We are over the moon! Last night we hosted our AZEEMA ANTI - ART SCHOOL in the infamous Raphael room at the V&A. We were so honoured to take over such a beautiful room with vast ceilings and grandeur. It was truly something special to occupy that space , to exist there and be seen and be heard.

This Friday Late was exploring the term Art Schooled: from decolonising the curriculum to subversive life drawing classes, explore the power and potential of art schools.

For our activity we wanted to further explore our life drawing shoot concept from issue 3, where we reinvented the life drawing experience in photoshoot and workshop form. For the Friday Late we AZEEMA’d the old school practice with an injection of culture and colour and opened the floor to all. It was a beautiful experience to see all ages and all races appreciating the concept and connecting their to artistic roots or inner child. Our 4 beautiful models were styled by our Fashion Editor at Large Ella Lucia and makeup by Becks Davenport. We are all about representation and diversity so it was important to us to have a range of ethnicities, religions, bodies to draw from. It was a huge success!

Shot by Jameela Elfaki

Shot by Jameela Elfaki

We also discussed decolonising and re-inventing art schools and education in our powerful panel talk led by our wonderfully talented and passionate Evar Hussayni. Joining her to explore themes of identity, inclusivity and personal experiences were Shahidha Bari, Danah Abdulla, Jannat Hussein and Iris Yau, representing Shades of Noir. Shahidha Bari is senior lecturer in Romanticism at Queen Mary University of London and a BBC Radio 3 presenter whose work spans literature, visual culture, politics and philosophy. Dr Danah Abdulla is a designer, researcher and senior lecturer in communication design at Brunel University, London. She is also the founder of Arab thought and culture magazine Kalimat and a founding member of the Decolonising Design platform. Jannat Hussain is a visual artist and fine art student at Central St Martins. Her work explores identity, culture, beauty and her experience of being a British Muslim woman. Shades of Noir is an independent programme that encourages dialogue and cultural value within the arts and higher education, whilst also creating opportunities for marginalised groups. We couldn’t have hoped for a more organic and necessary conversation!

Huge thank you to the V&A for making this happen, our amazing speakers, models and assistants!