The 'Road to Heathrow' may not be the most spiritual or inspiring of journeys, but many of the great and the good have travelled this route before heading off to board planes for more exotic horizons. Most have done so in total oblivion of the artistic delights they're passing by, a stone's throw away from the A4.
|Everyone can help someone else, and not use their talents purely for themselves. By being helpful to mankind I see this as a way of serving God. For me, being creative is a way of getting closer to God and being grateful to God.
It is a non-descript semi that houses the treasure trove of Iffat Khan Idrus' delightful works of art. Any visitor fortunate enough to see her work will be met by a spectacular display of calligraphy, glass paintings, collages and a whole host of more experimental types of art which all have one focus praising the Creator and reaching out to others with Qur'anic quotes and Prophetic sayings.
Iffat Khan Idrus' glass painting began seven years ago, in the humble company of jam jars, experimenting with patterns and floral designs in glass paints. Yet this was only the beginning of her career which really came to fruition after she had been searching for some way of sharing the beautiful teachings of Islam. In her own words, she gives readers some insight about the motivation for her work
`I wanted to reach out to children and the Muslim community. They don't need to consider that art is drawing people and animals; there are many other ways of doing art and expressing oneself.
God has given everyone some ability and they should use their skills. I treat each item I paint as a personal thing. We should value our own skills and not degrade our own abilities. Everyone can help someone else, and not use their talents purely for themselves. By being helpful to mankind I see this as a way of serving God.
For me, being creative is a way of getting closer to God and being grateful to God. Everywhere there is so much ingratitude to God, yet He still provides us with so much beauty and so much to be thankful for. Our own gardens are so beautiful, I wonder about Jannah (paradise) and how that will look.
In our community there are many misconceptions about art. For example, in a bazaar, where I ran children's workshops, a boy wanted to paint a mug- he was discouraged from doing it by an adult relative saying that everyone will laugh at him for painting. Being creative is not a girl's thing only!'
Her art work is done primarily on large glass frames which combine a number of styles to produce a mixture of traditional Arabic calligraphy laid above a variety of backgrounds. Other popular items are vases, lamp stands and glass containers, each with unique designs. When starting out Iffat was fortunate to have the guidance and help of Abu Mustafa, the renowned calligrapher and artist.
Close up, each piece is a unique blend of textures and colours, to bring a harmonious feeling of the natural, particularly aquatic world and its colours. Other pieces draw on more intricate designs which synthesise traditional and contemporary tastes with striking contrasts in contour and shades. Iffat experiments with leaves, glass, gels, burning and baking paper, sewing, even crushing small objects to produce an effect that goes beyond a painting in a frame. Anyone who has seen Iffat's 2003-4 collection will be hard pushed to place her pieces of art in one particular category, for the inspiration for her style is multi-dimensional. On the one hand she has been influenced by some of the art nouveau names such as Charles Rene, whilst also being inspired by the Islamic ceramics, tiles and mosaic and metal work from around the Muslim world.
Iffat's work has primarily been available at Muslim events and conferences and has sold in Birmingham, at various locations in London and was notably auctioned at the Launch of MCBDirect last year in July. Some of her works are also part of Wycombe Council's moving exhibition called 'Salam Wycombe' which tours England. Much of the proceeds go towards the Education and Welfare Charity 'Al -Ansar' and the Muslim Women's Helpline.
Where ever your travels take you this summer, remember the 'Road to Heathrow' could take on a whole new meaning if you stop to view Iffat's art!