Outside the
Box Program

Using public art as a platform, we hope to improve the visibility of Muslim identities in urban spaces. Public art adds meaning to our cities and character to our neighbourhoods. Public art humanizes the built environment—we applied to City's #OutsideTheBox2022. Outside the Box is a program that allows local artists to construct works of art on traffic signal/electric boxes throughout Toronto.

 

Our submission "Geometric City" looks into Zellige tiles, a type of mosaic tilework in which each tile piece is individually hand-chiselled into a colourful mosaic. These tiles can be found on the columns, doors and walls of Mosque, Madrasas and other built forms. More information about zilllij can be found below. We plan to paint this design carefully and use different techniques to recreate a realistic art form. 

We're inspired by zillij and are looking forward to seeing this submission come to life! For more information, please contact info@muslimsinpublicspace.ca.

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Corridor at the Ben Youssef Madrasa, MarrakeshMorocco

Zellige

Is a Moorish art form prominent in Moroccan architecture that began in the 10th century and influenced Islamic architecture as Islam expanded further east. Geometric tiles are put in a plaster substrate to make incredibly detailed patterns in the stunning tile work. Moroccan tile patterns include squares, triangles, stars, diamonds, polygons, and stars, all fitted together arithmetically to make orderly and accurate mosaics.

 

Maâlems (master craftspeople) pass on the art from generation to generation. A lengthy training programme begins in childhood to instil the necessary skills. When making zellige, careful attention to detail is required. Pieces of clay are cut, painted and joined in a geometrical framework to produce the finished mosaic.

Dar Si Said fountain in Marrakech, Morroco

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