Inspiring Muslim Artists

They're adding colour to the world.

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Artistic expression is an important aspect of faith. Our global community has a rich history of incredible artists who have left a legacy of intense beauty. Our contemporary community is no different and is filled incredible artists, all of whom continue to uphold the artistic tradition and add colour to the world. Here are but a few of the many amazing people we have in our community today.

“Let the beauty of what you love be what you do. There are a thousand ways to kneel and kiss the earth.” – Rumi

Lateefa Spiker

Lateefa Spiker lives and works in east London. Her reflective work explores the structures and flowing forms of traditional Islamic pattern and investigates the relationship between the transient and the infinite, spontaneity and order and the traditional and contemporary. Introducing movement into stasis, her work meditates on the conflict of opposites and what lies beyond it.


Yaseen Mohamed

Yaseen is a UK-based Artist specialising in traditional and non-traditional art, creative works and assemblage arts. With over 85 thousand followers on Instagram, his unique and inspirational artwork is known and loved by many. He is also a passionate humanitarian who has collaborated with UNRWA and IsraSpeaks (Washington DC) in a highly successful campaign to raise almost $30,00.00 in support of humanitarian aid for the suffering victims in the Palestine crisis.


Amira Rahim

Originally from New Jersey, Amira discovered her love for art like many artists in the quiet spaces of her childhood. She immersed herself with drawing things from life and honed in on her technical skills for realism. She holds a degree in Sociology, a minor in Portuguese, and traveled to 10 countries while completing foreign learning programs in both Brazil and Europe. All the while, she fed her appetite for art with university courses in drawing, painting, and art history.


 Ian Abdallateef Whiteman

Ian Abdullateef Whiteman is a creative pioneer, whose elegant design, inspirational typography and incredible music spans the last few decades.

“Mostly I have just tried to climb past all the clichés that seem to haunt this special field. It seems a graphic design course and a computer gives anyone a licence to easily design anything nowadays and the result is Photoshop anarchy. A lot of what’s out there makes me cringe as if people have never learnt any lessons from mainstream design and believe that throwing a dome, a minaret and an octagon, at whatever, qualifies it as Islamic art (a phrase I prefer to avoid)! This applies especially to arabic calligraphy and type and the almost universal paucity of understanding about the subject amongst designers in this field.”

Nadia Janjua

Nadia Janjua is an Artist, Architect, and Art Educator based in the Washington, D.C. area. She received her Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from the George Washington University (Washington, D.C.) in 2000, and her Master of Architecture degree from the New Jersey Institute of Technology (Newark, NJ) in 2005. Nadia’s passion to beautify the world with her hands, combined with her fascination of design and technology led her to start up an art and design-based business in 2011, called Nadia J Art.


Abdul Abdullah

In 2011 Abdul was a recipient of Kickstart funding for the 2012 Next Wave Festival, was selected as a finalist in the 2011 Archibald prize and won the Blake Prize for Human Justice. His work is included in the collections of the National Gallery of Australia, Artbank, the University of Western Australia, Murdoch University, The Islamic Museum of Australia, The Campbelltown Arts Centre and The Bendigo Art Gallery. Most recently his painting ‘I wanted to paint him as a mountain’ of artist and activist Richard Bell was selected as a finalist in the 2014 Archibald Prize.


Ouafae Taame (Wafa)

Ouafae Taame (Wafa) is a visual artist, 2D and 3D graphic designer, and digital print maker with two Degrees: in Fine Art and Architecture from Morocco. She is inspired by the Islamic Art heritage and especially the western Islamic medieval  geometric Art (Morocco and Andalusia). After the fine Art Institute in Morocco she worked as a senior environment artist and Art director in the video game company Ubisoft in Montreal Canada, Casablanca Morocco, Abu Dhabi UAE and Montpelier France, accumulating 12 years of experience in Video games Arts. She was a key figure is some famous video games, such as Assassin’s Creed, Prince of Persia trilogy and Beyond Good and Evil etc.


Adam Williamson

Adam is an award-winning sculptor who has undertaken a long list of prestigious commissions and exhibited internationally. Adam is a skilled geometer, stone/wood carver and practicing artist in many media. He is interested in particular shapes and patterns that can tessellate into perfectly balanced structures. His work tries to embrace universal principals of nature and the hands-on application champion’s high craftsmanship and minimal design.

Adam has been commissioned by HRH the Prince of Wales, Oxford University, Shakespeare’s Globe London, Kew Gardens, Westminster Abbey, British council, Foreign Office in Vienna and London Zoo.


Soraya Syed

Soraya is a classically trained Islamic calligrapher who pushes the paradigm of classical calligraphy, while respecting the traditional foundations of the art. For Soraya, her practice is a process of disciplined freedom and she enjoys the constant tension between remaining true to her classical training while exploring further possibilities. She takes great pleasure in finding new solutions to unusual commissions and her client portfolio ranges from the British Museum to the Saudi Royal Family.


Qasim Arif (Illm)

ILLM’s love for Arabic calligraphy translates in various forms, with Arabic Graffiti and Calligraffiti forming the base and being predominant. In 2014, this passion extended to Light Calligraphy, performing at  FAN Festival 2014 in Rotterdam, where he did his debut performance. With years of work and experience, the list of projects has grown consisting from both local businesses and international clients. Some of the names ILLM has had the honour to work with are Red BullIslamic Relief and StyleIslam.


Sana Arjumand

Sana has enjoyed critical acclaim with many successful shows and residencies. Her 2009 residency at Art Omi in New York was one of her favorites to date: “Omi was once in a life time type of an experience. It is every artists dream come true. I made some amazing friends that I would love to see again,” she tells. Also in New York, her exhibition of ‘Let’s fly first class’at Aicon Gallery was a fantastic experience for Arjumand. Locally, her first solo exhibition was held at Canvas Gallery in Karachi and was well received and widely covered. After marriage Arjumand has had a number of exhibitions internationally including in Sydney, Dubai and Mumbai this year.


Ruh Al-Alam

With a background in typography and design, Ruh found a natural and familiar channel of expression in calligraphic letterform and art. Ruh’s artwork isn’t limited to calligraphy, he regularly works with photography, videography, installation, motion graphics and sculpture. Ruh has worked on large and high profile commissions from both local projects such as Sony PSP, album artwork for Outlandish, BBC and luxury hotel Tamani Hotels (Dubai) to name a few.


Saba Chaudhry Barnard

Saba: “A first generation Pakistani-American woman, I was confronted by my ‘otherness’ from a very young age, being a token of diversity at my private school in North Carolina. As a brown-skinned, big-haired, mosque-going, curry-eating, mustached girl who couldn’t date, eat bacon, or wear shorts, I was the token of diversity at my private school in North Carolina.”


Peter Pham

As well as designer, Peter is also a self-taught arabic graffiti artist every other waking hour of the day. Although he mainly works digitally (and not with the traditional spray can), he still enjoys working with paints and markers on walls and on pretty much any surface that he shouldn’t scribble on.


Sufi Comics

Sufi Comics is a web comic by brothers Mohammed Ali Vakil & Mohammed Arif Vakil that began in the year 2009.  These comics are short stories taken from Islamic history & tradition to illustrate spiritual values in the teachings of Islam.  The first 40 comics have been published in the form of a book 40 Sufi comics. The book is currently being translated by volunteers in several languages.


AD Pirous

At 85 years, Pirous, an artist considered a pioneer of Islamic painting in Indonesia, is as energetic and fit as ever before. It was at the Met (Metropolitan Museum of Art), he revealed. He was studying in America (1969-70) visiting as many museums and art venues as possible. Then, at the Met in New York, he was struck by the beauty of calligraphy in works from the Middle East. It took him back to his childhood in Meulaboh, Aceh, where Arabic calligraphy abounded. There and then, he knew he had found his identity, and his destiny. From then on Pirous’s art focus was on Arabic calligraphy.


Aadil Abedi

Aadil’s glamorous and elegant art is a reflection of his inherent appreciation for all things beautiful. Inspired by Arabic and Islamic calligraphy, damask prints and abstract designs, and his passion for Indian fusion, he creates original artwork with a contemporary but lasting effect. Aadil’s art is not confined to any particular religion, time, place or medium. He merges his Indian heritage and ancestral Arabic roots to create new forms of art. Aadil combines ancient tradition with a modern twist. Using acrylics on canvas, he incorporates textures through the use of Swarovski crystals, sequins and fabrics to make his paintings truly unique.


The original version of this article was written by Reuben Brand and first published on Creative Ummah.

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