Artwork featuring plants from the Qur’an now on display at Kew Gardens

Plants mentioned in the Qur'an are being showcased at Kew Gardens -- Woman on knees looking at plant paintings

Botanical illustrator Sue Wickison painted the plants (Pictures: Youtube/Sue Wickison)

The Qur’an has more than 600 pages (which, of course, depends on the size of the print).

Among the parables and teachings, nature is mentioned throughout the Muslim holy book, specifically greenery, vegetation and flowers.

And you can now see beautiful drawings of these plants in all their glory, as they’re currently being showcased at Kew Gardens for a limited time.

Dr Shahina Ghazanfar, scientist and author of the book Plants of the Qur’an: History & Culture, and New Zealand-based botanical illustrator Sue Wickisoncreated and curated the set of artworks.

The Plants of the Qur’an exhibition features 30 paintings by Wickinson, all displayed in Kew’s Shirley Sherwood Gallery of Botanical Art.

It features a wide range of flora, from garlic and pomegranate to grapes and henna, along with information about their significance within the religious text.

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When researching her book, Shahina explored ancient Mesopotamian cuneiform texts and semitic languages of Aramaic and Hebrew to trace plants that don’t have modern Arabic names. 

‘Those were more difficult to trace back,’ she told Arab News.

‘Every plant has a historical and cultural attachment to it which we must never forget or lose’.

Grand Mosque patterns

Sue was inspired by the Grand Mosque in Abu Dhabi (Pictures: Youtube/Sue Wickison)

Meanwhile, artist Sue said her interest in Quranic flowers piqued when she visited the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque in Abu Dhabi, which is ornately decorated.

She said: ‘What intrigued me, apart from the incredible building, were the unusual botanical motifs all over the floors and columns and up on the ceilings — different from the geometric shapes.’

The exhibition features 30 paintings (Pictures: Youtube/Sue Wickison)


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