The visual artists in Manifesting the Unseen share an interest in the unifying principles of Islamic art, its origins within the inner realities of divine revelation and its perfect balance of science, art and spirituality. Their work focuses on the essence of things, seeking not to replicate nature but to convey what it represents; revealing what is unseen until nothing remains hidden. The works in Manifesting the Unseen aspire to reflect the infinite nature of Allah; the creation of the pieces becomes an act of devotion for some, and a reflection of faith for others. Through engaging with these themes, viewers are invited to contemplate the idea of oneness and how from unity all diversity emerges.
4 minute clip - watch for more detailed information about our crowdfunding campaign with artist interviews.
Alongside the visual arts, and in keeping with the rich tradition of poetry in the Muslim world, Manifesting the Unseen will also invite a series of established and emerging women poets to construct a series of ekphrastic poems inspired by the artworks and performed at a Mehfil (recital) as one of a series of events offered as part of the exhibition. The exhibition will also feature a panel discussion with the artists and a series of workshops throughout the month offering the public the chance to learn about and practice: Islamic geometry, painting & illumination and calligraphy.
Manifesting the Unseen began as a discussion led by exhibition curator and poet Nazia Mirza on the invisibility of marginalised identities in public space and how for many in the West, Islamic art, including the poetic voices of the Muslim world, remains a hidden treasure. Working with this element of the exhibition, and in recognition of the erasure Black Muslim Women experience at multiple levels (including from Muslim led initiatives and institutions) photographer Wasi Daniju has been invited to exhibit a series of her photographs of Black Muslim Women; recently exhibited at the Everyday Muslim Symposium: An exploration of Black Muslims in British history and heritage. In Daniju’s own words:
“[W]e exist, we are here, we’ve been here for a long time and you need to be able to see us.”
Art for all
We believe that the arts should be for everyone, and not just for those who can afford them; and so want to provide as much as we can for free to our audiences. With generous support from The Arts Council of England, Guest Projects and all those who have contributed to our crowdfunding campaign, we hope to:
Bring together an international group of Muslim women visual artists and an equally diverse group of Muslim women poets
Provide a free exhibition on contemporary Islamic art & support Muslim women artists and poets in creating new work and developing their skills
Provide free workshops on Islamic geometry, illumination and calligraphy – giving people the chance to learn about and create their own Islamic art
Provide a series of events exploring the history & traditions of Islamic art and the poetry of the Muslim world