Kuthum Burgess (1964–2013): Obituary

Kube Publishing is sad to announce the death of Sister Kulthum Burgess, a talented artist who worked as one of our freelance illustrators.

Kulthum was born Giovanna De Bianchi in Rome in 1964 and embraced Islam in 1987, along with her husband Ahmed Ridwan Burgess. Together they have been living in the UK for the past 20 years.

Kulthum Burgess was a gifted artist. Her career as an artist included work on school murals, producing decorative Islamic tiling and the illustration of children’s books. The first work she undertook for Kube was A School Girl’s Hero by Umm Aamina. This was a challenging project as the book was about the character of the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him). She also later worked on other titles for Kube: Hannah and her Grandma, The Colour Blind Boy, Our Grandma, Our Granddad, The Lost Ring, and Husna and the Eid Party.

A signature feature of Sister Kulthum’s work was her ability to create recognisable individuals in an accurate and realistic manner, which helped to transform the stories that she illustrated. To do this she used real life models and asked them to pose for photographs, scene by scene, before she would begin her illustrative work. She was committed to depicting people from diverse backgrounds in her artwork. Her work as an illustrator came to be appreciated by a global readership.

Sister Kulthum was sadly diagnosed with cancer some time ago and as a result could not take on any more work illustrating children’s books. We pray Allah grants her the highest rank in Paradise, al-Firdous. Sister Kulthum leaves behind her husband, Ahmed Rizwan, her four sons, Mansoor , Mahmood, Omar and Adam, and her six grandchildren; may Allah grant them all patience and fortitude.

(Written by Anwar Cara on behalf of Kube Publishing)

 Our Grandad Hannah and her GrandmaOur Grandma The Colour Blind Boy School Girl's Hero Husna and the Eid Party