Zellidge, Degree Show, Geometry
Image courtesy of Mohammed Abdul Aziz

News 29 July 2020

Degree Show 2020: Meet this year's graduates - Mohammed Abdul Aziz

Introduce yourself and your work. What ideas and themes are important to you?

I was born in London and received my early Islamic education from the Indian subcontinent and later received my degree in Alimiyyah (Islamic Sciences) from the Institute of Islamic education, Dewsbury.

My time at The Prince's Foundation School of Traditional Arts Provided me with the tools to have a more spiritual connection with Islamic art, especially Islamic geometry, where the idea of creation itself is embedded within the lines reminding the viewer that everything is produced from the centre and that everything is connected back to the centre (representing God created everything and everything will return back to him.

What materials do you use? Why are they important to your practice?

I am mainly working with watercolour, gouache or natural pigments on prepared watercolour paper, I find these materials important to portray the beauty of Islamic geometric patterns using different colours or contrast and shell gold to illuminate a painting.

Describe your studio to us – what would we find?

My studio space mainly consists of the tools used for geometry e.g. Compass, straight edge ruler and pictures of Islamic geometric patterns from across the world as a reference to be reconstructed and repainted.

How has the lock-down influenced your work? What new things have emerged in your work because of the restrictions?

The main focus for the second year studies was initially Zellidge Tilling and parquetry but unfortunately due to the circumstances, the plan had to change since I wouldn't have access to the tools required to create ceramic tiles and wooden objects.

I reverted to painting geometry instead and expanded my pattern range from just Moorish Zellidge patterns (mainly found in Morocco) to dual-level Girih patterns (mainly found in Persia)

What drew you to the School, and what do you want to remember about these last two years?

The school's extensive research in Islamic geometry through the teachings of amazing geometers like Kieth Critchlow and Paul Merchant.

The thing I would remember the most from the school is the friendly environment it provides to everyone, no matter what religion or race, and the comfortable workspace and support from staff and fellow students.

When we’re all able to be out in the world again, what are your hopes?

My intention is to take this knowledge and pass it on to others, not just a way to visually ordain an object or building structure but to teach others as to why this type of art was used and with what intention did the masters in Islamic geometry carry on this amazing practice.