Birmingham-based artist Farwa Moledina is going about reclaiming the narrative around Muslim women. She told The Guardian, “I think there’s an erasure of Muslim women in contemporary art. There’s a singular narrative that you find in museum and gallery spaces. There’s never an alternative presented.” Her upcoming exhibition, Women of Paradise at the Ikon Gallery in Birmingham, is inspired by the four women named by the prophet Muhammad as the Women of Paradise: Khadijah bint Khuwaylid, Fātima bint Muhammad, Maryam bint Imran, and Asiya bint Muzahim.
“There’s something about each of their stories that are examples to us Muslims. Their strengths, their bravery, their faith and their independence. They are role models,” she said.
Farwa Moledina’s work is often a study of the female Muslim identity. She is most interested in how the western historical art narrative portrays the Muslim woman, and whether this has impacted how Muslim women are viewed in the contemporary world.
She explores these issues through the use of pattern and textile. The patterns she designs are inspired by the Islamic Design Principles, such as those of recurrence, symmetry and abstraction. The use of textile is an important aspect of her work as textile has evolved from being a craft concerned with the domestic to being reclaimed by women artists, re-establishing textiles as an art-form within a patriarchal narrative.
She has exhibited widely within the UK including at Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery, the Midlands Art Centre, The Holden Gallery and the New Art Gallery Walsall. Internationally, she has shown in Lahore as part of a collateral exhibition for the Lahore Biennale and at Warehouse421 in Abu Dhabi. Moledina will be showing a new work titled Women of Paradise at Ikon Gallery between 9th September and 13th November 2022.
Her work has been acquired by Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery, The New Art Gallery Walsall and private collectors.