If the winter blues get you down, vibrant colours that take the mind and imagination beyond the grey outdoors may be just what you need. Viewing a recent display of Mustafa Evans exhibits made a splendid antidote to the bleak, wet day outside.
Walking into an exhibition of Mustafa's art is a delight for anyone who enjoys experiencing the mixture of colour, texture and shape, composed in a variety of mediums: acrylics, collage and watercolour. The variety of paintings have one aspect in common in that they are all abstract pieces. However, this is not art for arts sake. In his own words Mustafa, a former teacher, writer and soldier, shares his journey with MCBDirect readers, on how he became an artist and what the paintings express.
'Having taught for many years in London primary schools, I took early retirement at the age of 46. I reverted to Islam in 1993 and found the demands of teaching children in the particular environment I was in, had little to do with the remembrance of Allah swt. I had no particular idea in mind about my future plans.
My career as an artist started with nothing more than me doodling and playing around with watercolour. There was a gradual change, however, in the quality and direction that the completed picture seemed to be taking. A tutor at training college once told me, 'Teaching in a primary school is like looking for the joy in life.' That is what I am searching for in my work.
Once I had made the journey to Islam, I realised just how unrewarding and superficial much of my life had been. God provided me with the skill, ideas and everything else I needed to make a new career for myself.
As a Muslim, not relying on living images to form either the focus or structure of a picture, I create what I suppose are 'visual poems'. When the balance of simple geometric forms, straight and curved lines, colour, form and texture are in harmony, then the poem is complete.'
One of the striking centrepieces of Mustafa's current collection is a collage called 'Dahab' (pictured) It is a grand and rich collection of colours and layers, which almost demands attention from every visitor. Mustafa gave the following insight into how it came about:
'I don't have one particular theme or idea. The theme for each picture gradually makes itself apparent as I'm working on the piece. For example, the theme for the collage 'Dahab' (gold) established itself when I decided to use gold leaf. As it progressed, I realised that the picture was about vanity and one's attachment to the life of this world, which is why I added mirrors and pearls.
I continually have to remind myself not to become too wrapped up in myself or my work, for the life of this world is very short. The constant remembrance of God is what is important.'
Previous exhibitions have been held at The Royal Commonwealth Institute, Purcell School of Music, Art Shops in the Richmond Area (Surrey) and in Mustafa's home.
Anyone interested in viewing and purchasing Mustafa's work- original collage, framed and unframed fine art prints of original watercolours, and fine art greetings cards, can email '