A mother, an artist, the voice of the voiceless.
Fatima Killeen was born and raised in Casablanca, Morocco, where she started her journey as a visual artist at the Les Beaux Arts Art School. She then pursued her studies in Washington DC at the Corcoran School of Art earning a Dean’s Merit Scholarship.
She moved to Australia in 1994 and continued her studies at the Canberra School of Art from where she graduated with first class honours plus three graduation awards.
Fatima’s journey into arts did not stop there. Since 1997, she has been involved in countless exhibition in Australia, Jordan and Morocco collecting awards and recognition along the way.
Recently, she was awarded the Australian Muslim Artist Art Prize 2021 by the Islamic Museum of Australia for her work titled The Crooked Narrative.
“My work delves into self-contradictory insolence of the perceptions of ‘Peacekeeping Nations’ a western notion of misrepresentation and motives for their involvement in the lands of Islamic nations.”
When asked about her inspirations, Fatima had only two words; human rights. For the past two decades, Fatima has been consumed with the idea of war and peace keeping especially in Muslim countries.
“I live and breathe it.”
Her work is a constant merger between the agony of war and the sublime beauty of her art.
“I want my art to have a purpose. A message to the viewers. I want them to leave with something in their heart.”
“The space within a shroud rising up from an ammunition box is an effort to provide a spiritual escape from the ruthlessness of war.
Capitalist power brokers engineer invasions that plunder valuable resources with no regard for innocent lives.
The shroud wrapped in a prayer is a reminder of when we die; taking nothing with us except a prayer.
“My work is a tribute to women in war zones who are left behind to pick up the pieces, carry out the burial of their husbands and uphold the faith of their families,” said Fatima describing her 2012 work The Shroud Has No Pockets.
As a migrant herself, Fatima understands the life of living away from home. Not only the place of familiarity but also the life of leaving family and friends behind.
“Doing this keeps me feeling rewarded as a migrant. It keeps me connected. Something to be a purpose for. We have a very short life, my dear. Find that fulfillment in life.”
When not making art, Fatima enjoys gardening, mentioning how proud she is of her garden.
“I just love sitting in my garden under the sun. Especially now that the weather is beautiful, Alhamdulillah.”
Fatima has made a beautiful home away from home here in Canberra, Australia. Happily married with a supporting husband and two beautiful daughters Amira, who is 19 and studying Astrophysics, and Yasmine, who is 17 and in Year 11 doing literature and screen writing.
The interview ended with me asking Fatima who inspires her? “Frida Kahlo”.
She continue, “Frida went through a lot in her lifetime but despite that she managed to produce over 200 pieces of art. And I would love to visit her garden one day.”