Abdul Badi - Abdul Musawwir was born in the urban wilderness of Cleveland, Ohio in 1949. At the age of seven, he received a scholarship from the Cleveland Museum of Art. In the 60s he studied with eminent African American artist Nelson Stevens, at Karamu House in Cleveland. Throughout grade school, he won 1st place awards for a variety of art contests. This brought him scholarships for studying Fine arts at Kent State University, Boston University, and Mass College of Art. He proudly embraced Islam in 1968.
Between 1970 and 1971, he was commissioned by the city of Boston to produce two large wall murals – one in the South End and the other being the largest mural in the New England area, in the Mission Hill area of Roxbury. In the early 70s he left school and the art world and went on a spiritual journey to India. On his return his career changed focus to more spiritual human services – he worked for more than 25 years as counselor in drug programs, halfway houses, and eventually, as imam in a maximum security prison. In the late 90s, he traveled to United Arab Emirates and was inspired to come back to his artistic roots that resulted in studying with master Arabic calligrapher, Ali Nada Al-Dori in Sharjah, UAE.
His challenge was to combine north and south, east and west. For Abdul Badi, the highest form of western art is abstract expressionism and eastern art, Arabic calligraphy. The mission is to build a bridge between the two that will lead to a path of enlightenment. More recently he taught art in community based programs and worked as art director and instructor for the Boston area Islamic school system. He is also the founder and current director of UMAA – United Muslim Artists Alliance, and he has taken part in numerous collective and individual shows from Boston to Dubai.