Shaheen Ahmed works with maps; cutting, layering and stitching to create small-scale reliefs. These sculptural objects contain tent-like elements that explore the idea of sanctuary relating to the destitute and the downtrodden and seek to reflect, more generally, on the history of global diasporic communities. The relief structures also evidence an interest in Islamic pattern work, particularly that of the Alhambra Palace, a building that symbolises, for Shaheen, the importance and longevity of the coexistence of different cultures and perspectives within Europe.
Shaheen has worked with the Ikon Gallery Birmingham, as an artists’ mentor. This took her to Karachi in Pakistan; she was subsequently, the lead artist on a related project linking schools in Birmingham and Karachi. Her recent residency at the Lapworth Museum of Geology, University of Birmingham, has enabled her, through collaboration with Dr Carl Stevenson, to look at the movement of people in relation to geophysics. Shaheen studied book binding and gestural mark making with esteemed calligraphers and binders in Italy as part of year long residency with the National Trust in 2007. In 2007 she received the Alhambra Award for Excellence in the Arts.
Using her brush marks Shaheen is working towards creating a light projection with her time at Steamhouse, and her studio at the Old Print Works in Balsall Heath and once a month at Lapworth Museum of Geology.