Sumaira Mohammed Ashik is a young Dubai based abstract artist from India. She is known for her fusion of metallic textured abstracts and calligraphy. For Sumaira abstract, is an expression of art. Using materials such as modeling paste, palette knives and paint scrapers allow her to build layers, texture and contrast to give a 3D view to each work. She likes to create mixed media abstracts as well as fluid abstracts using minimal as well as heavy textures. Combining this with her passion for incorporating Arabic calligraphy into her work helps her to create masterpieces through original contemporary Arabic calligraphy abstracts.
For the last five years, her passion has helped her to enhance residential and commercial interior design with a bespoke contemporary artwork. She worked directly with her clients, as well as interior designers. She use to participate in local art markets such as Ripe and Arte. Her masterpiece works were showcased in different exhibitions conducted by many art curators, also a few of her works got sold in World Art Dubai.
Few years back she started to create Arabic calligraphy designs which grabbed the attention of dining and décor suppliers under the Landmark Group of UAE. You might have seen her digital calligraphy designs around the Emirates, since her products are being used in eleven stores of Home Box all over the UAE and altogether 37 stores in GCC. She believes that the Emirates has an important role in achieving her success.
Can you tell us a bit about your childhood and your journey to becoming an artist?
Throughout my childhood I have always been fascinated with drawing, painting, doing crafts and making designs, so much so that I’ve made it into my career. But being creative was just considered as a hobby. Still while growing up, I gave equal importance to my art class and main subjects till I finish my 12th grade. It was only eight years ago when I moved to the UAE, I realized the value of art and calligraphy. For this reason, I decided to become a calligraphy artist or a digital designer which has nothing to do with what would make me the most money, but it gave me the utmost satisfaction and happiness. Now I’m proud to say I’m an Engineer turned Calligraphy Artist to pursue my passion.
Can you tell us more about how your Arabic calligraphy connects to your cultural heritage?
Art offers the opportunity to appreciate cultures and the world around us. Calligraphy is the most highly regarded and fundamental element of Islamic art. It is significant that the Quran, the book of God’s revelations to the Prophet Mohammed (PBUH) was transmitted in Arabic and that inherent with the Arabic Script is the potential for developing a variety of ornamental forms. These are some of my favorite scripts or forms that I normally use in my artworks Kufi, Sumbuli, and Thuluth styles. Most of my artworks are of Quran Verses and Islamic Quotes on abstracts that enhances light to the space where it belongs, being a silent reminder of God forever.
How did you learn this traditional art form?
By first having an immense interest in it. Followed by consistently creating art, and consistently challenging myself to improve. I’m mostly self-taught, never been to a formal art school or taken any professional art courses. I learn through YouTube videos and by referencing from either nature, social media images, and or my own imagination. I taught myself techniques and explored with textures, as well as styles. I am interested in realism and digital arts. Nowadays I create my own designs in Gibrish patterns in various scripts for dining and décor products of landmark group.
How did you create such an identifiable unique artistic style?
I believe that if we have some kind of a memorable style, then it will attract a certain group of people who like that style. And we would be able to sell our artworks to an audience which already favors your kind of work.
After creating calligraphy art for a long period of time. I have made a lot of strokes with brushes, markers and Qalams. I’ve mixed many different colours. I’ve made a lot of unique decisions. So all these events have helped me to develop a unique artistic style.
Does your audience need to understand Arabic when they view your work?
I create two different styles of Arabic calligraphy. Like one set of traditional art form and another set of Modern artworks. To understand traditional calligraphy where I use Thuluth, Kufic and Sumbuli scripts, audience must know Arabic to understand the meaning.
Whereas my modern artworks have entirely different styles and designs, which will be little difficult to read even for those who knows the language, but still each of the audience can enjoy the work with a different kind of happiness and emotions.
What mediums do you use to create your works?
I’m known for fusion of metallic textured abstracts and calligraphy. Using materials such as modeling paste, gold leaves, acrylics, brushes and palette knives allows me to build layers, texture and contrast to give a 3D view to each work. I like to create mixed media abstracts as well as fluid abstracts using minimal as well as heavy metallic textures.
Who are your favorite artists and where do you find inspiration?
There are so many wonderful artistS, to name a few I like Narjes Nouruddin, Dia Alam, El Seed and Wissam Shakur, I love all of their works , creativity and uniqueness. I like browsing the explore section in the Instagram rather than just looking at a few particular artists as there are so many talents in the world. Pinterest and TikTok are also a place where my inspiration comes from.
What has been the most memorable reaction to one of your works?
I have created Arabic calligraphy designs for dining and décor products for landmark group over the last two years. The beautiful Arabic calligraphy in Gibrish form gave an elegant look to the contemporary products. After the launch of my first products during I witnessed customers were grabbing those products from the outlets to enjoy the beauty of Arabic calligraphy through functional design pieces. That was the most memorable reaction to my work.
Are any of your calligraphy works inspired significantly by the Islamic art tradition?
Actually calligraphy is so prominent in Arabic Culture. It is undoubtedly the spread of Islam that ushers in a great age of calligraphy throughout the ancient Middle East because of how it unified the region under the Arabic language. Most of my works are inspired significantly by the Islamic art tradition. The two fundamental parts of my works involve architecture and calligraphy, which are are two main types of Islamic art. Calligraphy is a very important art form in the Islamic World. The Quran, written in elegant script, represents Allah’s (God’s) divine word, which Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) received directly from Allah during his visions. Quran verses, executed in calligraphy, are found on many different forms of art and architecture.
What are your thoughts on the future of Arabic Calligraphy and Islamic art?
Development of many new technologies can support the emerging calligraphers to create more magical works and bring up new styles and scripts. Actually it’s also a challenge for the calligraphers, since certain new machines are able to design and carve the beautiful Arabic patterns and Quran verses, and are capable of creating calligraphic works by themselves. If calligraphers consider these technologies as their friend, It can help the evolution and development of Arabic Calligraphy and Islamic Art in future.
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