Ahmed Moustafa is an artist and scholar of international repute and now a leading authority on Arabic art and design. Initially trained as a figurative artist in the neoclassical European tradition, and drawing his inspiration primarily from Renaissance masters, he subsequently rediscovered his Islamic roots.
His work is now almost exclusively devoted to abstract compositions inspired by texts from the Holy Qur’an. He has created an astonishingly rich visual vocabulary through an innovative fusion of his skills as a painter and as a master scribe in the tradition of Islamic penmanship.
Ahmed Moustafa has lived and worked in London since 1974 and directs the Fe-Noon Ahmed Moustafa Research Centre for Arab Art and Design, which he established in 1983. He has taught and lectured in many parts of the world, and is currently a visiting professor at the Prince of Wales’s Institute of Architecture, London, the University of Westminster, London, and the Faculty of Fine Arts, University of Alexandria, Egypt.
Exhibitions of his 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 institutions and museums in Britain and Egypt.
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.
Ahmed Moustafa is now a consultant in Islamic art and design on many private projects throughout the Middle East. He has designed several new Arabic typefaces as well as corporate identity programmes and logotypes for numerous organisations. The versatility of his prodigious output can be gauged from the diversity of his projects: tapestries for the Royal Pavilion, King Abdul Aziz Airport in Jeddah and the Royal Reception at King Khalid Airport in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, and the Exhibition Lobby of the Conference Centre in the Sheraton Hotel in Doha, Qatar – the latter commissioned by the Qatari government and measuring a gigantic 10m x 5.2m – and the National Bank of Luxembourg.
Works by Ahmed Moustafa are also held in The St. Mungo Museum of Religious Life and Art, Glasgow; The Contemporary Islamic Collection, British Museum, London; The Oriental Department, Ashmolean Museum, Oxford; The Museum of Modern Arts, Alexandria