Abstract painting

The couple organize their first exhibition of Islamic art, mixing abstract painting and Arabic calligraphy

Sameera and Muhammad Waqas will have their first exhibition on June 21.  (File photo)

ROBERT KITCHIN/Stuff

Sameera and Muhammad Waqas will have their first exhibition on June 21. (File photo)

When Sameera and Muhammad Waqas moved to Wellington, they never imagined in their dreams that they would be hosting their first art exhibition.

But on June 21, that’s what they’ll be doing at Thistle Hall Community Venue.

Called language of the heartWaqas said painting was a way to calm down and de-stress.

Her husband has always loved calligraphy and their work “everything comes from the heart what we want to draw and paint”, she said. “We never thought of making art on this scale, but the love of the people who encouraged us gave us a big boost.”

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Waqas described their art as a contemporary approach to Islamic art, blending abstract with modern calligraphy – Al-Sunbali. Their pieces were also inspired by Maori art as the styles were similar in streaks and markings.

The duo has always been creative. Her husband was a graphic designer, and since childhood there had always been painting and watercolors in his life, she says.

Their pieces are also inspired by Maori art as the styles are similar when it comes to streaks and markings, says Sameera Waqas.

Provided

Their pieces are also inspired by Maori art as the styles are similar when it comes to streaks and markings, says Sameera Waqas.

Their exhibits would be a visual representation of the words that come from the Quran.

“We will also have regular words like patience, mercy and peace – we need them a lot these days,” she said.

“I think it will be empowering to look at words you don’t know but are still connected – the beauty of words is that they trigger something in your mind.”

One of the pieces that people could see at the exhibition was 51.

In May, it was hung in the foyer of Parliament to mark the second anniversary of the terrorist attacks on Christchurch’s Masjid An-Nur (Al Noor Mosque) and Linwood Islamic Centre.

Written on a black background in Al-Sunbali Arabic script are the names of the 51 people who died on March 15, 2019. At the center of the work is a map of New Zealand, which is drawn from a calligraphy written in 10 different languages, representing the country of origin of the victims.

Detail of '51' by artists Muhammad and Sameera Waqas.

PROVIDED

Detail of ’51’ by artists Muhammad and Sameera Waqas.

Maori kupu (words) were also used throughout to honor the support Maori had given to the Muslim community of Aotearoa.

THE RETAIL/RNZ

Some of the projects that have received the grant have come under some criticism for their unusual proposals, the Detail speaks to the artists who have received the grant and Creative NZ chief executive Stephen Wainwright defending their approach to supporting the arts. (Video first published in October 2020).

Waqas encouraged people to give their unique artistic style a chance. “We would like people to share their comments and tell us what they think of our work. Give it a chance and come chat with us.

  • Language of the Heart, Wellington’s Thistle Hall, June 21-27, 4-6 p.m.