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Born and raised in Britain, Ruh al-'Alam took up interest in art from an early age and never looked back. A young graduate in illustration and graphic design, from Central Saint Martins College of Art & Design, Ruh al-'Alam works in a variety of mediums including illustration, film, audio, interactivity and photography.
His current project, VisualDhikr (visual remembrance), involves a spiritual element in remembrance of God and his Creation (for contemplation). This is often depicted in calligraphic text; which are reflective of the message.
Inspiration is drawn from the religious, cultural and spiritual literature and poetry of the Islamic world. Often the concept of a piece would revolve around a word or a single invocation, in Arabic, to let the viewer fully engage with its meaning. The artwork isn't simply a visual piece; rather it is piece of literature combined, where the viewer must read the text to understand the context of the piece.
Inspired by traditional calligraphy, the work involves the use of his own Arabic scripts, with a contemporary graphic design influence; therefore many of the pieces go through a digital process at some stage. The combination of styles, media, shape, space and textures enables his work to be appreciated by a large audience. His unique mixed media approach is an attempt to tackle the stigma associated with digital art. The work is often displayed as large printed canvases, screen prints or projections.
The messages in his work combine the global concepts of unity, peace and love, a tradition that is deeply rooted in Islamic literature and thought. It aims to encourage the viewers to think, remember and contemplate on their own lives and situation and then be inspired to change.
He has exhibited in numerous places (UK and abroad) with different types of work; ranging from illustration, fine art, photography, graphic design and film.
He founded the VisualDhikr project in 2003, which also aims to help develop the growing movement in Islamic art by working alongside other artists.
In this video, first of a new series on UK Islamic art and culture, the BSN takes a look at a leading British Muslim artist in paint and ink who takes his inspiration from the rich heritage of the poetry of Islam.
Visit Visual Dhikr.