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  • Kasim Tariq

Incredible highlights of 2022

By Kasim Tariq

Welcome to our brand spanking new website!! We hope you like it because we pulled out all the stops for this launch. With the new Youtube page, website and workshop renovations you can be sure we’ve been kept entirely busy. Now since the last time we posted a blog (shamefully over a year ago… woops), we’d just formed the idea of an urban regeneration project.

Since then we have gained some serious traction!

Thankfully we secured some basic initial funding through Bradford Council which allowed us to start the clear up of the old derelict basement. We removed over 6 maxi skips of rubbish and traded just under a tonne of metal to clear the space out. LEAP, an organisation that supports social enterprises, funded us for our renovation through an Arts Council grant. This has allowed us to install three phase electricity in the space, repair the space and purchase some materials to build our wood-fired kiln. With thanks to the Wickes Community Program we were supplied with timber and plywood to replace the ceiling. Check out our latest video on Youtube where you can watch the transformation of the space.

Since embarking on this journey, I’ve met some incredible people who are passionate as I am about bringing art and helping reclaim cultural identities in Bradford. We have been developing an extensive range of courses to offer the public covering islamic heritage arts, pottery and woodworking techniques. Our new board member Mahmud Manning, who has extensive knowledge and expertise in islamic arts, namely Calligraphy and Quranic illumination, will be one of our teachers.

I find it astonishing, how word of the project travels with me being utterly oblivious. I have been so engrossed in the renovation of the building and during concrete, that when I pulled out my phone to read “ His Majesty King Charles III invites you…” I almost threw my phone into the wet concrete slab we’d just laid. Thankfully I didn’t .

At the beginning of November, I had the privilege of Meeting HRH King Charles at Bradford City Hall. I was invited as part of 30 Entrepreneurs making an impact in Bradford, that the King would liked to meet. We spoke regarding The Prince’s Traditional School of Arts being a key inspiration with it having an extensive curriculum on Islamic heritage arts. We discussed the lack of accessibility for the Muslim and ethnic communities. I also met a very old friend Haris Akbar, boxer for team GB . We both trained at Police Boys Boxing Academy for many years, coached by Julien Cyprien. He’ll be proud to find out two of his boxers met the King (although I did go the arts route).

Team GB Boxer Haris Akbar & Kasim Tariq meeting King Charles
Team GB Boxer Haris Akbar & Kasim Tariq meeting King Charles

We’ve still got some work left to do before we’re up and running. We’re trying to trade a pile of stone for flagstone slabs to finish a portion of our work area. This should be a straight swap and saves the stone from ending up in a landfill. We’ve tried reclaiming as many bricks and stones as possible which has allowed us to progress with the build but we still need to purchase major equipment, furnishings and install an accessible WC.

Two years ago when writing the idea and business plan, I could never have imagined the scale of this project let alone where it would take me. I can firmly say, I’m very happy to be embarking on this incredible journey. Fayakunu is an experiment where we have hybridised social impact with art, heritage and interior design. We teach resin casting so it can be used in the automotive industry. We teach pottery and ceramics so it can be applied to interiors and lighting. We teach heritage arts to reconnect. We teach to catalyse change.

Head on over to our Crowdfunder page where you can help us in establishing this workshop for the community of Bradford. Share our story with your friends and family and help us draw attention to this revolutionary project.

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