(By Mariam Nihal) In a bid to celebrate Indian artists and their contribution to the undying love for Islamic calligraphy, the Islamic art exhibition was launched at the Indian consulate in Jeddah on Thursday.
Noor Rahman Sheikh, Consul General of India, inaugurated the cultural fest that showcased works of various Indian artists, artist talks, live performances and an Indian food bazaar.
Hyderabadi artist Younus M Hafiz told Saudi Gazette his works are inspired by the concept of Dikr (remembrance of Allah).
“That’s what keeps us connected to Him. The only way we can do that all the time is through our heart. That’s why it can be seen in my work, to remind people to do the same,” he said.
Younus explained one his works is an example of contemporary art and mixed media. “Here are the 99 attributes of Allah and I’ve used color pencils in between to write Allah. Another one I’ve just made with the intent to chant His name in order to do dikr.”
Younus will be participating in other art events in Jeddah next month. “It is an honour to be chosen to do so. I was asked to bring in artists and my own artwork by people here and I am happy to be the first and only Indian artist to have my work displayed alongside Arab artists,” he added.
Zaheeruddin Ali Khan, Managing editor of Siasat Daily news said he hoped the exhibition would be able to revive traditional art forms that have been forgotten. “We have got around 3000 works back home that range from calligraphy to painting and a lot of works are done by women who we support in this field,” Khan told Saudi Gazette.
Mohammed Abdul Lateef Farooqui, another artist from Hyderabad uses nature as his inspiration. Farooqui contemplates nature in a way that helps him connect with God and His words from the Holy Quran. “The ayahs depict what I have painted in the pictures,” he said showcasing one of his works in which he painted a crowd of red human figurines pushing through a circle in a pit of fire, while walking around flames using imagery of hell. “At the bottom I wrote the ayah that tells us about the imagery and human motion in hell,” he added.
Farooqui constructed pieces that were developed by an ayah infused with his love for art to share his vision. He described an artwork in which a river is painted in hues of blue separating the element of imagery and the ayah itself. “This painting talks about ‘hoors’ (women in heaven) and the way it is done is that instead of just a shape of a woman it’s designed as a river and in that you can see the ayah that describes them. It is in fact shaped like a silhouette of a woman,” he said.
One of the lesser known facts about the artist is his ability to create human forms out of doodles or just a scribbled line. Visitors enjoyed the impromptu act that enabled them to watch him sketch human figures out of a mere line smeared across an A4 sheet of paper. “I will have my oil paints and a lot more time to sketch in the next two days, so people can come by and have sketches done here.”
Today marks the last day of the exhibition at the Indian consulate which is open to the public. Don’t miss the chance to witness live art performances and traditional art by various Hyderabadi artists.
(The story originally published by Saudi Gazette on 31st March edition)