I like painting flowers. I think that one of the big issues if you could call it that is that as a black Muslim artist, I don’t make art that directly expresses that I am any of those things. I often get asked cant you paint something else? Like why would I want to paint something else? As an artist isn’t it part of my creative freedom to paint whatever I feel like? I’m not a robot, I’m not a factory of TK Max or Argos where I’m just putting out cheap canvases for home décor that cost like £2o in the sales or something. I’m not here to make work that is to fit into what someone things someone who looks like me should be making. I am not here to fit into the stereotypes, I’m here to break them when necessary.
I speak my mind and when my tongue fails me, I paint my mind. If my mind is full of flowers what’s wrong with that? I love the feeling that flowers give me, it may be very simplistic but that’s what its about. I love the colours, the scents and just the overall beauty of flowers. They give me joy looking at them, I love the process of life that they take from bud to bloom and everything before and after that.
I’m inspired by nature; my art is the way that I relax. I don’t always get to go out into nature as I would like. Nature is de-stressing. It helps me to relax my thoughts and mind and think clearly. When I paint it’s the same thing? I use the physical action of painting to take time out and focus my thoughts and free my mind of worries and stresses. It helps me to just be present and focus on one thing, sometimes I’m so focused on painting that it literally has me holding my breath. I’ve noticed recently that painting under such levels of concentration has affected me physically, sometimes I have pulled tendons without realising. I need to take more notice of cold muscles being stuck in the same position for long periods of time while painting. Stretch and flex.
I don’t do Arabic calligraphy, I don’t paint mosques, I don’t paint pictures of black women (or naked women or any other figurative work). I like nature and that’s what I paint. Flowers and stuff, abstract or not. that’s it.