SHAFAQNA – Sister Qudsiyah Remtulla is the founder of The Visual Age, an online platform where she pairs self-development with creativity to come up with resourceful faith-based works of art. We had the pleasure of interviewing her to gain some inspiration by asking her what inspires her. Take a look:
What thoughts did you have that led you to set up The Visual Age?
Qudsiyah: This initiative was inspired at a time in my life where I fell into complete hopelessness on the route to searching for my purpose. I had just completed a course which I realised didn’t resonate with my personality, just before my final exams. The three months after that were filled with no purpose and complete demotivation.
I started resorting to books, lectures and podcasts to keep my days somewhat productive. In the attempt to share what I was learning, I started making doodle notes. For the first time in a long time, I was enjoying something; I was exploring my creative side whilst listening to something beneficial and fulfilling my ache to serve.
With du’a, feedback and support of my family and closest friends, I began to convert the doodle notes into digital graphics. The Visual Age (with the name credit to my brother) was thus born in the space of our kitchen as we discussed the potential of putting the graphics out in a public space.
Being a big believer in “creating what you wish existed” was one of the main thought processes behind The Visual Age.
We’ve noticed how your content and ideas are always changing to become more diverse. What are some things you think have helped you evolve your creativity?
Qudsiyah: Honestly, every time I look back at the work I have created, it always amazes me to see the humbling process from the generation of an idea to something tangible and of meaning.
In terms of creativity, I always ask myself one question, “what do I wish existed for me to have access to?” and whatever the answer is, I attempt to create it.
Support has been another huge launch pad for my creativity. The Visual Age has an intimate support network (i.e. my family and utmost closest friends) that enables an idea to to become something of meaning through encouragement, feedback and excitement.
What impacts do you intend for your work to have on people?
Qudsiyah: I passionately believe that we can deeply enhance our understanding by learning from material that is more visually presented, for almost 60% of the whole world’s population learns visually!
With the infographics, illustrations and the handmade, faith based items, my biggest aim is to inspire faith, hope, better learning and God’s love into the homes and hearts of others.
There is so much beauty and guidance to gain from our beautiful faith and therefore I have put together what I do and where my heart lies to make my contribution.
We love how you incorporate faith with creativity, particularly when visual learning is becoming increasingly favoured by the younger generations in our community. Do you think we are doing enough to revolutionise our methods of teaching Islam?
Qudsiyah: I do think that the awareness towards visual learning is increasing in our communities and there is a noticeable rise in the creation of more visually presented resources and activities to enhance our learning. There is, in addition always the potential and room to grow, learn and develop new ways of learning and thus I would say, the more resources available, the better!
Are there any personal experiences/thoughts you’d like to share that could be of help/inspiration?
Qudsiyah: The first thing that I would like to say is that if there is something that you would love to do or you get excited about, take an action step towards it whilst the enthusiasm is still at its peak.
The second thing is to resort to du’a in any/every situation, whether that’s to do more good in the world, to generate a good idea, to complete a writing piece, to make your life more fulfilling, anything. Allah will provide help and put opportunities in your way that you could never have imagined for yourself.
By Sabiha Rahim for Shafaqna