The First Of Their Name: Chapter Four

Wagma Mohmand/ Alif Wow Designs

In 2018, a message was posted on a local chat group for all-women’s swimming classes. I jumped up at the opportunity and signed up. Needless to say, the experience was amazing. I do regret not continuing in a proper manner, but that’s the story for another time. The first swimming session was when I met Wagma…the brains behind the initiative. She is an active member of the community, sharing her love for art via holding workshops and helping out the community to the best of her abilities. Her art will make you fall in love with her creative self. It has been immense pleasure to try my best and put forth her amazing work through this platform.

Wagma Mohmand-The artist, the entrepreneur, the founder and owner of Alif Wow Designs

About Wagma:

My name is Wagma Mohmand from Salt Lake City, Utah.  I am an Afghan-American Muslim woman who currently works as a Physician Assistant in Internal Medicine/Pediatrics with a focus on refugee and immigrant women & children’s health.  I was the co-founder of a non-profit humanitarian organization called United in Service for Humanity from 2009 to 2018. I focus on cultural competency in the healthcare setting to bridge the gap of inequality in healthcare.  I also deliver preventative health workshops and lectures to under-served populations in the Salt Lake Valley.

Inspiration behind the art:

I have always had an interest in art since my early teens, however it wasn’t until 2018 that I got back into doing art regularly as a hobby.  Initially I started doing art as a stress relief from the challenges I face in trying to be an advocate for patients and enhancing access to healthcare.  However, gradually I began to realize how powerful art is in uniting people and sending a message across. Art evokes emotion, and that’s precisely why I started pursuing again. I draw my inspiration from God’s creations around me, contemplating on the surrounding love and beauty. It helps me have a deeper connection with God. For me art has transformed into a spiritual journey. I am motivated to paint and reflect on the words of Allah (SWT).  We take many journeys in life and oftentimes we focus more on our external journeys from career paths to other achievement and ambitions. However the more I practice medicine, the more I realize how life is beautiful and short.  

Calligraphy workshop hosted by Wagma

Impact of Covid on your art: 

With this COVID pandemic, our lives have changed drastically. The world has changed and it has taught us something crucial. That in every trial and hardship there is mercy and love.  While I see patients suffering from COVID, I also see that it has given us a chance to slow down and reflect from the busy lives we were leading.  We take many things for granted and forget the blessings around us.  There is beauty and love laced in everything around us because Allah is merciful and loving, something we often forget.  I want my artwork to be a reminder of that. Allah (SWT )always loves us, it’s just that we have put difficult expectations and high goals preventing our own selves from reaching him. Painting is my attempt in expressing how I feel and putting down the walls and stepping closer to him In’Sha’Allah.

Why Calligraphy?

 I’ve always been fascinated with the art of Arabic calligraphy and the various different styles. I find the letters beautiful and want to showcase them in my paintings while also sending a message.

Story behind the name Alif Wow Designs:

I selected the name Alif Wow from the two letters of the alphabet that are commonly used.  I wanted a name to highlight Arabic calligraphy with a modern twist. 

Brand Logo

Sharing your art:

As I am going through this spiritual journey, I am documenting it through art.  I would love to share these art pieces with others because we all have internal journeys to take and hopefully it will motivate others to express their internal journeys in whatever form speaks to them. 

Challenges faced:

I would say the biggest challenge to trying to do something like I am is that it’s out of the box and not mainstream.  Mashallah there is an amazing handful of Muslim artists in the US who do admirable calligraphy.  Sadly, it is not easy to make Islamic art mainstream in the US because of the negative connotations associated with Islam and Muslims.  I think it is slowly improving but we still have a long way to go.  If people think of Islamic Art, they think of it as a foreign concept, not as part of the American culture. 

Vision ahead:

My hope for the future would be for people to recognize Islamic art as part of our American culture. I hope that people start seeing Islamic art as a story with meaning instead of just a nice decorative piece to hang up on walls.  I also want to focus on doing art classes for teens and young adults as a mode of expression.  Besides paintings, I would like to experiment in some home decor with Arabic calligraphy and abstract art. I also plan on collaborating with other artists.

Role of community for entrepreneurs:

It is very important to support community entrepreneurs because it helps foster connections and relationships that enrich the community.  Community entrepreneurs can better assess the needs of their local community and offer services to them.  

 

Advice for budding artists:

I would say for any business starting off, it is extremely difficult to go against a tide.  However, I encourage people with unique ideas and backgrounds to go on an entrepreneurial endeavor that will enrich our American society with their identities, culture, and history.  Those endeavors have more meaning and a sustaining beautiful impact on society and culture. 

Contact info:

 I will have a website coming up soon with more paintings for sale In Sha Allah.

For now check out my Instagram page @alifwowdesigns.

DM for purchases. Shipping through USA only.

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