(American University in Dubai, 2015)
Form: The artwork is on a flat square, from which the sculpture rises. It is a cube shaped container that holds a miniature olive tree made from wire, tissue paper, and newspapers. The dimensions of the cube are 15x15cm, and the olive tree measures at around 14cm. The cube is covered in acrylic paint, white being the base color with several others used to create a pattern. I used red, blue, and black paint to create a chaotic feeling to my work. The tree is also painted with colored acrylic paint and the leaves are made from colored tissue paper. The style of the artwork is contemporary, mixing sculpture with painting, and having an influence that is not only based on Islamic art.
Research: One of the most common stereotypes related to Islam is that it is a violent religion. It does not allow any violence in any way, unless it is in self-defense. Nowadays, we see many terrorists committing terrible crimes in the name of Allah, without even the slightest true knowledge about the essence of Islam. It is truly such a shame since they are tainting the image of this religion, and scaring of people from understanding just how merciful and beautiful Islam can truly be.
Here are a few verses from the Qur'an that show how Islam promotes peace:
"Fight in the cause of Allah those who fight you, and do not transgress; for Allah loveth not transgressors." (Surah 2, Verse 190).
"Nor can Goodness and Evil be equal. Repel (Evil) with what is better: then will he between whom and thee was hatred become as it were thy friend and intimate!" (Surah 41, Verse 34).
Influence: For my piece, many artists, some who are not Islamic artists as well, influenced me. The first artist is Jackson Pollock, known for his action paintings. I used him as a muse to create the outer pattern, which symbolized the violence consuming the world today. I used the same technique as Pollock, which was coating my brush in thick paint and letting it drip over my artwork. Another artist that influenced me is Siddiqa Juma, a truly inspirational Islamic artist. As soon as I saw her work I fell in love, the beauty of the idea and execution really touched me. Most of her paintings show the Kaaba in the center, which helped me root the idea of my project.
The concept: My message with this artwork is that the Kaaba, which is one of the holiest, if not the number one most holy places in our Islamic civilization. I wanted to represent it, being distorted, and “damaged” by the violent paint strokes, showing just how harmful the stereotypes and misconceptions are. The base of the Kaaba is white, for purity and peace, which is the core of this religion. The inside of the cube is also white, and is home to an olive tree, a sacred symbol of peace. My message is telling people that yes, it may look violent on the outside, but that’s only because people have made it that way, but when you peel back the layers, or in this case open the box, you see the beautiful essence of this religion: peace.
Biography: I am a 19-year-old advertising student at AUD, with a light background in painting and sketching. I am constantly inspired by small things around me that help me create new art. I believe almost everything in this world is a work of art.