AN INTERNATIONALLY- recognised ceramic artist who is inspired by her religion, heritage and travels is to show her work in East Lancashire for the first time.

Burnley-born Shahida Ahmed uses her base in Higherford Mill, Barrowford, to create her master-pieces, which have featured in major exhibitions in the UK and Pakistan.

Now the mum-of-three, who lives in Nelson, is displaying her ceramic art alongside another internationally-acclaimed Islamic artist, calligrapher Sabah Arbilli at BBC Radio Lancashire, Darwen Street, Blackburn, this month.

And the former primary school teacher and former Nelson and Colne College student has revealed she was chosen from a group of eight women to appear in an advert which is due to be released today promoting leadership and Muslim women.

Shahida said: “I am excited because this is the first time my works are coming home.

"It will give the local community the opportunity to see my works.

“Sabah Arbilli is originally from Iraq and has been renowned in the field of Islamic calligraphy, he has won many competions and hand written two Korans for the Middle East.

“The exhibition aims to share heritage and culture and show works of a high standard to an audience.

“I feel it is important that women get recognised, but more so the arts are appreciated.

“Women are women and it doesn’t matter what religion or culture they come from.”

Shahida, who was chosen as Muslim personality and role model of the year by Eesha, a London-based Islamic lifestyle magazine, also serves as Nelson’s first female Muslim town councillor.

She is on the board of a number of local arts-based community organisations, including Pendle Community Network, and presents a show on Pendle Community Radio.

Her latest exhibition has been influenced by travels to Istanbul, Morocco and Pakistan.