Islamic Museum Australia: A celebration of divine beauty / Maya Kriem


Art Opening at the Islamic Museum of Australia : the work of Maya Kriem

The colourful, organic work by Moroccan-Australian artist and scholar Maya Kriem opened recently at the Islamic Museum of Australia ( It is part of the Australian Muslim Artists (AMA) 2018 Exhibition. The exhibition was open from August to October 2018.  

An installation of felted wall hangings and lanterns that evoke the shapes, colours, textures and gentle motions of the coral reef. A celebration of divine beauty that flourishes in ocean waters.


Frills of violet 2018 - Wet and needle felted Tasmanian merino wool

Reef Textures 2018 - Wet and needle felted Tasmanian merino wool. These vibrant felt pieces recall the many curls, undulations, splits, cavities and pebbles in the rainforests of the sea.

Polyp lanterns 2018 - Wet and needle felted Tasmanian merino and alpaca wool. A quirky series of sculptures that evoke the strange and diverse shapes of coral polyps.

Welcome to Australia’s new Islamic Museum

Welcome to Australia’s new Islamic Museum

Maya Kriem : Artist Biography

For Maya Kriem, felting is a deeply engaging and invariably enchanting experience. She starts with small, wispy bits of wool, gradually adding water and applying rhythmic motion and pressure. The fibres combine and transform into a robust fabric, often taking shape and behaving in unanticipated ways. The primary type of wool Maya uses is Merino wool. It holds particular significance in her work as it represents a little-known historical thread between Morocco and Australia, the two nations of her heart. In 1797, the first Merino sheep, derived from the famed Royal Flocks of Spain, were brought to Australia. The merino sheep, which have always been highly prized for their wool, were originally introduced into Spain at the end of the 12th century by the Merinids, a Berber tribe that ruled Morocco and was an ally of the Spanish Muslim Kingdom of Granada. Maya is a Moroccan-Australian self-taught artist. She has always had a deep fascination with cultural encounters and intersections. Born and raised in Morocco, Maya has made Australia her home for the last 16 years. She holds a PhD in Cultural Studies from the University of Melbourne and currently finds her biggest joy and inspiration in being with her three home schooled children.