Random thoughts and bits of life of a coffee loving artist

Sunday, November 11, 2012

It started with bookmarks...

I have been having an interesting little journey through art and culture as of late so I thought that I would go ahead and share. It started off with the idea of wanting to do a set of Holiday themed bookmarks where each one represented a major religion. One of them was to be based off of an upcoming Islamic holiday but as someone who is not Muslim, of course I had no idea what I was doing. Originally I thought I could do something that represented Ashura until I did some reading and discovered that for the Shi'a Muslim community, Ashura is actually a day of mourning where as with the Sunni Muslim community it's a time of fasting. Since my aim was to do bookmarks that would was a celebration of life and not something sad or rigid, I decided that the Islamic New Year would be a better choice for the theme I'm aiming for.

After this little adventure, I wasn't prepared for what happened next. It seems that someone has been playing with the strings of my life trying to give me more information to work with or at least sparking my interest in doing more research into a culture I'm not fully familiar with. I had wandered my way to the Smithsonian Institute's website to check out what exhibits they are planning on having in a couple of month and stumbled my way to Smithsonian's Museums of Asian Art. While scrolling through, my eyes caught sight of Roads of Arabia: Archaeology and History of the Kingdom of SaudiaArabia. What was the chances that I spot something like this right while I've been trying to do research? I was completely blown away and found myself wanting to share for those who are interested in the art and history of Saudia Arabia. The exhibit is set to be on display from November 17th, 2012 to February 24th, 2013 over at the Smithsonian Institute located in Washington, DC (1050 Independence Ave. SW   Washington, DC 20560). 

When it comes to one thing leading to another, this tale hasn't seemed to have an end as of yet.  As soon as I traveled through what the Smithsonian had, my mind quickly was thinking of art on this matter. For those who know me best may be familiar with the fact that I enjoy the art from other cultures, especially Asian and Middle Eastern. When it comes to Middle Eastern work, yes the intricate geometrical patterns are impressive but I have to say that the most beautiful thing to me is their writing. The elegance of the script and how elaborate just the display can be has always been a feast for my senses for some reason. Mind you I have no idea what they say but that doesn't take anything away to me. With this little project that I have going on for myself has made me wander through the galleries of some artists on deviantART to help with inspiration. I thought that I would go ahead and share some examples of what I mean when attempting to explain the beauty of Middle Eastern script.

"Zaynab's 'alaihi salaam" by montaserart
An anonymous graphic designer out of Iran, I stumbled across montaserart's account oddly enough when I was looking for some examples of illuminated text (which makes sense when you think about it but at the time I was looking for European style). Each of his works, though seeming relatively simple at first, show a great amount of attention to detail to emphasize the word or statement he wants to present to the viewer without the entire piece being completely overwhelming with a mass of textures. Among the pieces, Zaynab's 'alaihi salaam caught my attention the most. In the description, he adds the simple text:
Zaynab's 'alaihi salaam
دل اگر هست دل زینب کبری باشد ... افرین باد بر این همت مردانه دل
(Translation: If there is a heart to heart Zainab Kubra ... Blessed be the man by Heart)

"--In the name of God--" by KhalilNam

Working in traditional, mixed media and graphic design, this young man has an interesting sense of design when it comes to presenting his script. As he explains in the description for –In the name of God-- that the text translates to “In the name of God, Most Gracious, Most Merciful” and is in the style of Tughra script. He also sites that the background is thanks to another artist by the name of Khalid Shahin

"Arabic Calligraphy II" by zArtandDesign
A young woman out of Norway, Z's gallery is something that didn't hit my radar until she had been chosen as one of the featured artists for deviantART back in March 12th, 2010. A happy graphic artist, her unique style shows of her perky personality and is always fun to check out. Her colorful piece Arabic Calligraphy II has the beautiful script which translates to “and he 'Allah' is the one who is capable of everything”.

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