CASE STUDIES: TEDx at the Vatican

Mohammed Ali Street Artist

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CASE STUDIES: Mohammed Ali Street Artist at TEDx

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Mohammed Ali, is the award-winning U.K street artist, presented to an audience in the Vatican on how his Muslim faith has inspired his artwork and influenced his relationship with others. Mohammed Ali is the only British speaker invited to this first event in the Vatican State. He is an artist who has created thought-provoking street art in cities across the globe, with the aim of connecting people of different faiths.

Mohammed said, “It’s exciting to be presenting here in the Vatican, both as a street-artist, as well as an artist inspired by my Islamic faith. We live in extraordinary times where the notion of ‘the clash of civilizations’ is frequently banded about. I am hopeful that the ordination of the new Pope, will provide us with refreshing new opportunities of engaging and connecting with people.”

Already a global phenomenon lauded for its commitment to “ideas worth spreading,”’s online talks are gaining attention in Italy and other European countries through similarly locally organized “TEDx” events. Speakers from all walks of life and profession are invited at TED events to give the talk of their lives in 18 minutes or less. The Vatican’s Pontifical Council for Culture has embraced the initiative of a group of academics in Rome to organize this TEDx forum on the subject of Religious Freedom – the first time ever that the theme has been tackled by a TEDx event.

One of the organizers of TEDxViadellaConciliazione, Giovanna Abbiati, explains how the speakers were selected: “At the beginning, we really scoured the earth,” she says, looking for the right people to address the conference: “from Mexico to China, from Nigeria to Serbia…(looking) for people who have real stories to tell about religious freedom.”

The conference took place on Friday April 19, 2013.

See this Youtube video of Mohammed Ali creating a piece of art live on stage:


‘The Art of Mohammed Ali is described as challenging the oft-heard term ‘clash of civilisations.’ with his fusion of street-art and islamic script, along with conscious messages that speak to people of different faith traditions. He describes his work as, ‘taking the best of both worlds.’ and bringing back to the forefront principles that are fading away from our modern societies. Mohammed Ali was drawn to the graffiti world from early 80′s inspired by the subway art movement. After studying Multimedia Design at university, he went into the computer-games industry as a graphic designer. He soon became disillusioned with creating art for art’s sake, and began exploring with creating art, as he puts it, for ‘mankind’s sake’. Mohammed Ali’s art is appreciated by people of all faith and cultures and he has exhibited his canvas-art as well as created his public spiritual murals in the streets of major cities, such as New York, Chicago, Toronto, Melbourne and Dubai to name but a few. International media ranging from CNN to Aljazeera, have reported his work as a ‘bridge of understanding’between faith communities and he has become a regular media figure. He was awarded the South Bank Show Award in 2009, which recognises the best of British Art across all spectrums of artforms ranging from film to literature, televised to an audience of millions’.

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