I love painting a street-corner mural, creating eye candy that engages the viewer in unique ways. It was art that was breaking conventions, bursting outside of the gallery spaces, and spilling out onto the streets, the concrete jungle became the canvas. For the past 10 years i’ve been fortunate to have travelled the globe painting murals in cities from Sydney to New York, from Dubai to Singapore and learning from these diverse societies about how, through art, we can bring about positive change. Bringing colour and meaning into the walls of the cities we live in, was my mission. But now I wanted to take graffiti-art and take it to somewhere else.
I used to work in the gaming industry for 5 years, many years ago. I would create graphics for the games, it was great at the time, a dream career. Kids still ask with excitement, what games i made in my time! Whilst doing that I learnt a lot about human engagement, using visuals and creating an ‘experience’ that would draw the user and immerse them into a different world, exploring all of the different senses of human beings. Now it was time to take this 2D graffiti-art and engage the viewer in different ways. Theatrical ‘Experiences’ i’d call them., not your conventional form that one might be used to, but taking the viewer inside of the paintings i was creating, working with artists of other mediums to create a rich experience, where visuals, sounds, poetry, video projections and light played with each other to stimulate the viewer in exciting ways.
If Writing On the Wall was a blending of these different mediums 3 years ago, so what makes the upcoming show If Walls Could Speak so different? The difference was this show explored something close to my heart – an area i was born and raised in, an area that has received widespread negative publicity in the media, whether it was the implementation of CCTV cameras monitoring the community, to the recent terror arrests. This area was Sparkbrook, the place where my father opened his first Fish n Chip shop back in the 70′s. It was a place i had fond memories of, growing up in quite a diverse community, from white Irish families to South Asian. The community has radically transformed into a predominantly Asian-Muslim community, and perhaps seen as a little segregated now, where have the Irish and English families gone? Are we that divided, are these problems around segregation that bad in the city that i was born in? Great British society may celebrate its diversity today, but how did it get to where it is today, what were the stories of those people.
I felt it was time to explore these stories some of which i had experienced growing up, to explore untold stories of a community and how it evolved over the decades, the struggles of migrant communities that chose Sparkbrook as their home, and lived and worked in the city. I heard stories of the white racists skinhead gangs that would come into the area, to the hardwork of communities that worked in Birmingham’s BSA gun making factory – a place that was a livelihood for different communities, including my father and much of my family. Mention BSA to anyone from the asian community or the English, and you will hear nostalgic stories from the 1940′s to the 1970′s. Some of these common stories had to be shared. We need to know our past – to appreciate where we are today, and some of that local history was buried deeply. Whilst we interviewed people who shared these moments, they became emotional, no-one had bothered to give such prominence to their stoies ever before. This show was going to be powerful.
To tell this story that i felt that was so important, i wanted to bring together artists, the best of the genres. Which artists can i collaborate with to create an epic show. The beauty of this show was that we have a diverse range of artists representing different genres, some of which i had grown up through my teenage years listening to, and now i was able to invite them to tell this story. Cleveland Watkiss, with his lush jazz vocals, was known as the UK’s No.1 jazz vocalist, we have MC Conrad – a pioneer of Drum N BassMC’ing, Birmingham’s current poet Laueate.Stephen Morisson-Burke, RTKal – a renowned Grime MC, and Manchester’s Martin Visceral Stannage – all artists that connected with the vision- to explore art for social change, beyond art for art’s sake. We brought in the creative genius Leo Kayto direct this epic show, and it showcases right in the heart of the city that i was born and raised – Birmingham, before it potentially hits the road to tour.
Soul City Arts is commissioned by the White Table Dinner, which happens annually to organise the arts performance at the Foreign Commonwealth Ofiice in Westminster London. Poet Tshaka Campbell and percussionist Daniel Waples deliver to a 300 seated audience.
Following on from the Writing On The Wall Show at The Rep Theatre – a performance of graffiti art, spoken word and percussion brought together for a live audience, Soul City Arts have been delivering a few mini versions of that sequence at various venues. The most recent is at the 02 Arena, for the Brit Writers Awards. Again we chose 3 poets, along with our regular drummer Andy Mason, but this time also had a cellist at hand called Philip Shepphard. Together we created poetry, percussion and painting just the right combo, how we like it. It was done as the opening sequence to the entire show, so had to be sharp and on-form. Rehearsals were tough and intensive, and hopefully didn’t push the artists too hard, but it was all worth it in the end. The official video of the performance itself will be added below soon, but for now, here is a few pictures and videos of the poets performing during the event and outside of the venue…
David J was one of the 3 poets we used for the sequence. All of the poets were dressed as if part of the audience, and were seated at the tables. David J interrupts the sequence of events and begins his poem from within the crowd.
Jo Bell, our second poet, takes over from David J from the other side of the room….
Then Don Shahada jumps into the sequence by a staged telephone call which is part of his sequence
All the hard work pays off, artistic director Mohammed Ali, who co-ordinated the introduction sequence to the awards.
Andy Mason is our favourite percussionist. He was riding along with the poets and creating soundscapes in sync with the poems. Not just backing beats, but rather he was interpreting the poems through his drumming increasing and decreasing in pace where necessary to compliment each poem.
Although Mohammed Ali’s role in this sequence was directorial, he did put together a video which the three poems lead into, a video about the power of words, lots of layered footage, a kind of abstract video projection of the spraycan, timelapse footage of a graffiti words being painted, the pen writing onto the page, and lots of other abstract visuals. David J did some freestyle poetry over the top of the video along with percussionist and cellist Philip Shepherd who you can see in the background on the stage. Although the entire sequence had different mediums brought together, the poetry, the percussionist and the cellist all creating together, this last video sequence brought them all together in one this time with the added visuals.
Just outside the 02 Arena, we did a quick film with David j…
I’ve been into graffiti ever since I discovered the book Subway Art. In the early eighties, kids were rushing out to buy the book, everybody was talking about graffiti, and soon enough people were painting graffiti in Birmingham, UK, the town where I was born and raised.
I came from a Muslim background. My parents migrated from Bangladesh to the UK in the 60’s. I knew nothing of Bangladesh, all I knew were the streets of England. However I was raised as a Muslim. My upbringing wasn’t particularly strict, but we were taught to be mindful of the faith and have respect for it. I got up to things most kids did and shared the same interest; painting graffiti, listening to Run DMC, wearing big sneakers…
Throughout the eighties and nineties I was always influenced by graffiti. All my school art projects had some kind of graffiti influence. Traditional art never interested me. Learning about Van Gogh’s life wasn’t particularly inspiring for me. Graffiti became a big part of my life, almost an obsession.
It was during my early twenties when I began to rediscover my faith. Questioning what life was all about, and where I was heading. Discovering Islamic calligraphy, and the fascinating parallels with graffiti… As a graffiti artist I already had an obsession with the written word, so it was fascinating to discover how Islamic art was focused primarily on the written word, but instead of mans word, it was the word of God, written in intricate, elegant and fluid styles… I became drawn to Islam, this was my solace. It gave me meaning, and Islam was now a big part of my life.
Then September 11th happened. By this time I was experimenting with Islamic calligraphy and graffiti art. The two passions in my life were melded together, expressing my identity as an urban Muslim born and raised in the west. As negative portrayal of Islam spread onto our TV screens, my art became a means of dialogue and media picked up on what I was doing in a big way. Gradually interest came from across the Atlantic… the home of graffiti…
I was invited to take my work to the USA, and I must say I was rather nervous, as I’ve always heard that the USA isn’t the friendliest to Muslims travelling to the USA, but I always tried to lose this stereotype, after all, I hate stereotypes. Then only one week before the planned USA Tour, we see in the UK Press how Homeland Security state that the next attack on the USA could be from British born Muslims. I’m born and bred in Britain, this is not good! What timing! I’m feeling jittery about travelling already and now this!
Well I tried to convince myself that I’m being paranoid and well, I have nothing to hide, why on earth am I worried at all? But then in the back of my mind I hear flashbacks of media reports stating Yusuf Islam (formerly Cat Stevens) being banned from entering the USA…. if he can banned, a great ambassador for peace and unity, a harmless, truly inspiring individual, then what hope do I have?!
Oh well, I would love to say that I was proved wrong and I was worried about nothing, but arriving in O’Hare Airport in Chicago, and put inside a small room full of other fellow Muslims and non-American looking people, didn’t do much to dispel my stereotypes and paranoid nature!
“You’ve been selected for additional screening” was a phrase I had better get used to by the end of the tour, said in such a nice way, as if I had won the lottery! But, none of this put me off; rather it motivated me more so. This was certainly a place that needed my work and efforts to help try and better the condition, just like I was trying to do back home in England.
Upon arriving in Chicago in the midst of severe snow storms in the middle of April, I began to worry. My first trip ever to the USA, two murals, a number of workshops, lectures and seminars all to be completed in ten days?! I had so many expectations to meet; will I be able to do all of this? I mean if we have continuous bad weather, I just won’t be able to paint at all, and I’d have to leave big empty walls. I even thought at one point, maybe I might have to paint a few random dots on the wall and just call it modern art!
On top of that, I think I underestimated the size of this Chicago wall. It certainly didn’t look that big in the picture emailed to me in the UK! This is certainly a challenge, two days to finish a 30 ft x 100 ft wall by myself and a group of kids! God help me!
I think God did help me, as it seems the bad weather held off the next day, and I got stuck in putting up the outline. Kids turned up and we did the fill-in it was going quite good. The following day the sun was shining, we made some decent progress. The outline read Salam in Arabic letters, which translates as Peace in Arabic, set against the Chicago skyline, with the tallest building in the middle – which I always thought was the Sears Tower, but I am told it was actually the John Hancock building. There was to be a mosque and a church alongside the skyline, so the whole piece was a positive message of peace and unity….
Then disaster strikes. Our friends across the street didn’t see it that way. Around midday when the sun was shining the strongest and crowd had really built up, there was a great buzz at that point. The local alderman (I won’t name him, because I have been told not to, so I shall honor that) turned up himself in his Mercedes driven by his chauffeur. His chauffeur asks me very rudely, “You got a permit for this?” I said, ”Sure, it’s a private building.” After some discussion it turns out that a complaint was made from across the street. They had said, “We have to see this crap (referring to the mural) everyday when we lost so many people during September 11th!”
What can I say? It seems the permit wasn’t the real issue, but rather the complaint that the Arabic letters that I had written that spelt out “Peace”, was interpreted as two vertical columns toppling over, representing the falling Twin Towers. After hearing this, frustrated, I crossed the street to discuss with the guys and clarify this huge misunderstanding.
They didn’t want to listen, even after explaining to them that they had got the wrong end of the stick and my artwork represented peace and unity, contrary to what they thought. Their hearts and minds were sealed. I felt for the youth that were so charged up and enthusiastic about this peace mural and this is what they get! Young children were asking their fathers “Daddy, why can’t we paint anymore?” What can a father say to his child?
At that point I thought am in for a tough time in the USA or what! It was ironic that I had traveled here to the USA to try and help with some of the issues here and this is what happens? Around three Chicago newspapers pick up on the controversy, including the Chicago Tribune, and I get calls from TV stations that want to do televised interviews. Oh man, this is blowing up out of proportion, I don’t want to be in the middle of all of this, and I’m just a simple peace artist!
I guess nothing in life is easy. But you know, it wouldn’t be much of a challenge if it was all on a plate for me. This didn’t deter me at all, I just realized once again the need for the work I am doing and how I have to strive even harder now.
ICNA, the organization that hosted me, are now in the process of getting the relevant permits for painting a public piece of art on a privately owned building (that even sounds strange!) And when it does come, I hope to return to the USA in the summer, to paint it bigger and better than ever before. My personal challenge is to involve those same guys across the road in painting alongside with me, to educate them!
So I turn my back on the Chicago wall, with only 10% progress made, but I’ll be back.
You know something I thought was interesting, the guys who complained I discovered afterwards were Irish firemen. I was told afterwards that the firemen were really affected by September 11th and were hurt real bad. However in the UK we find the Irish communities can actually sympathize with the Muslims in their treatment, with the IRA bombings in the UK; they too have also had the same issues, in being tarred with the same brush as the terrorists. Maybe it’s different in the USA?
Since we can’t paint, I have to use my time effectively in Chicago so I get a tour of the different neighborhoods by our host Jorge, of Mexican descent. We visit Pilson, the Mexican community and also the black neighborhoods. I have heard about how segregated the communities are in Chicago, but having seen this with my own eyes, I am amazed at how this is actually so. Very segregated indeed, with these pockets of different communities very much living in isolation of each other. Very similar to that of the UK, but seems more so here. I am intrigued by some of the graffiti in Pilson. The people are very proud of their Mexican heritage and I can see that coming through in their art. This is refreshing to see, especially some of the religious/Christian themes within their work. I notice these very distinctive Mexican patterns within some of their work. This reminds me of the Islamic patterns I use within my work. I feel inspired. I decide that I want to collaborate and do something here in future, maybe fusing some of my Islamic elements with Mexican iconic imagery. Jorge, our host, has also invited me to speak at his Church in Chicago in the summer, so I’m feeling good after all the negativity so far.
I meet some more interesting people from an organization called ImanCentral who are organizing a one day festival at Marquette Park, a hip hop event where they have Lupe Fiasco booked. They are interested in having me over to paint, so all in all, I met some great people in Chicago with some positive fruits for more events in future.
I was reluctant to leave the unfinished wall as it was. So many people had stopped by, even getting out of their cars to speak to me, so I felt like I’d be letting them all down. So before I left, watching over my shoulder for our friends across the street, I just had to write “to be continued…” on the wall, so they know I’m not giving up, I’ll be back….
“You’ve been selected for additional screening,” was the nice greeting I received at La Guardia airport in New York. Didn’t bother me this time, I just went along with it all. Funny that out of the group I was travelling with, it was always me that was selected. I guess it could be that I have the longest beard out of everyone!
Again the storms which had affected New York weren’t helping, having arrived at the already primed wall, to add to my problems, I discovered huge bubbles of water gathering behind the painted wall. Had to burst them, scrape them out and paint over again. I’m stressed out! Chicago wall didn’t get done, at least, God, let me finish this NY wall, for the sake of the Mougasa and Soumare Kids who died.
Watching the rain pour down, no people turn up due to the rain. I can’t just leave the wall as this morning I see a post on Urb Magazines blog “It’s raining in the Bronx today, but we got love. Come watch a mural go up” How can I just leave it? I’d be letting all the people down, even if one or two turn up, I got to stick around. There are a few committed ones who turn up and bear the weather with me. After a while I have no choice. I decide to write a message on the wall and leave: “Please Pray to God for the rain to stop.” It’s all in His hands.
To use my time productively I decided to visit the site of the Mougasa family home. An incredible sight. When I heard about the Bronx Fire, in the UK, I just felt like I needed to do something. Those 9 kids that died were like my family, my brothers and sisters in humanity. So it just made perfect sense that when I paint in NY, I paint for them; I paint for the community here. But not only is it a memorial piece for them, but also a reminder for all, that life is precious. A message to the young, live your life knowing that it can be taken away from you, just like that. So what better message to share with everyone, based on a verse from the Quran, “To God we belong, and to Him we shall return,” a message to people of all faith.
Next day God has answered our prayers. The rain stopped and the suns out. Before I begin this wall and put the outline up, although I’m eager to take advantage of the weather, I stop to make a little prayer before I paint. I’ve never done a wall that had such a powerful message before. I ask God to bless this wall, and bless me with the ability to paint today, In case I get some kind of block and I just can’t paint – yes, it’s happened before!
So the crowds build up and we continue painting, there’s a great buzz. Media turn up, and lots of it! It’s great that this memorable occasion is being documented.
I was worried about how I would be received right here in the Bronx neighborhood, would people see me as an outsider from England doing a wall in THEIR neighborhood? But I was proved wrong, I connected with all the local guys who came up and showed respect for this wall I was doing. I let them all get involved, I wanted them to have a sense of ownership, and after all, this was their neighborhood, not mine. They even pledged that they would make sure nobody ever went over this wall. I honestly do feel confident that no one will go over it, God willing.
A lot of kids actually recognized me off CNN as they were running a documentary that very week featuring the work I do in the UK, so that helped.
People surprisingly really respect what I was doing and it felt great to be accepted like this. Usually I’d be worried about spray cans being left lying around in case they get stolen, but you know, with this crowd I didn’t have any worries. We had a great diversity of people come by to the wall, and it really was refreshing to see that. From Muslim women wearing headscarves, local Bronx kids, latino kids, to regular Americans in their 60’s. This is what we needed, a cross section of the community coming together. Just like the Bronx fire brought the community together, this mural was about Art bringing the community together and speaking a universal language.
I talk to the kids that show up, explaining to them it’s not just about graffiti, explaining the deeper message of this piece
I painted this guys skateboard for him and he was beaming!
Today I begin to truly feel all the hassle I had so far in Chicago and the airports, it was all worth it. Just connecting with people like this through Art, taking graffiti art into another dimension…
The NY Times summarized it very well:
“Around 4:30 p.m…Mohammed sprayed the last of the names of the 10 victims on the wall. Women from the two families wept as they watched their dead loved ones become part of one of the most sacred forms of street art in New York City — a memorial in graffiti.”
It was near the end of completion, when I began writing all ten of the names of those that died, with the surviving families standing around me while I did that. The community watching me, as one by one, I began to write each name. This was a truly emotional time for me and everyone around me. Never in my life have I ever sprayed graffiti while trying to keep back the tears while I am spraying Never have I experienced something as powerful as this. I am spraying each name, and I hear and feel the emotion around me, as it actually hits home to everyone, what we are doing here this day. Yes it’s a great vibe, it’s a great bit of art on a wall, but it was at this point where we all awoke to the fact, this art was commemorating those tragic deaths. The message of what was being painted was the focus and not just about the aesthetics.
Painting the ten names one by one
Upon glancing around me, I see the tears rolling off the cheeks of the surviving family members]
What was mindblowing was to see the strength of this family, who lost their children, actually participate in spraying themselves. The mother steps forward to contribute, and then one by one they all step forward to assist in spraying. They all wanted to have a part
Once upon a time I used to become disillusioned as to the purpose of art, what good is it to mankind, drawing some bowl of fruit, or a vase of flowers? How does that help us as humanity? Well, this art helps humanity and now for me, Art has an amazing purpose in life, and today I have felt that for the first time. This is the power of art. This is art taken into new dimensions. It seems that prayer to God before I started this wall, well, He has answered my prayer, he has truly blessed this wall, this project, and the emotion, the spirituality going around right here, I can feel it in the air.
The evenings in New York were spent doing seminars at universities, as well interviews with various magazines and radio stations. I was presenting as part of the “Art & Islam Seminars” which have been organized by my colleagues at the Arts Council England as well as hosted by the Islamic Circle of North America (ICNA). We spoke at Columbia University and Rutgers University and it was a real contrast to speaking to the people on the street corner of the Bronx. We addressed issues of Art & Islam, and the islamic perspectives on the Arts. For example my decision to steer clear of doing characters or any figurative depiction or anything with a “soul” stems from my religious beliefs. So giving people an insight into these issues and the historical perspectives of the religion by the Arts Council and myself, was really taken in by the academics and intellectuals at the seminars.
It was at the seminars that we met Christie Zabon, who’s married to Fable, vice president of Rock Steady crew. I’d heard a lot about her in the UK, being a well known hip hop publicist, but meeting her, I found she was a really supportive of the work I was doing and it was an honour to have made that connection with her. It was her that put me in touch with the Tats Cru who emailed me with words of encouragement. So it’s all good that all the support was coming through thick and strong, which made me feel at home, being an outsider to NY, this is what I needed!
Speaking at columbia university
A vibrant crowd at the Art & Islam seminar
Going out onto WBIA radio was great, very interesting questions they asked, I liked the angle they took, I guess its because they are quite a leftist station!
Hear the WBIA Radio show
After finishing the New York mural I hooked up with a very interesting character known as “Charm” who’s a DJ and graffiti artist from Brooklyn. He heard about the wall I was painting and came by. He was making a video about international graffiti writers and wanted film me for his video. I went with him, in his friend’s big yellow humvee! Man these cars wouldn’t even be able to get down my local streets in the UK! He took us down to the famous 5 Points building I had heard so much about in the UK. Graffiti Writers back in the UK would say if you ever go to NY, you got to get down to 5 Points (formerly known as Fun Factory, I believe?) the building is covered from top to bottom in graffiti! When I got there, it really was covered from top to bottom, not a single space left blank. I did Charms interview set against the building, was pretty cool, it was dark, so we had to be lit up by the lights from the Humvee. Charm asked me some interesting questions about the parallels I speak about, of ancient Islamic scripts with graffiti script.
It was really cool to connect with people from the graffiti scene, and overall just to have an insight into the world of regular NY folks and for me to give them an insight into my world through the art which I do. I was always curious about how my work would be received here, to take the graffiti that was exported to Europe, and then brought right back into the heart of graffiti, with this islamic tip. Its been a pleasure to be here in NY.
So far I have been in some pretty diverse environments, and spray painting in one of the finest high schools in the USA would just top it all off. Ironically it was the Philips Academy in Andover, Massachusetts, the school which President Bush went to in his teens, who were the first to invite me to the USA to spray-paint. They had heard about my work and extended an invitation to me to perform some art as well as speak about my work to the school. When the word got out, this invitation soon turned into a mini USA Tour, with invitations from other cities, and then included the Arts Council of England to speak alongside me about issues surrounding Art & Islam. I’ve done a lot of work with the Arts Council in the UK and it was great to have them on board as part of the USA Tour and supporting this “Urban Spiritual art,” which is what I like to call it.
In Chicago and New York, I had no problem in getting spraypaints, a guy from www.illegalsupply.com (cool name or what!) based near Chicago sorted me out. But in Boston I had to find the paint myself, and I came across the coolest shop I ever seen.
This store had a dummy convenience store inside, even had toilet paper displayed in the window, but at the back there was a sliding door that revealed what the store was really about. Urban hip hop clothing and spray-paint! Amazing! At first I thought this was like some undercover thing, as the store doesn’t even have a sign outside, but I’m told it’s a gimmick. Amazing! I tried to take pictures of the sliding door, but they told me “no pictures of the door, that’s our policy.”
At the Philips Academy, I met some pretty smart kids at the school, so I was a bit confused and even had to double check if Bush really did study here. They loved painting, and again I got them all involved, and explained to them the meaning of the piece I was writing. See I found out the motto for the school was a Latin word “non-Sibi” which translates as Altruism – and in English we all understand – Unselfishness. This, I thought was interesting, as it kind of fits in with the spiritual words that I like to write in my work. Unselfishness is no doubt a very deep spiritual concept, about wanting something for someone else, before you. Then I was thinking more about this and thought the well known quote from the bible..”Love thy neighbor as thyself” and the quote from the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him “Love for your brother what you love for yourself”, thus exploring the common values many of the religions share, which we are unaware of.
For me it was a great honour to bring an urban art form to kids from a whole range of backgrounds. Graffiti art was something that had mass appeal to kids from working class ranging to the elite class, and it was great for me to engage them with this art form, and at the same time explore some of the spiritual values and ignorance of the Islamic faith, which also is not something restricted to a certain class or community. Rather this ignorance is prevalent in mainstream society and it was a pleasure for me to explore this issues, by using art as an alternative means of connecting communities.
I think I can be quite confident in saying I saw a cross section of the society in the USA, and engaged with them on a one to one basis. It was truly heartwarming; some of the experiences I had, and made me realize how much of this type of work is needed. Sometimes the ignorance people have is simply because of the lack of engagement they may have with someone who comes from a different background to them. As our world governments try to tackle the various social issues and problems that may exist in the western world, I sometimes think, if only they could witness what took place in the Bronx street corner, or at the Philips Academy in Andover.
Fortunately in New York, at least, everything was filmed by a film maker who captured some of the special moments during those 4 days, and I can’t wait to share that with everyone. I will be returning to the USA in the summer, to finish the Chicago mural, as well as take part in other events which I’ve been invited to. I’m speaking to a various art galleries who are interested in hosting me in future, so it’s all good. There have been a lot of fruits that have come out of this tour, and no doubt there will be plenty of more visits to the USA and plenty more “random searches” I will have to endure.
On my way out from the USA in Boston, I was selected once again, but this time I didn’t have the patience I had endured before. Since this was the last time, I thought what the hell. I said to the guys who stopped me, “Look let’s not beat around the bush, it’s not random is it? Just be straight with me, I just prefer a bit of honesty, I bet you must stop a lot of Muslim or Arab-looking guys right?” To my surprise, they were actually quite honest and replied “yea, we do, but not just Muslims, but Irish too!”
Now being back in the UK and looking back at everything, the only way to summarize everything is, that it was a one rollercoaster ride alright. It’s difficult explaining to people what took place. Its definitely something you had to have been there to appreciate what really went on. When speaking to people, “Oh you did an arts tour? Worked with kids? That’s nice.” I know It was much more than that. Much, much more than that. This was taking art into another dimension, reaching out to people you would never otherwise be able to connect with, making people see through eyes they’ve never seen through before, healing peoples wounds, mending broken chains in the community, making people smile, giving people hope, making people appreciate life…. All through what? Art.
I’m glad I made that little prayer beforehand and thank God that he removed any artist block I may have suffered! I think he blessed this graffiti mural.
UK MUSLIM GRAFFITI ARTIST PAINTS AT THE VATICAN 22nd April 2013 – For Immediate Release Award-winning Birmingham street-artist Mohammed Ali joined a Kuwaiti princess, a Jesuit astronomer, a former NBA star and the Cuban-American singing …