For one day only, this Saturday, Mystical Letters, the successful Sufi inspired art collection by contemporary British Muslim artist Aadil Abedi arrives in London following growing demand for his work in the Middle East and an impressive client list that includes Bollywood beauty Aishwarya Rai Bachan.
But it’s his creative journey, interspersed with adventure and risk-take as an “acclaimed artist” which has already created a buzz a head of his first solo-exhibition in London’s high end district of Knightsbridge, not least because he infuses it into his Calligraphy productions.
His collection of work gives the ancient tradition of Arabic calligraphy a modern twist as he merges the ancient style of text with contemporary design, which he describes as “Arabesque Art.”
Speaking to Al Arabiya News, he further reflected on how his work was a fusion of his mixed heritage and his Islamic faith: “I am Muslim and want to showcase the creative, beautiful side of my religion. Although my pieces are not strictly religious, I can cater to my clients’ needs. I am of both Indian (Dad from Hyderabad) and Pakistani (Mum from Karachi) heritage, and my great grandmother’s from Iran so I am a merge of all these cultures.”
At the launch of the exhibition, Aadil showed off his work to an exclusive group of VIP Sufi art enthusiasts. His passion is un missable. However, you could mistake his look for a Bollywood hero, which is no mere coincidence, having had a short but memorable stint in the Hindi film industry.
He proudly explains his journey as an artist has been “unconventional.” After graduating with an economics degree and getting fired from his first job, he took the bold step of going to New York where he secured a place in The Lee Strasberg Theatre & Film Institute, one of the most prestigious film schools in the world.
He then landed a role in an independent Bollywood film called “Mere Haule Dost” which was screened at various film festivals. But Aadil’s passion was always painting, and he decided to channel his creativity into making this his full time career. His art continues to grow from strength to strength, gaining recognition and an increasing client base across the world.
He insists his “Bollywood dream is now over.” However, he continues to pay homage to his Bollywood connection in kick starting his art career in 2012, when he was in Mumbai for a year. “I did a movie, met Abhishek Bachan, showed him some of my old pieces - which he loved. Then a mutual friend in Dubai, Saher Shaikh, introduced us again in 2014 and he commissioned a piece with his and Aishwarya’s names and a poem by the Sufi poet Rumi.”
Aadil’s Bollywood credentials fail to detract attention away from his art pieces on display, dazzling the intimate crowd gathered to view his work.
“I love the marvelous colors on display. So bold - so brave - they take words of faith to a spiritual dimension which I’m forever seeking,” explains one guest. Another draws attention to the black and white swirling dervish and states how he’s been “haunted by the image for the past few minutes,” unable to take his eyes away from what he describes as “aesthetic mastery.”
The Mystical Letters exhibition is presented by Ahlan Art Gallery, a pop-up art space initiative that celebrates both emerging artists and rising stars in the Islamic art space.
The gallery will feature Aadil's newest works from the past five months, featuring acrylic and ink paintings on canvas. The show will open to the public on the May 2, 2015. “His international exposure for the past year has truly excited us,” exclaims Mohamed Hakim, co-founder and gallery director at Ahlan Art. “Aadil Abedi is a name that will be worth keeping your eye on in the next couple of years, so watch this space.”