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Redefining Heritage, Haneefah Adam

Haneefah Adam is a self taught contemporary artist currently living and working in Nigeria. Her work reflects issues of identity, culture and representation. She captures experiences by utilizing both traditional and unconventional mediums to tell her stories.

How did you train to become an artist? Have you always been creative?

I’m a self taught artist and I’ve never had a formal or informal training but I believe I’ve always been creative and have the flair for the arts. Since I can remember, I’ve always drawn, painted and sculpted since I was a young girl and was good at it. In school, my work was part of the ones that are displayed in the art department.

What mediums do you work in?

I work with different mediums which includes acrylic paint, water colour, food, film making, digital and sculpture.

Your work explores issues related to identity, culture and representation in society, how do you draw on your personal experiences as a focus for these narratives?

My personal experiences are an infinite folder for inspiration. My identity as an African, Muslim and mother provides me with issues those demographics face that I can express through my art. There’s also always an avenue to celebrate my culture and also educate in that manner.

Does your cultural heritage and faith influence your art?

Yes it does. I mean, recently, I’m developing a method of abstract portrait painting that is moving away from painting actual human forms because of a religious belief. I’m still exploring it and I look forward to what the future holds in that aspect. I’m also currently working on a documentary that is documenting and celebrating the art of pottery from the town I’m from. So there’s always going to be those influences reflecting in my art all the time.

Hijarbie was created to facilitate a positive narrative for the Muslim girl. To create a conversation around diversity, inclusion and deliberate education. Can you tell us more about the project?

I started documenting hijarbie as a hijab wearing doll because I wanted to visualise a fashionable Muslim girl that looked like me. I also modeled hijarbie’s outfit after inspirational women in STEM, sports, politics and in media to serve as role models. They present real visions of what girls’ futures can look like. They inspire girls to become strong, independent leaders and to pursue their dreams.

Food is an opportunity for conversation. You have created a series of works using African Foods to create images. Can you tell us more about the inspiration behind this?

I wanted to try a new and unusual medium and that’s where using food came about. And I’m doing so to create a conversation around recycling and wastage using food. I used African food most times as that’s part of my culture and that’s an opportunity to promote the culture as well.

You have a thought provoking body of digital art and NFT works. Can you share the concept behind your NFT works?

Most of my creations are on one market place. They’re musings and was an opportunity for me to be introspective. I put down thoughts to convey the art form. My NFTs are a collection of alphanumeric portraits where I use letters and numbers to create stories of characters captured in a moment.

What is your perspective on NFT Islamic art specifically and the potential to explore this in the digital world?

There are so many possibilities because it’s still a very new space. The crypto art space is an exciting platform for independent artist to share their creations with the web3 community. I have not seen a lot of Islamic art on the space yet even though there are a few that platforms like yours can elevate and promote.

Can you share your favourite work you have created to date and why?

I don’t think I have a particular favourite work. I love everything I create and it’s always a thrill and some form of self care when I’m able to create. But I recently created something for Islamic Relief UK that I absolutely love. You can see it here

Your work has received significant coverage from a number of international publications, what has been the most memorable moment of your career so far?

It has to be hijarbie! It was a worldwide sensation and that work got a lot of attention. I’m happy that it followed with a positive message and even though I’m on a break from posting on the page for now, I’m sure I’ll be back on it insha Allah.

What does the future of Islamic art, heritage and culture look like to you?

The future is in the people. The evolution of Islamic art is from the constant influence of cultures, behaviours of its generation and the digital evolution, we will be seeing more creative ways Islamic art is going to be expressed in novel forms from Artificial intelligence art to virtual reality experiences.

For more information check out can download Haneefahs NFTs here

The views of the artists, authors and writers who contribute to Bayt Al Fann do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of Bayt Al Fann, its owners, employees and affiliates.


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