Rūḥ al-Άlam (Arabic: روح العالم - Trans: "Spirit/Soul of the World") also known as Visual Dhikr was born in London, to
Bangladeshiimmigrants. The artist currently resides in London, married to Egyptian artist Iythar.
He is a
Sunni-Muslim and is a prominent artist in the British Muslim community.
2000 - He studied A-levels at Leyton Sixth Form college in
Fine Art, Graphic Designand Media.
2000 - 2003
Central Saint Martins College of Art & DesignGraduated in Graphic Design.
2004 - 2006He studied
Arabic Calligraphy(Thuluth, Kufic and Diwani) in Egypt, but remains a student of calligraphy.
Ruh al-'Alam works under the title of 'Visual
Dhikr' ("visual remembrance"). In Arabic the term is referred to as الذكر المرئي. Ruh is known to be the first person to have coined the term 'Visual Dhikr' (which technically does not exist in Islamic/Muslim terminology) in the year 2000, but officially launched a public website in 2003 with the same title/concept. It is now a trade marked name.
His work involves a spiritual element in remembrance of God and his Creation (contemplation). This is often depicted in calligraphic text; which are reflective of the message. Inspiration is drawn from the religious, cultural and spiritual literature and poetry of the
Islamicworld. Often the concept of a piece would revolve around a word or single invocation in Arabic,illuminated and focused, to let the viewer fully engage with its meaning. The artwork isn’t simply a visual piece, rather it is piece of literature combined, where the viewer must read (or at least understand) the text to get the context of the piece.
Inspired by traditional calligraphy, the work involves the usage of his own Arabic scripts, with a contemporary graphic design influence; therefore many of the pieces go through a digital process at some stage. His unique mixed media approach is an attempt to tackle the stigma associated with digital art. The work is often displayed as large printed canvases, screen prints or projections.
The messages in his work combine the global concepts of unity, peace and love, a tradition that is deeply rooted in Islamic literature and thought. It aims to encourage the viewer to think, remember and contemplate on their own lives and situation and then be inspired to change.
Early work from Ruh al-'Alam can be seen [http://www.artshole.co.uk/ruhalalam.htm here] , he comes from a traditional graphic design, photography and illustration background.
Ruh al-'Alam has also worked on video and Motion FX projects, his most recent piece can be seen here on [http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1CtZoxEn9Fk YouTube - VDO by Visual Dhikr] .
2006 - He has been commissioned by Sony BMG to work on the Danish group '
Outlandish', [http://www.outlandmoro.com album cover art] .2006 - He was commissioned by Sony to contribute to an exhibition with the Sony PSPhand-held device.2007 - Commission by the KM Holding Group for Tamani Hotels, Dubai
MULTI FAITH WEEK
The Foreign & Commonwealth Office, London11th October 2004 CAMBRIDGE UNIVERSITY, UKFeb 10th 2004
KINGS UNIVERSITY, LONDONFeb 11th 2004
CHARITY AUCTION (FOR BAM, IRAN) & EXHIBITKUFA GALLERY, LONDONFeb 13th 2004
'DHIKRULLAH'(Ruh al-'Alam, Abu Ta-Ha, Mohammed Ali, Vaseem Mohammed, Raadhiyah Bint-Safar & Ayesha Ahmad)The Whitechapel Centre, LondonMarch 28th - 3rd April 2004
He has exhibited in numerous other places (UK and abroad) with different types of work; ranging from illustration, fine art, photography, graphic design and film. [needs input]
Muslim community recognition
His rise to prominence within the Muslim community comes mainly through his website presence and contributions to charity auctions. He is considered by some as one of the rising Muslim artists that have helped shape development in British contemporary Islamic art.
Recent appearances have been on
Press TVon a show hosting the topic Faith and Art.
He has also been recognised and featured in the British Foreign Office's Islam in Britain publication (circa 2005).
[http://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/3899552067 Arabesque] Ruh's work is featured in an Arabesque: Graphic Design from the Arab World and Persia
[http://www.emel.com/index.php?id=38 Emel Magazine] Ruh al-'Alam was the cover story in
[http://arts.guardian.co.uk/features/story/0,,1762066,00.html Guardian] Mentioned in "The biggest star in the Middle East is a Brit"
Guardian, Thursday April 27, 2006
[http://www.thompsonhospitality.com/unity/apa.htm Unity Magazine] Unity Magazine Article Feature
References, Sources and Media Links
[http://www.visualdhikr.com Visual Dhikr] Official Website of the artist
[http://www.mcb.org.uk/features/features.php?ann_id=154 MCB] Interview by MCBDirect
[http://writeoussisterspeaks.wordpress.com/2007/07/30/islamic-artist-interview-ruh-of-visualdhikr/ Aaminah Hernandez Interview] Aaminah Hernández artist interview
[http://www.pspthebeautifulscript.com/artists/ruhal.html Sony PSP] Sony PSP Exhibition
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