∙ Yaz The Spaz, Art For Soul, Beaudefy

SHE Canada - - CONTENT - By Ameena Iqbal

Pur­su­ing a path of mod­ern art, Rabab Al-kish­meri owner and artist of Art For Soul steps aside from tra­di­tional Is­lamic cal­lig­ra­phy, to set out on a ven­ture to add her own touch to con­tem­po­rary re­li­gious art. We sat down with the artist to get her thoughts on her jour­ney thus far.

How did you start mak­ing art? Why do you make art?

As a child I al­ways had paints and colour­ing books around be­cause that some­thing I en­joyed do­ing from a young age. I loved draw­ing, sketch­ing, paint­ing and de­sign­ing all sorts of cre­ative things. Even though I didn’t pur­sue to get a de­gree in art, it was al­ways my pas­sion. Af­ter hav­ing ex­pe­ri­enced a preg­nancy loss a few years ago, I found paint­ing to be the best way to cope with the sit­u­a­tion and get my mind out of it. Since then, I start­ing my Is­lamic art busi­ness “Art for Soul” selling my orig­i­nal work online and other events.

What made you pur­sue a path of re­li­gious art?

The idea came from a fam­ily mem­ber. And once I looked into it I found most art avail­able for us here in the west are the tra­di­tional cal­lig­ra­phy on plain back­ground style. I wanted to step aside from this tra­di­tional Is­lamic cal­lig­ra­phy and try a con­tem­po­rary ap­proach to it.

Is there a piece of art­work that you are most proud of ? Why?

My art­work that I am most proud of is usu­ally the re­cent ones. I al­ways like to try new tech­niques or new tools to get dif­fer­ent ef­fects in my work. So with ev­ery new paint­ing there is a new learn­ing ad­ven­ture. And I lit­er­ally fall in love with that paint­ing till I suc­ceed in paint­ing a new piece with a new tech­nique.

What is your most im­por­tant artist tool? Is there some­thing you can’t live with­out in your stu­dio?

It all de­pends on the tech­nique I am us­ing. How­ever, re­cently my fa­vorite tools that I can’t live with­out are sponges. I like the tex­ture you achieve us­ing them. I use them to soften brush strokes tracks, blend­ing and many other uses.

Oils or Acrylic?

I like to use sev­eral dif­fer­ent medi­ums, how­ever if I have to choose my fa­vorite will be acrylic. The main rea­son for pre­fer­ring it would be due to its fast dry­ing prop­er­ties. My paint­ing tech­nique is based on lay­er­ing and lay­er­ing of paint and I don’t have pa­tience to wait for the paint to dry be­tween lay­ers which might take weeks or more with other paints such as oil.

What do you love most about your work?

The truth is that the process of mak­ing the art­work is what I love the most about an art piece. Paint­ing gives me joy, plea­sure and a sense of ac­com­plish­ment in cre­at­ing some­thing beau­ti­ful. And if the art­work is ap­pre­ci­ated by oth­ers that is the most ful­fill­ing feel­ing that makes me want to keep paint­ing.

Fu­ture plans? En­deav­ors? Col­lab­o­ra­tions?

I am open to what­ever the fu­ture holds for me. I re­ally hope to see my­self and other Mus­lim artists hav­ing their art dis­played in some known gal­leries for all peo­ple to see and learn about the beauty of Ara­bic cal­lig­ra­phy art.

Have you al­ways been pas­sion­ate about fash­ion and style?

Al­ways – since I was a child. I never missed Fash­ion Tele­vi­sion with Jeanne Beker and use to fan­ta­size about be­ing a model. As I grew up, I par­tic­i­pated in many high school fash­ion events and even helped the mod­els with their walk.

What sparked your in­ter­est in fash­ion?

I’ve al­ways loved fash­ion, shop­ping and keep­ing up with the latest trends. Is­lamic fash­ion has blown up glob­ally, and our tim­ing seems to have caught that wave. The real in­ter­est came when I started wear­ing the hi­jab in 2009, at the age of 30.

What do you hope to ac­com­plish with your com­pany?

As a re­vert, I found it chal­leng­ing to find mod­est cloth­ing that suited my per­sonal style. I wanted to con­tinue dress­ing in western fash­ion while main­tain­ing mod­esty ac­cord­ing to the teach­ings of Is­lam. I was never one to wear tra­di­tional/eth­nic cloth­ing, and that was part of the bat­tle in be­com­ing a re­vert. That’s where the idea for Beaudefy was born. I wanted to bring some­thing dif­fer­ent to the com­mu­nity as well as to peo­ple like my­self, re­verts! I wanted to show peo­ple that one could be beau­ti­ful while de­fy­ing so­ci­ety’s per­spec­tive of what beauty should be – hence the name Beaudefy.

See­ing as you sell a va­ri­ety of prod­ucts such as hi­jabs, abayas, tu­nics and more, what is your favourite prod­uct in your com­pany?

I love flowy maxi dresses and skirts. We’ve been able to re­con­struct some classy, fash­ion­able pieces by adding length, sleeves and other qual­i­ties to en­sure they re­main mod­est, but el­e­gant and stylish.

Who is your tar­get au­di­ence?

I started the com­pany with new Mus­lims in mind - those who want to wear western cloth­ing with a mod­est twist. Of course, ev­ery­one is welcome and I’ve had a phe­nom­e­nal re­sponse from Mus­lim and non Mus­lim com­mu­ni­ties alike.

Fu­ture plans? En­deav­ors? Col­lab­o­ra­tions?

We are grow­ing! We have re­cently moved to MO­DAH in Mis­sis­sauga. That is a pro­ject we’ve spear­headed with the grand open­ing in Au­gust 2014. Beaudefy be­ing one of the brands within MO­DAH, and also home to Eastern Toy­box, Blos­som & Bean, Be-li­cious, Vic­to­ri­ous Me, Ur­ban Mus­limahs, Henna Sook, Kashkha by Hi­jabis­tas.net, Re­viv­ing Is­lamic Art and sev­eral more. The fa­cil­ity will also house a women’s only Hi­jab and Hair Styling Sa­lon with renowned makeup artists and a Café. We’re also col­lab­o­rat­ing with Vic­to­ri­ous Me by spon­sor­ing the first ever IMFDF (imfdf.ca) VIP Lounge and Af­ter Party on Au­gust 23rd and 24th where we’ll host the big­gest names in Mus­lim fash­ion in­dus­try from around the world. In doesn’t stop there, we’ve also teamed up with Ur­ban Mus­limahs for the 2nd An­nual Mus­limah’s United Con­fer­ence.

Nafiza Feez, proud owner of Beaudefy a mod­esty wear fash­ion store shares her suc­cess with us here at SHE. Trend­ing while in her tod­dler years, she shares her love of fash­ion and ex­cit­ing ex­pan­sion of her com­pany. With her rag­ing suc­cess story Nafiza tells us what she de­fines as beauty within for mod­ern style­philes ev­ery­where.

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