Last month, I was invited to exhibit four of my paintings at La Galleria Nazionale in Rome. This exhibition occurred alongside a month-long series of workshops and events with Una Moschea Per Roma, during which I delivered an Islamic art workshop at La Galleria with my friend and colleague, Shaheen Kasmani. I’ve written more about the workshops in my previous post. For more information about the project, take a look at Una Moschea Per Roma’s page.
Here are a few images from the exhibition, enjoy!
This painting was inspired by the words of Jalauddin Rumi, whose poem ‘One Song’ speaks of spiritual unity. Originally a commission for a client, I started this painting at the end of 2016. When the client realised that their budget did not stretch to new artwork, I decided to paint the piece, regardless, as I loved the poem and its sentiment. I also loved imagining this fantastical golden forest with its patterned trees and colourful birds! Below is an extract from the poem:
“What is praised is one, so the praise is one too,
many jugs being poured
into a huge basin. All religions, all this singing,
The differences are just illusion and vanity. Sunlight
looks slightly different
on this wall than it does on that wall and a lot different
on this other one, but
it is still one light. We have borrowed these clothes, these
from a light, and when we praise, we pour them back in”
By Jalaluddin Rumi, translated by Coleman Barks
This illuminated painting contains calligraphy from the Qur’an. The translation of the Qur’anic calligraphy, 2:255 is as follows:
Allah. There is no god but He,-the Living, the Self-subsisting, Eternal. No slumber can seize Him nor sleep. His are all things in the heavens and on earth. Who is there can intercede in His presence except as He permitteth? He knoweth what (appeareth to His creatures as) before or after or behind them. Nor shall they compass aught of His knowledge except as He willeth. His Throne doth extend over the heavens and the earth, and He feeleth no fatigue in guarding and preserving them for He is the Most High, the Supreme (in glory).
Translation by Abdullah Yusuf Ali. Calligraphy by Sabah Arbili.
Illumination by Ayesha Gamiet.
I’ve written about the story behind this illuminated painting in a previous blog post. Those of you who follow my blog will know that the calligraphy is one of my parents’ favourite verses from the Qur’an, and that I made this painting as a gift to them to thank them for their love and support throughout my education and career.
Below is a translation of the Qur’anic calligraphy, 2:177:
In the name of Allah, Most Compassionate, Most Merciful
It is not righteousness that ye turn your faces Towards east or West;
but it is righteousness- to believe in Allah and the Last Day, and the Angels, and the Book, and the Messengers;
to spend of your substance, out of love for Him, for your kin, for orphans, for the needy, for the wayfarer, for those who ask, and for the ransom of slaves;
to be steadfast in prayer, and practice regular charity;
to fulfil the contracts which ye have made;
and to be firm and patient, in pain (or suffering) and adversity, and throughout all periods of panic. Such are the people of truth, the Allah fearing.
Translated by Abdullah Yusuf Ali. Calligraphy by Nassar Mansour
Illumination by Ayesha Gamiet
And finally, this is my latest Persian miniature. I was interested to explore pattern and colour in Persian miniature architectural forms. I also really enjoyed using proportional rectangles to help create the composition for this piece. I hope you enjoy the work!
‘One Song’ and my Persian miniature painting are both for sale. Please get in touch via the contact form on my website if you are interested in purchasing or commissioning a work.