In October of last year, I was invited to take part in "The Beauty and Faith Exhibition". The event was held at the Muslim Lifestyle Expo in Manchester and was a showcase of the diverse and emerging talent of the British Muslim Art Scene.
I was one of among sixteen artists who exhibited their work at this amazing event that was organised by Art House 21 an online art gallery dedicated to the promotion of art with an Islamic Ethos. The art on show at the Beauty & Faith show was very diverse and covered all kinds of art styles. Ranging from the traditional Islamic art of Shafina Ali to the amazingly contemporary art of Siddiqa Juma and Emanza Art.
The cream of the crop of the British Muslim Art scene was in full force at this event. Farah Soobhan and Teakster both exhibited at the event as well. The exquisite leather work of Munira Mendonca was also represented at the event.
The two-day event was truly fantastic as hundreds of people passed through the Exhibition and took in the art on display. As a creative, it was an amazing experience to meet so many members of the public and so many other artists. Not only does it give you the platform to publicise your work it allows us to speak to potential art buyers. The opportunity to exchange ideas and talk about your work with fellow creatives and art lovers is essential for artistic growth.
Art should be seen and displayed. Unfortunately, as artists, unless we are lucky enough to own our own gallery or large studios a lot of the art we create never gets seen as it gets held in storage waiting for the next exhibition. The studio can also become stifling. Most of the time it is easy for us to be consumed in our own little bubbles as we lock ourselves away to complete our work.
There simply are not enough events of this nature that specifically focus on art with an Islamic Ethos. The work that the British Muslim Art community produces combats the negative narrative that is so commonly propagated in the media these days. It is a message that needs to be heard and seen.
I believe that we need to work together to support each other. Whether this means that we as artists join together to create collectives to propagate our art or work as individuals selling work through our own avenues. We should have each other's backs.
I propose that we set up artist collectives. In a similar manner that the art movements of the early 20th century did. It was common practice for them to join together with like-minded artists whose work had a similar ethos to their own. This is the reason that we had art movements such as Pop art, Surrealism, minimalism, expressionism ect. They would organise events and exhibitions to propagate their work and their artistic ethos. This is what I think the British Muslim art community needs to do.
Do you agree? Is this something you would be interested in? What are your thoughts? Why not join the discussion by leaving a comment in the comments section below.