Pendle artist Shahida Ahmed, who is seen as the first British female Muslim ceramic artist in the UK and elite in her chosen form of clay, now has a significant exhibition in the Middle East.
The artist, who was born and brought up in Nelson and still lives here, has her highly popular sculptured and painted work on show at Doha in Qatar until August 11th.
Shahida has been invited to exhibit her installation piece called “Oneness”, based on the 99 names of God. The pieces involved are made of “ceramic and mixed media”.
Shahida has won many awards and recognition for her work. A naturally-gifted artist, she gained a scholarship at the Royal College of Arts and studied under the established American ceramicist, Jim Robison.
The former pupil at Nelson’s Marsden Primary, Edge End High and Nelson and Colne College has her studio at Higherford Mill in Barrowford now – but her work goes on show across Pendle, Britain, Europe and the Middle East and Asia!
It is always a showcase of inexpressible beauty, but not necessarily so provocative. The transcendent and mystical qualities of her art are evident in the novel use of techniques, form and ornamentation as well the themes.
Shahida said: “My culture, faith and growing up in the West made me question a lot of things.”
She says her period of study in Cordoba and the Alhambra in Granada, Spain, “inspired me to look at Inter-faith dialogue and art as a universal language”. Consequently, her work finds resonance among a wide spectrum of art appreciators.
In addition to her private exhibition for Prince Charles and the collection for Prime Minister David Cameron, Shahida has been commissioned to create statement pieces all over the world, to adorn hospitals, hotels and landmark buildings.
Her sculptures are essential to the collections at the VIP Lounge, Dubai, the presidential house in Islamabad, Pakistan; the Oklahoma Mosque, and British High Commission, Islamabad.
Shahida has also exhibited in many solo shows. She said: “Every piece of clay has its own characteristics, just like humanity. I don’t create art for appreciation. I just do it; it is what I believe in strongly. Art is not just about beauty, for me it is a dialogue and about meaning. It is up to the audience to connect and engage with each piece.”
Shahida Ahmed is showcasing her art works for the very first time in Qatar. “Oneness” is based on the 99 names of Allah plus seven heavens. She added: “Clay, wooden cubes in varying sizes, heavy in form and in their monochrome glaze, this huge installation exquisitely juxtaposes the most avant garde modern style to illuminate an ancient and eternal effect.”