Ages and ages and ages (a few months) ago we ran a series on Ummahsonic about young Muslim artists on Instagram, which we snappily titled ‘The Young Muslim Artists You Need to Follow on Instagram’.
It was great fun. While all of the artists we profiled will be permanently lodged in our hearts, we will always have an extra special spot for Areeba Siddique, from Pakistan, seeing as she was the first creative genius we wrote about.
We were scanning Areeba’s Instagram for inspiration the other day when a recent post reminded us of the incredible sketchbook-diary things she’s been creating for the past few years. See:
Based on the hashtags she uses with the photos, we’re gonna call these Art Journals. Cool. Anyways, her art journals combine drawing, painting, collage, poetry and the various other creative ephemera you’d expect someone like Areeba to make. We love them.
Areeba also has a twin sister – Noor – who is also an exceptionally good artist, who also make exceptionally good art journals. See again:
[Anaphora for Women’s March 2018] Say it. Say it in the language I have spent my life unlearning. Say it from a body outlasting other [similar] bodies. This is over. Say it before the smoke becomes a glass becomes a building. Say it like that danger sign outside. This is over. Say it even after the storm has suffocated the twilight. Say it because saying it is all that is remaining. This is over. || art journal + poetry ✨ – – – This piece is written in response to the events of #womensmarch 2018. – – – 1. “This is over” is something I would like to shout in the face of opposition. – – 2. Anaphora (a poetic device) is often used in political speeches and occasionally in prose and poetry. It is the repetition of a word or words at the beginning of successive phrases, clauses, or lines to create a sonic effect.
The combined power of their artistic skill could probably generate electricity, so let’s feed off the energy by marvelling at an alternating Areeba / Noor art journal Instagram pile:
[Ghazal 2018] After Agha Shahid Ali Twenty Eighteen & somewhere, trapped in an old mirror, I too am eighteen A wrong birth-year embossed on a yellowing document Perhaps a mother had wanted me to be [twice] eighteen I grew out of a home turned house—stinking of absences My father had inherited it when he turned eighteen This body devoured guilt the way guilt casually devours a body; systematically What did life even look like when I was eighteen? My mother’s forgetful child [me] wants to remember Each dark dawn that happened before twenty eighteen || art journal + poetry ✨ – – – – (a little context: There was a document in my identification papers where my birth-year was printed wrong. If we were to go with it, I would turn 18 this year; whereas I am to turn 21. The idea of turning 18 twice comes from that lil incident) Happy new year guys 💛
[Abecedarian As Empty Canvas] After Safia Elhillo (@safiamafia) A sun burning in three shades of misery caught somewhere in a pair of eyes Did the weight of all yesterdays was [equal to] another yesterday? Forgot I had a name to set on fire [good—arson could not be my literal speciality] Home was always two steps ahead of me Ignited & angrier than the rest of us. Much like June; the start of our summers Kneeling down before going to war Like most of our warriors who Merrily leave with God in their heads || art journal + poetry [inspired by Safia’s poem ‘half-abecedarian for almo’] 🌺✨
[Part Everything Daughter] After Ocean Vuong – – – I trust water as my mother trusts Surah Yaseen to protect me from every satin wolf outside. Who would I be if not a cinnamon body part salt water part everything daughter born in a city by the sea so generous it didn’t swallow us. Smoke built a house only to name it a heart and I swapped it with the one mourning inside me. It ignites before it breaks. There is a God I begged forgiveness from and was given everything else. If you ever see me smoldering; assume, I must be apologizing with a heart on the verge of breaking. 🌿✨ || art journal + poetry (a response poem after one of my favorite poets @oceanvuong) – – (pls ignore the typo of *trusts in the second line of text image)
We are big fans of the pleasingly disordered order of these art journals. These ideas are flowing out of the twins and rather than file them away in different formats they push them together into a brilliant mixed media alchemy.
Or maybe they don’t. Perhaps these art journals are planned with mathematic precision. Either way, they look great.
And even if they’re not your thing, we reckon you could still take some inspiration from them. If you want to express yourself artistically, whether through drawing or poetry or stamp collecting, just get to it. Get it down on a page, type it up in your phone, collect stamps or whatever.
It doesn’t have to be flawless and you don’t even have to show it to anyone.