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Projects Posted • 28 Sep 2023

Quranic Illumination

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Over nine months, hosted at Bradford Central Mosque, local Muslims went on a journey to bring the ancient art of Quranic Illumination to Bradford. Guided by artist and illuminator Mahmud Manning, ten people from Bradford and its regions learned this beautiful and intricate skill and developed illuminated pages using gold, gouache and paper.

Project Partner: Kala Sangam
Project Lead: Mahmud Manning – Artist
Location: Bradford

This project has inspired future artisans, enabling a pathway for the latent talent in Bradford’s communities to emerge and to practice a rich Muslim cultural tradition, bringing participants’ own voices and values into this tradition. They worked intensively with artist Mahmud Manning to explore geometric patterns, calligraphy, paper preparation, illumination and other skills.  The project culminated in the creation of their own pieces of Quranic illumination. Quranic illumination is a form of art that uses gold to paint geometric and/or biomorphic patterns to decorate the pages of the Quran.

Video credit: Kimia Modaressi Chahardehi

The artworks produced were showcased both at the Westgate Mosque and at Bradford arts venue, Kala Sangam, where diverse audiences celebrated the beauty of the work and the richness of the participants’ achievement and its place in Bradford. 


Images credit: Amal and Mahmud Manning

“Once you’ve tasted it, you just want more of it.”
Participant – Quranic Illumination

“A lot of these skills that have been used to create this artwork, they’re dying skills and they need to be shared.”
Audience member - Quranic Illumination exhibition, Kala Sangam

The Impact

The project has fostered this rich Muslim cultural heritage and brought it to the attention both of the UK's Muslim communities and of wider audiences. Quranic illumination is a form of art that was prevalent in South Asian heritages but has not been readily accessible to contemporary Muslim communities in the UK. This project helps to open up this form of expression to these communities.

Our Donors

This project was generously supported by: