Award for Birmingham graffiti artist's message of peace
A Birmingham artist who confronts the world’s problems through the nozzle of a spray can has won a top award.
Mohammed Ali has shunned an easel and brushes for aerosols and brick walls to create socially-conscious murals across the globe.
The 30-year-old’s powerful spray-paint messages are already familiar to thousands of Brummies who pass them every day.
But he is now set for wider acclaim after scooping the Arts Council’s diversity award.
Television viewers will see him on ITV’s South Bank Show tonight picking up the coveted gong.
The works fuse street arts the symbols of Mohammed’s Islamic faith and are on show as far away as Australia and New York.
Judges praised him for creating messages of peace, unity and hope.
Among his most recent displays is a 30ft mural highlighting the plight of civilians of Gaza on a building at the junction of Muntz Street and Coventry Road, Small Heath.
Mohammed, who lives in Kings Heath, said: “Awards are never something that I set out for when I started getting in to graffiti about 20 years ago but if this can help me to connect with more communities then I’m delighted.
“Graffiti is something that young people can identify with and create powerful messages.
“About eight years ago I started to reconsider my faith and bring some of its symbols in to my work, partly because they are important to me but also because Arabic script is beautiful aesthetically.
“It isn’t represented in all of my work because I consider myself a Brummie and a human being as much as a Muslim but I have used the symbols to help people consider their own backgrounds along with those of others.”