Skip to content

Muslim artists’ work celebrated in documentary


a person holds a book while in an art gallery with a number of pictures hanging on the wall behind them

The work of Muslim artists has been showcased in a documentary from a former University of Bradford student.

‘Muslims of the Artworld’, directed by Ahseem Yousuf, puts the spotlight on five Muslim sculptors, photographers, artists and calligraphers from Bradford and Nottingham. 

Kasim Tariq, pictured below, a social designer from Bradford, is shown in the film debuting his sculpture – The Bekun – in the city’s Mirror Pool during the ‘Bradford Is Lit’ festival.

A person smiling wearing a beanie hat in front of a neon lighting strip

The sculpture, featuring stained glass windows, takes inspiration from Listers Mill and celebrates the contribution of the textile industry in Bradford. 

He said: “Now that Bradford has achieved the City of Culture, it’s a fantastic time for us to showcase all of that, all of the different communities and what we have to offer here.”

Photographer Maryam Wahid discusses her exhibition, Zaibunnisa. This series of photographs captured her first journey to Pakistan with her mother. It explores heritage and British Asian identity. 

A person with their back to the camera looks over at a series of photographs hanging on a wall at an exhibition

Maryam said: “I have realised that there’s a lot more open space and awareness, whether you’re Indian, Pakistani, Bengali, Sri Lankan. Whatever you may be as a South Asian, you have a voice, and you have stories to tell and even within India and Pakistan, there are so many diverse stories and so many diverse narratives.”

Sayra Begum, a comic book artist from Nottingham, speaks about her 2020 debut novel – Mongrel -  which follows the story of Shuna, a mixed-race girl like herself. The story shows the clash of cultures between the east and west and utilises Islamic miniature style of figure drawing. 

An large art installation is in a small water pool in a city centre with large buildings behind it

Mohamed Rasul, founder of Artz-I Islamic Art & Gift Gallery - a Bradford-based Islamic art gallery, which features both traditional and modern art inspired by faith, is also interviewed. 

Razwan Ul-Haq, pictured below, who created Arabic calligraphies in neon lighting, has seen his work featured in the ‘Van Gogh Alive – The Experience’, a touring immersive exhibition which visited Bradford in 2022 and 2023. 

A close up picture of a person's face who is looking over to the right

The 22-minute documentary was premiered on Islam Channel on television on Sunday 2 June and is available to view on YouTube. 

Ahseem, pictured below, who graduated from the BA (Hons) Film and Television Production course at the University of Bradford in 2021, said: “I was looking at creating another film focused on the Muslim community. 

former student wearing a jacket looks into the distance in a street

“I am conscious of the fact that there isn’t much positive representation of our community in mainstream media, so I wanted to create something that showed us in a positive light. That’s when I thought about looking at Muslim artists and showcasing the work they are doing.

“What I learned from this film is that Muslims can be successful in this field and can make a good living in the artworld. So, I hope this film can help encourage more of us into this field.

“It's great to get my work out to a larger audience and I hope the audience of Islam Channel enjoyed the film.”

‘Muslims of the Artworld’ is the latest work by Ahseem who helped produced PONG, a poignant five-minute film which follows Dan who takes a trip back to his own childhood after finding an original 1970s Atari 2600 video games console following the death of his father.