Sunday, January 29, 2006


Exhibition Opportunity!



Does faith inspire or feature in your work?

Are you a visual artist or crafts maker?

If yes we would like to hear from you...

Saint Martins Arts in partnership with the Faith and the Arts website are inviting visual artists from across the country to submit applications to exhibit as part of the Faith and the Arts exhibition to be held at St Martin-in-the-Bull Ring Church, Birmingham.

To submit your interest you must meet the following criteria:

*Have work ready and available to exhibit between 27th February and the 13th of March 2006
*Have work that is inspired by faith or features faith as a central theme
*Be able to show evidence of two samples of work you would like to exhibit
*Submit a resume of work and exhibitions to date
*Be available to mount work for the exhibition at the Church if successful

This invitation is open to artists of any background who meet the above criteria and is open to both amateur and professional artists.

Expressions of interest and samples of work need to be sent to Abid Hussain at alternatively you can register your interest via post to:

Abid Hussain - 82 Granville Street, Birmingham, B1 2LH

Please ensure you include a resume and evidence of work you would like to exhibit. The deadline for submission is the 10th of February 2006. Artists will be informed of the outcome no later than the 17th February.

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Sunday, January 22, 2006


How 'Sure' Let Me Down!


Well I've got a room of mess.. as over the past few weeks (call it a month) the Mail has just gathered alongside bits and bobs that I picked up and never put back - rather I put them down :-)

For those who think I don't blog enough - I'm really sozzy folks. And for those who question how I can blog when my fingers and hands hurt - I actually blog in bits. I used to blog into a Word document .. but nowadays I 'Save as Draft' and return. My fingers are blazing fire at the moment but the following has been an issue on my mind for several months:

"No - get the 'Cool Blue' please!"

"er.. OK!"

She returns with a can of Deodrant rather than Roll-On!

"Oh you idiot - "

"You said: Cool Blue?!"

"Yeah but I meant the Roll-On, I've already got Body Spray!"

Well - duh! What on earth is going on?! Last summer I was indoors and my sister was shopping with her friend, so I told her to buy an item of rather basic toiletry for me. Wearing a sling limits the carrying capacity of an individual. I couldn't get ready and go out to the shops for one item! She brought me back a can of Deodrant rather than what I had asked for!

Er so what? Was I gonna throw it into the bin because it wasn't what i asked for? Well of course not! However, I was very saddened when I opened the cap. Unlike 'conventional' spray cans - this required the application of firm pressure to release the spray... something I couldn't do!

And it made me think about disability and it's limitations on ones' lifestyle. Everyday we do so many actions and fail to think of the bodily processes which allow us to be able to take a shower, eat our food, go shopping, open doors and use deodrant!

However for many people little actions such as Using deodrant or body spray can be cumbersome. I remember I couldn't tie my hair into a pony because my hands would hurt if I put them behind my head - I had to purchase a head-band to keep my hair back.. something I hadn't done for years as head-bands often caused my head to start hurting.

We live in a society which still has places that don't have ramps for wheelchairs and pushchairs. A society where in certain buildings there are no lifts. We should take a good look at the things around us and see how they would impact on our lifestyle if we had a broken thumb? A poorly elbow? A bad knee? limited vision? The list is endless.

It is not only Sure which has let me down though.

In our society many many people continue to live in ignorance about disability. Some of us like to think that all disabilities manifest themselves physically. Whereas others think that a disbaility is only when you sit in a wheelchair or cant see or hear. Those who think in such narrowed definitions are reminded - please re-think and re-learn what you think you know.

There is also an attitudanal change required: Please don't think disability affects only those people in wheelchairs or the old man living down the road, or the little girl who was born blind. Disability can affect any of us at any time. Whole families are affected by the limitations of one a loved one, it is not something that an individual deals with alone.

I stayed seated at the Cafe after finishing lunch, with bags of shopping - waiting for my sister to return so she could pick it up. I knew people were looking at me as I was sitting there alone with an empty table just before New Year. But I also knew it would hurt my wrists to carry all the shopping by myself. So yeah.. I continued to sit like a weirdo. I guess after almost a year of illness one gets kinda 'used to' an adapted lifestyle eh? I did feel like an idiot though..

The lack of a physical sign eg a bandage, a wheelchair, a plaster, a stick, a crutch etc is not always helpful. I cannot continue to wear a sling now - I hate wearing bandages even for support. And it makes me very cross to know that I must sit indoors when my hands hurt as I don't want to wear the bandages. Its very irritating wearing bandages and my hands have had enough of them. I simply just 'rest' them at times and do 'nothing' with them.

I recall a conversation with a friend who told me that as a child she had broken a leg and after many weeks when the plaster was off and the crutches were no longer by her side.. one day after school they headed towards the bus-stop. Alot of kids were running to the bus so they could catch it on time. And she couldn't run.

Her friend told her it was OK and held the bus whilst she paced up - only to get told off by the bus-driver who thought she was 'taking her time' and 'taking the mick' too.

My doc taught me something amazing:

We need to revolve our lifestyle around our health NOT our health around our lifestyle.

More about this later :-)

And as for Sure it gets the thumbs down from me!

Peace & Prayers

Bint-eh Adam

*This entry was started on 12th January
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Thursday, January 19, 2006


Visual Effect - Beauty

I may aswell continue with McNiffs' work as the book (Art Heals) is really helping me put alot of what I feel about art into a neat view.

There is an oft-recited Hadith (saying of the Prophet):

"God is Beautiful and He loves beauty"

Mcniff speaks about this in the art-work visual artists make. He argues that it is the act of looking at the work which defines what "art medicine" is all about.

I cannot agree any more.

We are taught that to look at the Kabah entails many rewards and blessings. A simple action but one which entails a deeper process of healing for man - as he gazes towards the House with a desire to lose himself in its' entity and give himself into its' refuge.

Looking at art is immensely pleasurable. What more can a soul desire when what one sees is a reminder of the Divine?

This was one of the reasons why I started the work on the concept of The Garden over 18 months ago. I have found that just thinking about this aids me in appreciating an attachment for it, as the place of origin. The meadows are disappearing quick and we are losing sights which reminded us of those celestial moments.

But on canvas, well -

The ability to invoke a sense of harmony, a spirit of peace and a moment of tranquillity helps those 'looking' to attain some form of equilibrium in their lives. For essentially it is not the art-work but the Message itself which causes the spirit to excite in Remembrance.

That is why I chose for the website, the motto:

"Verily in the Remembrance of Allah do hearts find tranquillity"

The Quran - Chapter 13, Verse 28

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Sunday, January 15, 2006


Thinking Loud: Art

"Once Christopher's distinctive style was perfected through developmental stages of imitation, he began to move away from the relatively safe process of working from other people's art."

Source: McNiff, S pp.49 -

This is what I came across a couple of nights ago in the book I am currently reading.

Those of whom have asked me "how it all happened" for Tranquilart will have been very disappointed when I told them that I am not an artist with a list of acadamia in the field. I did not do GCSE Art, A Level Art or Art in my degree.

My experiences in arts classes were not always fruitful.. one of the reasons was because I could not understand why we had to do the boring homeworks. Why was art so limited to drawing? Is art only about drawing? What if you don't like drawing - does that mean you can never be an artist? Why did we have to 'fit in' our creative expression into what the teacher said? Surely if art is about expression - then we are entitled to our own personal one?

Thus I didn't take art any further after the age of 14 :o)

However, I knew it was something I was good at and stored it away. And then as most people do in our orthodox society - I did my GCSEs, A Levels and Degree, never stopping to think about what had been stored within me.

The last time I was "taught" art was in early summer 2004 when I attended a 2-day workshop on Art and Education in a College of Higher Education - and I did a self-portrait, pottery and a few other bits and pieces. At the same time our teacher did what my previous arts teachers did not do:

He told us to believe in ourselves and that there was nothing stopping us from becoming good artists. He gave a session on Picasso and rather than elevating him, told us how miserable his life actually was, indicating how we could all do better!

Years went by and I guess cobwebs began to veil that which had been put under lock and key. Until came one day where the need arose to pay the old guest a visit ..

And here I am today :-)

McNiff argues in his book how almost all of us have an artistic streak and how it is often lying dormant within. It is only when the conditions are correct that it manifests itself.

Returning to the original quote:
It is true, I did feel alot "safer" copying designs of calligraphy which were done centuries ago onto glass. It was an excellent ground for sowing the seeds of my creativity. Also, it made me feel good spiritually as the designs I used were all the more 'closer' to the period of Revelation in comparision.

One takes a great big risk when they start to do new things. There is the constant self-questioning of whether what one is doing is right or wrong in the Divine Scales. Furthermore I asked myself whether people would accept my work if it wasn't a-mirror to those ancient-old designs. What if I made a mistake? But I haven't done an Islamic Calligraphy course - Oh no! What will people say to me? That I am a cop-out?! That I am cheating? What about all those arty people who have been doing art since school-days? They will absolutely hate me! Such thoughts found themselves into my mind and would not let me sit still.

I have a problem with sitting in one spot for longer than x amount of time - and there came a point where I couldn't take it anymore!

"Right!" I thought. "I'm fed up of this now! I will just have to do what I can!"

And I did!
Of course the whimp I am I took loads of advise from anyone and everyone. As I said before - taking risks and doing something outside the "safe zone of imitation" is not at all easy :-)

A few years later - how do I feel?
Well, I feel that more and more of Tranquilart's work will be reflecting a journey. There is a story I am rather eager to start narrating.

InshaAllah :o)

Peace & Prayers
Bint-eh Adam x
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Tuesday, January 10, 2006


From last year!

I was checking out the local beebs' site .. and this appeared again :o)

In the City of the Prophet
By Bint-eh-Adam, site user
Bint-eh-Adam shares her emotional Hajj journey to the City of the Prophet.

And Images I took before the digi-cam days!

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Sunday, January 08, 2006


A lovely email...

Date: Sun, 08 Jan 2006 22:15:55 +0000
Assalamu alaikum Dear Sister

My names ******* and i am from *******. I dont usually keep up with deenport but somehow i ended up on there today and i was just browsing.. and i came across your site.

I dont kno who you are or what your situation is or anything like that (i jus got the 'camels' bit :-P) but i just had to say salaaaaaaam ya ukhti
just salam


like one of our beloved teachers Sheikh Abdul Aziz says, know the weight of what you are wishing up your brother/ sister when you say #salam alaikum
and i wish upon you every goodness for success in this life and the next.

It may soun far fetched, almost silly or even strange.. but i feel something deep within me for you. like i know you? but it doesnt have to mean i really do i guess... perhaps its the essence of sisterhood.

whatever the case.. please remember this miskeena is always here for you. if you ever need anything sister, let me know. please, the honour will be mine.

take good care. may Allah bless you.

assalamu alaiKUM!

I really am blessed :')

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Tuesday, January 03, 2006


Leaving the Mental Health field

Salam and Peace to all

I recently replied to an email from my Manager regards my plans for the new term where I told him that I feel like taking a break from the Mental Health field until my own stamina is over 110%.

I never thought I'd actually say this, or realise it in this manner - but working within the mental health field does require a tough stamina; both physically and mentally. I am typing right now with a bandage on either wrist for support as it's that moment of time where my wrists are a little more 'delicate' than usual.

I have worked within mental health since 2001.. and started my job on September 10th! However, since last academic year (September 2004) my work became exclusively within the mental health field ie all my students were 'mentally unwell'. Prior to this I was teaching 'mainstream' students too.. as I was completing my teaching qualification.

The job itself was my 'dream job' and I had felt the vacancy was 'tailor-made' when my mate (and colleague since I began the teaching profession many years ago) emailed me about it.

However, it is only upon reflection that I come to realise the amount of physical stamina and energy required in the job. Teachers are meant to be happy-smiling people who go into classes and cheer up the students' world; encouraging them to broaden their horizons and tap into (and liberate) their thinking and creativity. Well at least that is what we are trained to be!

Teaching within mental health is quite different. As a starter one must be completely conscious of their own prejudices and not allow any of them to spill into their classroom practise. This means being extremely careful in using non-discriminatory language and exhibiting non-threatening body language.

The fact that someone is a teacher doesn't just mean they are employed to do a job (to teach a syllabus) to a group of people by the institution. It means more than that. Just as we are taught that the "wet nurse feeds more than milk".

It is the metaphysical entity of the one known as a "teacher" which adds to their job descriptor.

Back on track: In mental health teaching, from my own experience..

It is of paramount importance to be conscious of the student: both as a learner aswell as someone who is recovering from a 'flu of the mind' as I call it. Thus an element of the job is about working towards a balance of this dual understanding of the student one works with.

As a teacher you are in a unique role; for you are neither a social/care worker nor a nurse/counsellor to the individual you work with. You are a Teacher. Something quite different. You care and counsel but essentially teach.

This is something to celebrate as you 'come in contact' with the individual during the period of time where they are trying to 'move' towards some form of normality. You are a rehabilitator. The difference a good teacher could make to a learner is immensely rewardable.

It is a great position to be in, the fact that you have a relationship with the student for x number of weeks means you are able to see the students' progress. This mimics our own successes in life too.

Taking a step outside of the mental health field I actually feel a little numb at the moment. I have no clue why I am moving away from the job I love and the field I find so rewarding. It is a job that I would come back home to feeling like a human each day.

I spent half of the daylight hours of yesterday in bed and (if it wasn't for the daily prayers a Muslim must tend to) would have spent most of it in bed - My levels of energy and concentration seem to be becoming shorter and shorter.

I can only hope that these next few months will help me attain a level of 'good health' suitable for returning to normality. In the meantime I would recommend folk to move into the mental health field if that is their interest. It is a field which needs more creative energy today than ever before.. I shall blog this some time soon InshaAllah.. For now, I need my sleep.

Peace and Prayers
Bint-eh Adam
x x
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Sunday, January 01, 2006



What a year!

Everything in this world is leaving us - fast - just like 2005:

January - The year started with a Hajj Feature on the BBC site and my becoming an affiliate with Ulfah Arts.

February - This was quite a month; Shaeed (my designer) was working on the designs for launching the Catalogue to raise moneys for the local hospital, and I had got the students involved in my concept of The Garden -

I started the week as a Fulltime Teacher working within Mental Health: a dream job I had waited so eagerly for beneath my feet; friends on my side, and looking forward to the Catalogue launch.

By the end of the week, I asked Shaeed to close my website: I was on sick-note and my hands were in chronic pain. I could not hold a pen with grip without screaming in tears. The earth had pretty-much disappeared from beneath my feet.

March - A time for reflection and agony. I cannot even begin to recall the emotions I felt: anger, frustration, pain, disgust.. I felt like I had fell into a dark well and got trapped in there. This is also when I picked up a gift I had received 5 months earlier.. The Alchemist :')

April - Friends assisted in dictating and typing for me and I was able to Update my whereabouts. I thought a lot about my scenario and my dependence upon others for the simplest of things like making a cup of tea or washing my hair... and disability.

May - I set out to find my camels in Tunisia.. and got a spanking from my friend who reminded me that "Tranquilart is resting" ... I discovered my reading books.

June - The pain stayed and my sick-notes continued to be extended.

July - My meeting with a physician and becoming a 'Face' behind the Faith.

August - A time to learn and be inspired.

September - I hit the Big 3-0 and started the Heart Warmer not to forget good-old Diedre.

October - I decided to say Thank You and my Camels spoke about Niger. Some form of 'normality' began to return with the talk of Girls and Make-up.

I was tagged online for the firstest time ever! And then came my beloved followed by a tragedy only to leave me once again.

November - A month of results, and a reflection on the meaning of Tranquilart. I accepted my Mess as my own and realised that Smiling was the best policy to adopt in the midst of rubbish.

The Inspirator returned and so did my Migraines :( ... But I started once again thinking seriously about Art.

December - A time to dance and write about a Magic Wand I'd had for many years. I purchased a pair of knitting needles and learnt the value of a stitch.

As the year drew to an end - I thought more about Womanhood.
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