Some people may not think that art is important, but in Islam art surrounds us, from the architecture in buildings, to the calligraphy inside the mosque walls and patterns in woven clothes from the Muslim world, everything that is beautiful about Islam has for centuries been portrayed in various forms of art.
In this post I have teamed up with two very talented Islamic artists to give you some insight into the wonderful world of Islamic art!
Last year one of my very good friends who was very good at art had begun painting verses of the Quran on canvases, she painted me a canvas with Muhammad (s.a.w) in Arabic calligraphy and after looking at some of her other pieces I was inspired to start doing my own. I started by looking at other people's art to get an idea of what was out there. The ones I started with were very simple, plain backgrounds and black calligraphy. The more art I did the more I loved the feeling I got whilst painting. It was so relaxing to sit in my room, no distractions just painting, the glorious names of Allah and other words that praised Allah swt, slowly slowly without realising I found myself doing more dhikr due to looking for words to paint, every time I looked at a painting I had finished I read the word, visual dhikr so subtle yet so powerful.
This encouraged me to carry on. I kept all of my canvases in my room to begin with and when people saw them to my surprise they actually liked them and asked me to make them some. That's when I started painting canvases for other people, I got in touch with the owner of www.Islamfactory.com and asked if I could sell my paintings on their website, and they replied telling me that they'd love to, so I put some of my canvases on there. I then donated two of my canvases at the city charity week sisters dinner and alhamdulillah they were auctioned off for a very good price, with all the money going to orphans and needy people. I was astonished people actually liked them and even took my details so that they could order some later. [You see charity really does not decrease your wealth]
One of the sisters from the charity event called me a few weeks later and became one of my first ever customers, she bought canvases as gifts for other people and because people liked the canvases I had done for her she ended up ordering more for other people, Alhamdulillah to this day she is my favourite customer (=
I now do canvases embellished with hot fix swarovski crystals (I've always loved all things sparkly and I guess that had to come through in my work), I do henna patterns, calligraphy in different styles and my latest pieces have been personalised mini canvases with mini easels and some have been a little more abstract.
The advice I would give to anyone that wants to start painting is get a good set of brushes and good paints lol. I still end up painting things with my fingers and a cut up kitchen sponge when I can't get it to look how I want with brushes. I would also say that always remember why you are doing Islamic art. My main reason is to promote the beautiful language of the Holy Quran and our beloved prophet which is Arabic but also to serve as visual dhikr throughout the home inshaAllah.
Here are some more of my recent pieces that you may not have seen in the 'Islamic art on canvas' post.
Mosques silhouette, yes You may have guessed by now I have an obsession with the sky. When the sky is like this colour it looks sooo beautiful!
So that's all of my ones done lets have a look at the art work of two fabulous sisters, sister Farah and Sister Nadia, who have inspired me as well!
Farah Visual Arts
My name is farah Bhoyroo and I graduated from uni in 2009 with a degree in primary education, it was while I was on maternity leave in 2010 that I decided to start painting as a hobby as I would be at home for a while. I always loved painting at school and have had no other training just gcse art! I started doing a few canvases for my own home and when friends and family told me to take part in a mosque fund raising i was really excited to show the public my work for the first time, after the fund raising/ exibition i sold most of my work and loads of people asked me for website info, business cards etc.. that was when i created farah visual arts, the page, business card etc.
I am still at home looking after my baby and with next one on the way in a few weeks inshallah.. so i tend to paint when hubby or family can look after bub for a bit! .
The first type of art i started doing was very much traditional islamic art, calligraphy on simple backgrounds, golds, browns etc.. but it always seemed like it wasnt really 'me'. i love doing custom work for customers and creating what they have in their mind, and i love the feeling when they say that they love the painting! after a year of painting here and there i decided to really find out what type of art I really WANT to do, the stuff that i like, and thats when i came up with the islamic pop art collection, its my kind of art! but i wanted to make it islamic so that we can enjoy that type of art but also remember our lord through it... I use acrylic paints on deep edge canvas.
I haven't had any training whatsoever in the arts I just follow my creativity and I would advise anyone who likes to do something, not just painting etc, anything they have a passion for, to go for it and enjoy doing what they do, sometimes its not only about others liking your work, its about expressing yourself, a part of your inner self... I am always willing to help or advise anyone who needs it, even if its just by posting their work on my page!
Kufi style text on colourful background... again mA I love it!
If you want to check out any more of sister Farah's work check out her facebook page inshaAllah:
About me and work
I would say my work really reflects me as a person. I am someone who likes to do what I want rather than what the majority of people do, I am not very traditional with my style and my thinking and this is what my art is about, it's a unique style deviating from the common traditional islamic arts. This style makes it more appealing to me and makes it stand out and catch others' attention. Im a fan of black and white but I also love colour and boldness, and even though I am a rather neat person when it comes to art I like a bit of mess :) ... My art is more toward the graffiti/ street style, I love everything of that sort! Almost all of my work is based on Islam and the Muslim identity, there is a lot of negative attention on Islam and Muslims and I feel that I should help if I can. And what better way to try than by making art which provokes thought and illustrates multiple ideas and meanings. Being a British- Pakistani Muslim female in the West I think I have an advantage because not many young females venture out into this style of art, it allows me to try new things and delve into areas that are still to be risen such as giving a voice to Muslim women.
Tips and Encouragement
Art is something which is in all of us, we all have creative streaks and they can be manifest in different ways such as designing, photography, painting, poems and the like, but a lot of us don't take advantage of our talents and we decide to concentrate on things that we think are more 'important'. You'll be surprised how much you can accomplish when you focus and actually try. Nothing happens over night but consistent progress gets you a long way! If you are thinking of starting out I suggest you just do it, don't think too much about it, it's something you love, something you have a passion for, something you're good at, so intend the best and go for it :) the sooner you work on it, the quicker you will see the progress so 'don't put off for tomorrow what you can do today'.
Never think you are not good or not good enough, everyone has different preferences and styles so just be yourself and do things your own way, that is what adds to the diversity and will make your work more interesting. But remember to stay humble because everything is form Allah and can easily be taken away, so don't show pride and arrogance, you can always intend it to be a form of dawah and work towards that.
As I mentioned before- people have different styles and preferences, always keep this in mind because it is not guaranteed that everyone who comes across your work will like it, don't take it to heart because that will just hinder your progress. If you are working on what you love and people appreciate it then keep doing it, of course accept constructive criticism politely :) (especially from other artists) with art you are always exploring and learning so nothing is a waste.
How to keep the balance
When doing things we love we tend to get sooo stuck in that we forget about the other things in our life! It is really important to keep a balance between the things you love and want to do and the things that need to be done. A lot of us are probably studying, helping out looking after family, and of course keeping ourselves walking the right path. I can't stress how important it is to know your priorities, you don't want to neglect and miss out the blessings you have so we should always do what we do to the best of our ability, and when the time comes to focus on one thing just focus on that one thing. For example if you have an idea in mind to paint or design but then guests pop over, just jot the idea down and then be a good host to your guests, the same way you should pray your salah on time even if you are studying. When a duty calls give it your best effort, that way your time will be used more effectively and it is easier to keep things going smoothly in all areas, or else you risk falling behind and losing track of other aspects and duties.
For a couple of years I have always had Friday mentally scheduled as my 'chill- out day' so when I want to work on art but I have studying to do, I usually wait til Friday because I know that is the day which is just for myself. We always have more than enough time to do what we want and need to do, but we become so distracted and lose focus and then we lose the time. If you organise and manage your time well you will be able to accomplish a lot more.
If you would like to see more work from Muslimess please go to her facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/home.
And that is the end of this extra special Islamic art post. I hope you liked the art work and got an insight into what it's like doing Islamic art, but mostly I hope inshaAllah that you do let out your creative side and do some art of your own. Let me know how you found this post iA.
Take care iA Wassalaam!