1990's Building Bridges
Exhibitions of Ahmed Moustafa’s versatile output, encompassing paintings, tapestries, silkscreen prints, and stained glass, have been held in numerous major locations worldwide. The range of mediums in which his art has found expression reflects the highly creative and productive relationships he has built up with some of the finest craftsmen and technicians in Europe, notably the weavers of the Pinton family studio in Felletin-Aubusson, France, and the stained glass producers of the Derix Studio in Taunusstein, Germany. His work is held in many private collections, prestigious international institutions and museums.
Ahmed’s rich visual vocabulary provided by his innovative interpenetration and synthesis of two contrasting traditions (Classical European and Islamic Art and Penmanship) at once lends his work a universal appeal. His work is a very personalised style and is always accompanied by concentrated and profound scholarly study. The artist’s style is as unique as his personality, and its achievement can be considered as the representation of the individual’s self-cultivation.
While much of his work is derived from sacred Qur’anic texts and is the embodiment of his own deep Islamic faith, the startling visual impact of his scriptorial palettes, which go far beyond decorative inscriptions, makes them immediately accessible as numinous images, irrespective of whether the texts can be read or not. On seeing this art for the first time, many people who cannot read Arabic, and who know little or nothing about Islam or Islamic art, are immediately touched by it on some level.
In 1997, in recognition of his international renown in the field of Islamic art, and his special position as a British Muslim artist, Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II presented a specially commissioned composition by Ahmed Moustafa entitled ‘Where The Two Oceans Meet’ as a gift to Pakistan to mark the occasion of that nation’s 50th anniversary. This masterpiece of multi-layered Islamic calligraphy was presented by The Queen at an exhibition in the Pakistani capital Islamabad, entitled “Traditions of Respect – Britain and Islamic Culture” and sponsored by the British Council.
The Queen had certainly chosen well: the timeless piece reflects the paramount importance that Ahmed Moustafa attaches to building cultural bridges of mutual respect and understanding through the medium of his art. This same theme of cultural bridge building was again evident at the 1998 exhibition of his work in the Pontificia Universitas Gregoriana, sponsored by the Altajir World of Islam Trust. It was the first exhibition by a Muslim artist in the Vatican and a milestone in the development of Christian-Muslim relations.