From photograph to painting

Peter's photo of Sayyidah Zaynab in Syria inspires oil painting.

In 2007 I was blessed to spend time in Damascus and several parts of Syria. It was an incredibly beautiful and inspiring experience that I will cherish forever. The friendly locals, the layers of history visibly interwoven through ancient cafes and stunning architecture. Visiting Sayyidah Zaynab mosque was mesmerising and spiritually uplifting. I felt immersed in gorgeous tile mosaics, masterful calligraphy, sparkling reflections and the unifying presence of a golden majestic dome.

It was a delight to see Salwa’s wonderful painting of my photograph. She has captured and expressed the experience beautifully and I’m grateful to creatively connect with her work in this way alhumdulilah.

Salwa had also visited Damascus as a child which paved her way toward a love for Islamic Architecture, patterns, Arabic calligraphy and art. "I began obsessing over the details on the walls of traditional historical homes and beautiful masajid."

She started painting in 2010 and looks for two things before deciding on what to paint: 1) It must have a deep spiritual meaning that ignites the love of Allah and 2) It must be soothing to the eyes.

Salwa shared that she came across Peter Gould’s photo of Sayyidah Zaynab Mosque while she was searching for photos of the Dome of the Rock.

"There were many photos I looked at, but his photo stood out amongst the rest. As I scrolled through the hundreds of photos, I stopped at this one and was simply in awe of the image capturing the most beautiful elements of the mosque; the lighting and angle enhanced it even more. I felt it enter my heart and I decided to paint this photo, rather than the Dome of the Rock."

Check out @salwanajmart to see more of her beautiful artwork, with many also available for purchase.

Explore more of Peter's journey & personal story here and his travel photographs here.

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