The 6th and final all female Islamic calligraphy workshop at the newly refurbished main hall of the Canberra Islamic Centre (CIC) ended on Thursday 19 November 2020. The first session started on 17 October.

The workshop was a collaboration effort between the CIC and calligrapher Ms Fatima Killeen, an artist from Casablanca, Morocco living and painting in the nation’s capital, Canberra.

In an interview with AMUST, Ms Fatima Killeen disclosed that she was drawn into calligraphy for several reasons including the fact that it’s the Holy Qur’an’s script and that she also found the Arabic script to represent a strong political statement.

From left: Azra, Fatima and Naz.

She said “Arabic looks really political as a statement like in a news headline. I find that its loaded with meaning and remarkably interesting. I use it as a headline in newspaper in my work because I want to speak about the political devastation that is happening in the Arab and Muslim world”.

Workshop participant and former president of the CIC Executive Committee (EC) Mrs Azra Khan said she gained a lot from the calligraphy class as it develops her writing skills in the language of the Qur’an. She said “We read the Qur’an every day and yet we don’t know how to write it. Calligraphy adds to the reading we do regularly and thus helps us to better understand the Qur’an as whole”.

Mrs Khan added that she will talk to the EC to work closely with Ms Fatima Killeen to continue to provide calligraphy lessons to the Canberra community and to ensure the CIC venue is made readily available for such.

Ms Fatima Killeen thanked both participants and organisers for the opportunity to provide the training to the CIC community. She concluded by saying “The calligraphy class provides an opportunity to bring the community together.” With a smile she added “As an artist I work on my own in a very lonely spot in my studio. But when you have contact with the community it gives it another level of closeness to meet with so many wonderful people”.

Ms Fatima Killeen is a veteran in the art industry.

In 1988 she was accepted into the Corcoran School of Art in Washington DC where she studied painting and photography. While at the Corcoran, she was awarded the Dean’s Merit Scholarship.

Ms Fatima Killeen came to Australia in 1994 and continued her bachelor’s degree in painting and printmaking at The Canberra School of Art (Australian National University). In 1997, she graduated with First Class Honours and three Graduation awards (VETA, Mallesons Acquisition Award & Megalo printmaking residency).

Since her graduation in 1997, she has taken part in group and solo exhibitions in Canberra, Sydney & Melbourne. The work “Stored Memories” was acquired by the Canberra Museum and Gallery in 1998. During 2001, she received the Wattan Art Prize at the Powerhouse Museum in Sydney.

She has received several art grants to assist in the production of new works. Her artworks have been acquired by the Australian War Memorial, the Australian National University, the Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission and recently the National Museum of Australia.

Ms Fatima Killeen’s private collections include works located in Sydney, Canberra, Melbourne, Morocco, Singapore, Zimbabwe, Germany, Switzerland, Los Angeles, Ohio and Washington DC.