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Plants of the Qur'an – An evening with Sue Wickison

Yesterday I attended a talk by Sue Wickison about how she put together her book Plants of the Qur’ān: History & Culture.

The evening, hosted by Saints of Mokha, in Leicester, was a look into how the world-renowned illustrator travelled the world to study the plants, seeds, fruits and vegetables to be featured in the book.

Published by the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, the work is a collaboration with Kew scientist Dr Shahina Ghazanfar, who researched and wrote the book, and Sue who documented and illustrated the plants from garlics and pomegranates to grapes and henna.

It explores the botanical heritage of the Quran, looking at the plants mentioned in the text as well as their cultural, historical and religious significance.

During the evening at Saints of Mokha Sue spoke about how she worked with botanists to explore where to find some of the oldest living forms of the plants so they could be as true to life as possible to what was in the Quran. Her research took her to a remote part of New Zealand to discover the rare flowers from garlic to Oman and mountainous areas where plants have been grown in the same way for centuries. During her research over eight years, she also sourced material from the UK, Australia and Fiji.

Sue’s stunning botanical illustrations can currently be seen in an exhibition of 31 paintings in Bradford. They are showing at Cartwright Hall until 8 September. Open Tuesday – Friday 10:00 – 16:00, Saturday and Sunday 11:00 – 16:00, closed Mondays except bank holidays. 


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