"A LIVING TRADITION" - ISLAMIC ART EXHIBITION - LONDON
DISCLAIMER: this blog post is a bit long and I would really love if you could find the time to read it all because I love sharing stuff with you but if you don’t care about how many sandwiches I ate in London (yes they were a lot) and you want to get to the point, the final part is about the exhibition itself.
ONCE UPON A TIME…
It was February/March 2018 when Adam Williamson asked me to be part of a group exhibition in London. He wanted me to bring the painting with me to Fez during the study trip so that he could bring it with him to London for the show.
I remember I felt so grateful but at the same time it felt so strange. Why me?
The exhibition was supposed to be in the summer of 2018 but time passed by and suddenly I became nervous. When I think about it now I understand how naive I was. Both because an art exhibition is complicated to organise but also because now I’m more experienced and self-confident than one year ago.
Fast forward to February 2019 when Richard and Adam announced the upcoming show in a Whatsapp group. At the beginning I was not sure I was going to be at the show because of my full-time job. But how on earth could I miss that event? No way. So I spoke to my boss and 24hours later I booked my flight.
The event was scheduled in July and of course I waited until the last days to get prepared (so typically me!). I mean why should I plan everything ahead when I can get a shot of adrenaline and a heart attack on the last days when I usually find out that something is missing?
And that’s exactly what happened. 2 days before my flight I found out that I had never made my business cards printed after Ameet (@ambigraph) made me the new logo.
If you follow me on Instagram you probably know I had to bribe a printer to make me business cards in just one day. How did I do it? A good pie and a huge smile do the trick most of the times. Especially if you are a girl and the printer is a boy HA!
24HOURS IN LONDON.
On the 2nd July I had my flight to London. The 3rd July I had my flight back home.
I had to make the most out of my 24hours trip and that’s what I did.
I arrived in London City airport at 8 am so I had the whole day to visit the city (a really small part of it because London is HUGE), have a good old nap before the show and get ready.
When I have so little time I really like to get lost in the city and see what life looks like there instead of frenetically trying to visit monuments and stuff I don’t have time for. I’m not saying that monuments and historic buildings are not important but they are all quite the same everywhere you go.
But the people, the suburban area, the everyday life of the city, that’s what interests me.
I had the opportunity to be hosted by one of my followers in Leyton and that brought me to see parts of London that I never would have guessed.
I planned to visit the PSTA degree show but the opening time was at 10 am so I took the DLR to the centre of the city and had a walk on the London Bridge and near the London Tower. I took my time to enjoy the chilly weather and the fantastic view.
I don’t know why but I expected the PSTA to look more like a classic old school instead of a modern building. I have to admit that I was pleasantly surprised.
The private view took place the night before my arrival so I wasn’t able to participate but seeing all those beautiful artworks in the silence of the morning was priceless. It was my “private” view.
The PSTA program covers different types of art and some of them are not of my interest but the talent of the artists is tangible. One thing that I want to mention is that everything looks 1000x better in person than on Instagram.
No picture can do justice to those or any other piece of art. You really have to see it with your own eyes to fully appreciate art and the artist’s talent.
After my visit I had lunch and I took a bus to Leyton. I sat upstairs in the front row so that I could enjoy the view.
What I really liked about London it’s the public transport. Everything is so well organised that I never felt like being late. I even got gifted a banana from the bus driver haha you Londoners are so sweet.
Me and the lady who hosted me connected immediately. We talked about geometry, London life, kids, work…like two old friends who haven’t seen each other for years.
Talking with her has made me realise your struggle with geometry and what I can do to help you. She assured me that my beginner tips on my website are really useful and that’s exactly what I needed to hear. But it’s not enough.
Sometimes when you gain experience and you become comfortable with what you do you forget the struggle of the beginning. That chat was helpful to understand so many things.
But let’s get to the point. You may wonder how was the show right?
First let me say that this has probably been the best experience of my life.
I’ve had this huge crisis lately because I feel like I’m growing up in a different direction from all the people I know and this scares me so much. Most people are shallow, they don’t have interests beside hanging out, getting drunk, make up or the latest fashion trend. There is nothing wrong with that if it makes you feel fulfilled and satisfied. But I believe that most of the people use those activities as a distraction and never find their “voice”. That’s why I find it difficult to find like-minded people that can teach me something new and make me grow as a person.
This art exhibition has had a huge impact on me. Being in the same room with people who are really interested in art, who have a point of view and a deep understanding of what art means to them and what they see in it was like being a kid in a candy shop.
The show started with a great speech from the art curator Shaun Caton, the master Richard Henry from Art of Islamic Pattern and the talented artist Jeea Mirza who described what Islamic art means to her and how she got started. Her words really resonated with me.
The private view lasted 2 hours from 6pm to 8pm and all I did was buzzing around with a huge smile, hugging people that I finally got to meet in person. I had a lot of fangirl moments but the thing that made me happy the most was meeting people who came there to meet ME! Like I’m some kind of VIP haha
When you live in your own skin you don’t really understand how other people perceive you especially through Instagram. I know you might think I’m cool (or maybe not) but I really feel just like a humble human being just like any other of you. The fact that I can put some lines together in a geometric form and splash some watercolour on paper doesn’t make me better than you. I’m just different like anybody on earth.
MY PIECE OF ART
I want to finish this blog post explaining what my artwork means.
The show will be up until November. I really hope you get the chance to see all those beautiful pieces and find your story inside each of them.
“Stars in bloom” represents the beauty of mother Nature and her caring love.
When we think of Nature we usually think about the trees, the flowers, the earth but Nature is everywhere. She is in the air we breathe, in the blue sky, in the pouring rain, in the stars above.
She is around us as well as inside us. Like a mother she nurture us, teach us, discipline us.
Nature loves us, the day with flowers and at night with the stars.