Shemza Digital Art

Using Shemza Digital Art you can create your own artwork online inspired by the work of Anwar Jalal Shemza which could then be used in a real life art installation in the future. 


In this activity you can create your own artwork online using Shemza Digital Art. Anwar Jalal Shemza is the inspiration of this platform who came to the UK from Pakistan in the 1950s.

In 1962, Anwar Jalal Shemza created the painting ‘One to Nine and One to Seven’. Anwar created this painting as a reaction to one of his art school lecturers. The teacher described Islamic art as ‘purely functional’ and dismissed all art by Islamic artists. Understandably, Anwar felt this comment was a denial of his heritage. From this point he decided to focus his art on ‘the basics’ of a circle and a square.

Inscribed in Urdu on the painting was the quote “one circle, one square, one problem, one life is not enough to solve it”.

In the Shemza Digital platform Aphra Shemza and Stuart Batchelor use ‘One to Nine and One to Seven’ as a starting point to continue Shemza’s exploration, by creating a new online and interactive artwork, they ask the public to join them on this journey creating art that is free & accessible to all.

All contributions to the online platform will be stored in an online archive and will be turned into real life light art installations in the future.

Aphra’s previous work

Aphra Shemza uses light and technology to create her art.

What to do

First, watch the video below to find out more about Shemza Digital Art, Anwar Jalal Shemza’s work and how the platform was created.

Have a go at making your own art in the style of Anwar Shemza. The project will run until 2022. Once the project is over Aphra and her team will use all the artwork in the digital archive to create a real life exhibition. This exhibition could include parts or inspiration from your digital painting!

This helpful video gives a little more information on how to use the painting application


Try it for yourself and save your artworks to the archive. Share with us and Shemza Art on social media by using #DreamBigAtHome and #ShemzaDigital

Take it Further

Arts Council England support The Shemza Digital project. The platform was created by Aphra Shemza and Stuart Batchelor. 
If you enjoyed this activity creating your own artwork digitally you could try making a Withie Lantern and create your own light exhibition like Aphra Shemza’s work.

This is a weekly challenge activity. Why not share a photo of what you achieve on social media using the hashtag #DreamBigAtHome?

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