Walthamstow's most famous art gallery hosts Islamic art exhibition
By Oliver Roberts
William Morris Gallery demonstrates shared artistic values between East and West.
William Morris’s work was all about patterns, repetition and symmetry. Themes which are all echoed in the latest exhibition to open in his former home in Walthamstow.
Fire by Zarah Hussain
The Handasah exhibition runs until late January at the William Morris Gallery. It displays the work of British born Pakistani artist, Zarah Hussain. Like William Morris, she’s a Walthamstow resident.
Morris was one of England’s most distinguished artists, famous for his decorative designs, patterned fabrics and wallpapers in the 1800’s.
Detail from Peacock
Intricacy and detail.
Zarah’s work celebrates the roots and essence of Islamic history and culture. The artwork is delicate yet vibrant, using subtle arabesque colours and is put together in a very specific geometrical way. Her work shares the same intricacy and attention to detail as many of Morris’s pieces.
“I discovered that William Morris was influenced by Islamic art, so it was really interesting for me being a Muslim artist to find the connection between his ideals and my own themes”, says Zarah Hussain
Their shared location and the cross-over of their artistic styles, makes the building that pays homage to Morris the designer, the perfect venue.
The materials Zarah uses
Test of time.
Morris’s work has stood the test of time with designs still decorating modern day interiors and architecture. Zarah’s work is of a similar enduring style, with the timelessness of Islamic art infused with energy from the hand-wrought materials she uses.
“I have always been fascinated by Islamic pattern. The interlocking geometry with its flowing shapes and stars captured my eyes, mind and heart”
Zarah Hussain says there has always been a shared appreciation of western and eastern art throughout history. She hopes that her exhibition demonstrates a contemporary reinterpretation of how traditional artwork can be combined with what’s happening now.
First but not the last.
Cllr Geraldine Reardon, who has responsibility for arts and culture on Waltham Forest Council is keen to see the gallery space in the museum used for similar projects in the future. She says, “This is the first time that Islamic art work has been shown in the same context as William Morris’s work…. We would like to have more exhibitions, especially focusing on Islamic and Asian Art because a large part of our population comes from those traditions.”
last updated: 21/12/2007 at 17:35