and voices managed to reach down withing the audience's gut and cause some pleasant know, the kind that meets a recognition somewhere way back in your consciousness. Aliyah Holder, Aliyah Denton, Amerah Saleh, and Lexia Thomlinson sufficiently rocked the stage and their sets to a full house. 

The art work of super talented Louise Byng and myself graced the backdrop of the stage, and merchandise was available to purchase from the amazing Momhead (do check them out, they are way more than just an accessories and clothing company.) 

Sukhjit's poetry performance, and outright comedy, had us all laughing, crying, and then laughing, and then crying.. you get the idea. Her performance, and presence on stage was a blessing in itself, and lead us into a realm of thoughtfulness and panel discussion that again took things to another level. (and one I had to sit on stage for and participate in, eeek.) 

With questions and answers from the host, the audience and panel members, we covered decoloniality, art, faith, being female, being of colour, being artists. We spoke about stories, our narratives, reclaiming that narrative, and living our art, and how we've navigated ambitions and dreams. We delved into our experience of parents and parenting, being daughters, our thoughts on the future, the past, our communities, the diaspora and some home truths. And probably more.

For me personally, having the opportunity to speak for the first time about something that I am so passionate about, and have such warm receptive and captive audience, was an experience too valuable. Yet am so grateful for that space and time in which to contribute and be myself. The evening was inspiring and challenging on so many levels, and brought home the possibilities of what can happen with a bit of faith and female magic interwoven with some badassery. Just amazing!

You can check Instagram and twitter #againstthegrain for reactions from the audience, but to me it felt like honey. Or chocolate. Or salted caramel. And yes, now we're all hungry for more. Stay tuned to social media for the next Art Against the Grain event. 

(Flyer by Daniel Blyden and photos by Chris Sadler)

Social Exchange

I was really fortunate to have a space at Social Exchange organised by Beatfreeks. Social Exchange is, in their own words, 'An explosive and immersive festival and creative marketplace to share and celebrate youth culture and social action across the West Midlands and beyond.'  A day filled to brim with performances, talks, masterclasses, workshops and surgeries. 

My stall was in the creative marketplace, and I was for the first time, and as an experiment for my designs, selling tshirts, notebooks and tote bags. Greeting cards which I had made and sold before were also available to purchase. All the products are designed and hand printed by yours truly, (and the notebooks by my sometime partner in crime Isra Butt). The tshirts and totebags are made from organic cotton and ethically sourced, and I still have a few left. Send me an email if you'd like to buy one or know more! 

An Introduction to the Practice, Methods and Materials of Islamic Calligraphy with Soraya Syed

Even though I have an MA in Visual Islamic Traditional Art, I've never had the opportunity to study Arabic calligraphy. I've managed to do a few day and afternoon courses here and there, but they were too few far between. 

So as a self elected professional development venture (read; treating myself) I eagerly signed up for a course in Introduction to Islamic Calligraphy with the super talented Soraya Syed. Soraya has been practicing calligraphy for about 20 years, and has an ijaza from a calligraphy master in Istanbul, Turkey. As well as celebrating the traditional art form, Soraya is also innovative and exploratory in her practice, and has launched the Nuqta app, collating images of calligraphy from around the world. 

So I'll be honest, I've always found calligraphy particularly difficult. Even in the past, I've never managed to get my letter shapes right, or to the correct measurement, even though I know that I can write beautifully otherwise. It is somewhat strange that the native tongue of my fingers is the Roman script. But, I want to learn, and to practice, and to give it a go. So I did! I told myself at the beginning of the week that no matter what, I will remain positive. I will not feel intimidated by the other people around me, and they've been doing it for years so that wouldn't even make sense anyways. I'm going to try, and remain positive and happy, and enjoy it. And what happened? I absolutely loved it. So this week was much more than a lesson on writing beautifully, it also helped me tame my mind games with myself. Now I just have to keep it up! 

After an introduction to the history and heritage of Islamic calligraphy, (and if you know me for the geek that I am, this had me hooked) we cut our won reed pens (the qalam) and prepared our qalam, silk, and ink. We began with the riq'a script, which is the simplest and traditionally used for standardised official documents. writing out each letter again and again did make me feel like a little child again, but even that innocence was liberating. We would write things out, and Soraya would correct our work and how us where we had gone wrong and how to improve.

After a couple of days we were introduced to the thuluth script, which is one of the most beautiful, and often used in Ottoman Arabic calligraphy. When learning this script, students don't start off with the alphabet, but instead the dua Rabbi Yassir.. (O Lord, make this easy for me..) Watching Soraya write it out for us individually (cheese alert) and demonstrating the dots and measurements, and their beauty, made me feel like I was falling in love, and falling hard. Also, practicing our letters and getting into a contemplative and meditative state only helped me ease up on myself, and my hands flow more freely. 

During the course, we were also really fortunate to be visited by world famous master calligrapher from Pakistan, Rasheed Butt today. He told stories, gave us some laughs, and also lots of positivity, encouragement and reflection, and even his duas and blessings. He's having some eyesight problems at the moment, but still wrote a beautiful basmalla out for us.

Feeling grateful and replenished. Now to keep up the practice..! A good project for Ramadan maybe..? 

Haft Paykar by Farkhondeh Ahmedzadeh

Farkhondeh is not only a crazily talented painter, but also a beautiful person and incredibly kind soul. Knowing her personally as a friend and as a teacher made seeing an exhibition of her work even more of a serene experience. 

Here she fluidly combines two of my loves in life - art, in the traditional Persian miniature style, and poetry. Her paintings explore the geometric and floral patterns found in traditional Persian art, architecture and manuscript illumination, the patterns unfold like a story being told. Farkhondeh's depictions of Haft Paykar, 'The Seven Beauties' by Nizami, travels though the symbolic and metaphorical, as well as the layers of linguistics in the poetry. 

The exhibition took place at PSTA in March (yes I am just catching up on my blogging now!) but I think Farkhondeh may have some catalogues, contact her via her website to find out more. My pictures don't do the work justice (avoiding reflections at funny angles), but here you are. Enjoy!

Kids' Islamic Geometry and Printing Course

The Easter holiday saw the first collaboration bweteen myself and Henrietta Szovati, a personal and professional development coach at Barefoot Institute

I had a class of children age 7-12, and delivered a series of workshops which included learning about Islamic geometry, Islamic architecture from around the world, geometry in nature and drawing floral motifs. Being in the mosque itself was great as it meant we could look at the actual interior architecture and design of the building, and discuss the patterns that adorned the mihrab, minbar, and main prayer hall space.  We then moved on to designing, and each of the children designed their own patterns and motifs. These were then carved onto polystyrene blocks, and used to print the childrens' own travel prayer mats. And what fantastic results! 

Meanwhile, Henrietta ran sessions with the parents, which involved in depth discussions of creativity, parenting, left and right brain functions and neuroscience and heart centered education. 

It was the first time that we ran a course like this, but the feedback was so positive that we are definitely looking to run it again, and try out lots of new and wonderful approaches to heartsmart education. 

Some comments from the participants:

"This class was brilliant and I loved it. I also enjoyed learning how to draw patterns." Umaima, age 7.
"Excellent I loved it and I hope you come to Norwich." Iman, age 11
"I learned about printing and, using a compass and how to make it Islamic art easy." Mustafa, age 10



Where The Shadows Are So Deep, Imran Qureshi

Commissioned especially by the Barbican centre o produce this body of work, Imran Qureshi manages to hit a few deep nerves, but does so beautifully. 

Working in the painting tradition of the Mughal court, Qureshi manages to subvert the style, yet remain faithful to the ideals. His work here however, broke me. Qureshi plays with technique and presentation, and explores the darker elements of our effects on others. The paintings, both in the frames and on the floor and walls, are as heartbreaking and devastating as they are stunningly beautiful. Perhaps like human beings themselves. 

I'm only going to share a few images. If you get to go, and I highly recommend that you do, let me know what you think, an how it made you feel. 

Painting the Modern Garden: Monet to Matisse

This exhibition, currently on at the RA in London, is the kind of exhibition that will make your heart sing and your eyes pop and your lungs gasp, all in a really good way! Artists and creatives have always been inspired by nature, and always will be, and whilst perfectly manicured gardens may not always do it for the contemporary painter, these depictions most definitely will.  

I've been in love with Monet's work since I was taken to an exhibition of his paintings as a child. The textured blobs up close turned into heavenly scenes from far away, and if I could transport myself into them, I would.  The exhibition also treats us to works by Renoir, Cezanne, Pisarro, Manet, Sargent, Kandinsky, Van Gogh, Matisse, Klimt and Klee. All amazing, and all the colours and shapes and forms and artists' stories of nature are like a reward your're not quite sure what you've done to deserve. Monet's triptych though...

(p.s - no photos allowed in the exhibition, but these are a few that I took before I realised that. Honest!)  

Islamic Manuscripts with The Mingana Collection at University of Birmingham

The Mingana Collection, based at the University of Birmingham, which is home to the 'Birmingham Quran' also houses an amazing collection of Islamic manuscripts. An outreach programme organised by the university commissioned me to deliver some workshops as part of a larger manuscript project with local women's community groups, inspired by the manuscripts in the Mingana Collection. 

For me personally, I couldn't be more excited! Working on this project was like a wonderful dream, delving into and exploring antique manuscripts from places like Iran and the Arabian peninsula, adorned with hand painted illumination, gilding, and calligraphy. After a tour of the archives, the manuscripts we looked closely at included a handwritten traveller's Quran, a book on the sayings of Imam Ali, and a book of Rumi's poetry. 

These manuscripts provided the inspiration for some illumination that the participants would use in their own handmade books. We started off by introducing Islamic art and architecture, and looking at Islamic book art, including how they are made and the tradition of manuscripts. We learnt how to draw a basic geometric pattern, and in the second session, looked at floral motifs and the shamsa design. The participants then drew their own floral motifs, and designed their frontispieces, which were painted in very diligently and carefully painted. There were some excellent results, especially considering that many of the participants hadn't used a compass before, and some not since they were children at school. History, heritage, culture, art, design, manuscripts, we had just about covered it all!

From North India to Northfield

The end of March saw the culmination of a three month project that took place across Northfield in South Birmingham. In conjunction with Sampad and Northfield Arts Forum, I was commissioned to run a series of workshops across Northfield, with the aim of creating something that was directly from the local community, and something that could be used and displayed at community events.

The brief was based on Phulkari, a traditional north Indian embroidery technique, and the project North India to Northfield was born! Phulkari is a type of hand stitching that features floral as well as geometric designs, and takes inspiration from the flora and fauna of the local environment. When working with different groups across Northfield, which included an OAP carers group, knitting groups, a children's youth club, eco centre attendees and a women's refuge group among others, as well as drop in sessions at NAF Cafe, the inspiration remained the same; the local environment, the start of spring, and pattern making with different materials and styles.

Each participant of each group contributed at least one or two patches, and each patch has become part of an expertly sewn together quilted hanging (not by me). Techniques included stenciling, applique, block printing, fabric painting and embroidery. As well as working with members of the community to produce a range of textile art, the most wonderful thing was meeting so many wonderful people, who all work hard and contribute to the local area in their own positive and unique way. 

Indian Arts Day at Cropthorne Primary

I was invited to spend a day at Cropthorne Primary School in Worcestershire to  teach a series of workshops on Indian Art as part of their curriculum. I received a lovely warm reception from students and staff alike, and taught a variety of classes. Key stage 1 designed their own henna patterns, and Key stage 2 decorated their own Indian elephants and created a display from hand painted and hand made flowers. A wonderful day of colour and creativity! 

An Introduction to Islamic Geometric Pattern

This workshop also took place at Impact Hub Birmingham, and was an introduction to the theory behind as well as the practical elements in Islamic geometric patterns and motifs. Students were guided through a historical introduction and the principles of Islamic art, and then taught how to construct a traditional geometric pattern found in architecture around the world. One workshop took place in the morning and one in the afternoon, exploring different constructions and patterns, and were both fully booked. It was great to meet such a variety of people interested in Islamic art and design, and all of the participants produced great results! Am really looking forward to organising a similar workshop, or series of classes, over the next few months. Watch this space! 

Design Workshop & Tile Making

Impact Hub Birmingham is a great space to be based in - open, collaborative, light and airy, its a place of real community and creativity. After the opening, I took part in a week long programme of events, and delivered a workshop on tile design using geometry. 

Participants were introduced to basic concepts in Islamic and geometric art, and drew their own patterns. These were then painted onto paper, and printed onto tiles. It was the first time a workshop like this took place at Impact Hub Birmingham, and we had some fabulous results! 

GAP in the Market

GAP Arts are a local arts organisation in Birmingham which supports young people to meet and make meaningful art.  As part of their GAP in the Market pop up festival, which took place in the Bullring Indoor Markets, and based around the themes of creativity, the arts and play, I delivered a workshop on up-cycling, design and fabric printing. 

Participants drew their own designs from inspiration, made stencils, and then printed onto some old clothes they had brought in with them to give them a new lease of life. Some really imaginative ideas and fantastic results! 

Love & Etiquette Arts Festival Workshop

As part of their Islamic Arts Festival for Eid ul Fitr 2015, the Love & Etiquette foundation based in Blackburn invited Tasleema Alam (founder of Traditional Ateliers) and myself to deliver a day workshop and talk on Islamic art and textile printing. It was a great day with lovely group of participants, both children and adults. We went through some basic principles of Islamic art, and using a straight edge and compass learnt how to draw an eight pointed star; a shape ubiquitous in Islamic art and architecture. We then added biomorphic designs to the star, carved some block prints, and printed some fabric! The work produced  by the participants was really impressive and inspirational. 


OOMK are an amazing zine producing-fabulous event and important discussion hosting - cool creative female collective. They independently publish a zine each year, each one on a different theme, but always accepting submissions relating to women, spirituality, and faith creative practices and exploration.  I was really excited to be featured in issue 3, writing about my experience studying for my MA in traditional art. 

The Ideal Home Show

Whilst I was studying for my MA, I was really honoured to have my work featured as part of Interior Design at the Ideal Home Show. Some silk paintings and ceramics were used to decorate the architects' houses, and having so many visitors see my work was great!