+65 Convos: Awakening Arts

MS ^ Suhaimi (in blue) holding up one of many Awakening Arts t-shirt design

Salam DSH! I am M.Suhaimi and currently the Creative Designer for Awakening Arts – an independent Muslim Design Movement.

Could you share with us what you guys do?

Well, we are actually experimenting with typography to enhance the message we want to communicate to the public. Our current medium is through t-shirts. We seek to draw our message closer to the youths through creative Art & Design – a medium that is often used to translate expression and, which has a strong appeal amongst the youths.

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Share with us the story behind what got you started.

Awakening Arts started 3 years ago with the idea of creating an alternative form of outreach and da’wah. Being part of the Youth Awakening Project (YAP) we believed that every person should experience good visual design especially in the Ummah (Muslim community) which we believe can be improved! We started off with only 3 designs for the adults and it became an instant hit! That actually inspired us to produce more designs. Our latest design is for the ladies (Muslimah). They are usually the ones who would encourage us to produce more designs and so we started crafting designs for them.

For our international friends who are reading this, could you enlighten us what is da’wah?

Well, da’wah basically means preaching. What we are doing here is to inform the community about the beautiful message of Islam – especially with the rising misconception of extremism + Islamic-phobia – in a fun and meaningful way. Firstly carrying out da’wah to ourselves and within the Islamic community itself and then towards the community at large.

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How has Design help you connect with your community?

Design has helped us connect with the youths and design enthusiast from our community. Though it is a slightly different and new way of doing Da’wah, the support we get from our senior/pioneer generation allow us to broaden this new way of doing Da’wah through art and design.

What is your motivation behind what you do?

To convey da’wah messages through creativity artworks. To exploit the medium of expression that is appealing. To succeed in visual da’wah impact.

What is the best part about what you do?

I guess, I have the liberty to craft out new designs when I feel there is a need to. I remembered when I came up with the Hipster Collection while on a vacation at Bukit Bintang (Kuala Lumpur). Ideas just sprung out while I was enjoying the Arabic delicacies there! To date, our Hipster Collection is our current best seller amongst our collections!

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What have you guys been up to lately?

We are currently expanding our collections to all genres. (Adult, Kids & Ladies). Baby apparels are definitely on the list! Besides that, we are crafting this new movement and education module called #DESIGNFORUMMAH.

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Interesting! What is that all about?

#DESIGNFORUMMAH is an art movement to create awareness to the youth and madrasah’s students and public the importance of ART & DESIGN in their daily life. It is a platform to create wonderful designs that is based on Islamic terms. A platform and trigger for our daily reminder and da’wah to the ummah.

What would be your dream for our local creative industry?

My dream and vision as a design educator and crafter is that everyone especially in my community being able to appreciate and accept art & design in their daily life.

What do you think we need to do as a community to grow our industry?

To have a platform where we can frequently meet up or ‘lepak’ to discuss about design matters. A place where all of us (designers) will put our ‘egos’ aside and be sincere. It can be either virtual or a physical meetup.

What is one thing that you are proud of about our local creative industry?

I love the idea that we are a multi-racial community where we have deep cultural roots embedded in us. The best part is that we are able to craft something that fuses with our local culture, creating something where we are able to understand and appreciate in harmony.

Be sure to check out Awakening Arts
Photos provided by Awakening Arts

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