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28 October 2014

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Divine Art

Ibrahim in front of the Islamic art mural
Ibrahim with the Islamic art mural

Spray can spirituality

Promising young artist Ibrahim Wahab has been spiritually inspired by the contemporary urban Islamic art of Mohammed Ali.

Ibrahim Wahab: aged 16 from Small Heath Sixth Form

Inspirational art:  Islamic graffiti mural on Langley Road, Small Heath, by Mohammed Ali

Art inspired by Mohammed Ali
Art inspired by Mohammed Ali

Ibrahim is inspired by Birmingham artist Mohammed Ali's contemporary urban Islamic art, in particular his recent 'Remembrance of God' mural on the streets of Small Heath, Birmingham.

"Mohammed's work is contemporary Islamic art and it shows more of Islam - it explores the faith.  He's young and he's from this area. It's simple calligraphy and he uses words like 'faith' and 'peace' and 'salam'. They have really good meanings to them.  He's brought me closer to my faith.

Mohammed Ali uses 'street' style graffiti art with a spiritual message.

The bright side of Islam

Ibrahim with some of Mohammed's original work
Mohammed Ali's original art

"He's got me practising my religion more which I never used to.  I know more about Arabic because of this.  It's urban graffiti, but it's not like you see on the roads.  His work has meaning and he wants to show how positive Islam is.  Some people think Islam is all about terrorism.  He shows the bright side.

Sixteen year old Ibrahim is now studying art at Small Heath Sixth Form and has been so inspired by Mohammed Ali that he now incorporates Islamic art into his own work.

"This art has got me closer to God, to my religion.  It inspires me, it makes me want to practise my religion and its made me want to experiment with art work.  I never knew what Islamic art was and now I've seen the contemporary stuff it's really good.


Ibrahim shows off some of his own art
Ibrahim shows off some of his own art

We have a project called "My City" and Ibrahim chose Islamic art, said Lisa Newell, Head of Art at Small Heath School. "Ibrahim was introduced to Mohammed's work as we have examples of his work in the school. Mohammed came in and visited and we showed Ibrahim how to stencil. It's very exciting work, lots of layers, lots of interest, lots of images -  it's beautiful.

"We want the children to be inspired by what's around them and what they see. What they see locally can be quite depressing at times but when a piece of art like the Remembrance of God springs up locally it blows them away."

Lisa Newell, Head of Art
Lisa Newell, Head of Art

Standing in front of Mohammed's mural on the wall of Hamd House Nursery in Small Heath, Ibrahim explains why the piece is so inspiring to him:

"It's urban its got a message behind it - 'Remembrance of God' - 'Remember me and I will remember you'.  It's in English and Arabic and written like Arabic script.  When I look at it you can see the Birmingham skyline, a mosque, a cathedral,  the Bullring and the rotunda. It shows my city and it's really good. You drive past in the car and there's a fantastic art piece here and it's really colourful, it gets to you.

Close to God

Ibrahim at Mohammed Ali's mural
Urban Islamic art that has inspired Ibrahim

"It gets me close to Islam, it's in Small Heath where I live.  It combines faiths, the bright colours show a multicultural area - like the Asian shops here with their bright colours on this high street. It just fits in really well in the area.

"It makes me proud of my city and my religion - its all about being close to god and finding your inner self, who you are.

last updated: 24/09/08
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