Female Scholarship

Part of my MA degree show, this project explored and celebrated forgotten female scholarship in Islamic and Western traditions. Inspired by a text
entitled 'Al Muhaddithat' by Shaykh Akram Nadwi, which researched into the lives and work of female hadith (traditions and narrations of the Prophet Muhammad) scholars who lived, taught and travelled on and around the Silk Routes.  These female scholars were also famed for their knowledge in jurisprudence, law, calligraphy and even the sciences. 

The pieces included a series of symbolic book covers which were inspired by patterns, materials and motifs from traditional art, architecture, and book binding, and found along the silk route. Combined with contemporary techniques and displayed behind glass, they symbolise the state of female scholarship in our contemporary times. 

Other pieces of work in the project include a large scale drawing and fabric wall hanging, which is a rendering of a physical arch in the Qarawiyyin university of Fes, Morocco. It is a homage to Fatima al Fihriyya, the woman who established the Qarawiyyin in 859 AD, one of the first universities in the world. 

Two silk painted wall hangings are inspired by patterns found in the Qarawiyyin, and some calligraphic quotes and prints on silk which also which question the role of power and knowledge also form part of the project. 

The final element of the project was a series of hand wood block prints, which were inspired by patterns and motifs found in architecture in India and Central Asia, namely mosques and mausoleums commissioned by women, such as the Bibi Khanom Mosque in Samarkand and the tomb of Itimad ad Daula. The sewing machines represent the state of many women across the world today, especially those who work as garment factory workers in places like Cambodia and Bangladesh, who hail from an intensely rich textile tradition, but are now trapped into working in unsustainable and unethical conditions. 

If you'd liek to know more about this project, or purchase any pieces, please do not hesitate to get in touch.