Wednesday, April 22, 2015

The Door

Tania Sandhu

Whenever I think of Islam, I am always reminded of the divine complications of its designs (which are either geometric or curvilinear). The word ‘Islamic’ today produces a lot of mixed reactions. I wanted to stray away from these reactions (stereotypes) and think of a simple lifestyle of a Muslim household. When I visited a few of my Muslim friend’s houses, their doorstep is very welcoming. I always think of the architectural entities of Islam, if is there any discussion of the faith itself. With my art piece, I am portraying the simplicity of the faith, and how welcoming the culture is. The phrase ‘Bismillah Ir Rehman Ir Rahim’ (in the name if God) is an inscription that most Muslims have inscribed on their household doorsteps and hence, the piece portrays that. I chose to write it in the Kufic script. This is because I went through an extensive exercise in the course MEST 329: Islamic Art and Architecture practicing that particular calligraphy style and actually enjoying it. The backdrop on which the door and the calligraphy sit represents the deformities/ dysfunctionalities of the world. But, the door contradicts it by showing its function of welcoming the looker and the calligraphy gives it the exact role of an entrance to a household. The door strays away from the stereotypes and portrays a more simple life led by humans we meet everyday and how in a world of distress, something so simple can provide us with inner peace and refuge. The tranquil nature of the calligraphy and just a household door is the essence of the art piece. The Kufic script is one of the oldest Arabic scripts and its simplicity corresponds with the simple idea of a door and the greetings hidden behind it; the signs of welcome and forgetting all the despair and living for something more worthwhile.

The media I chose to represent my concept is elements with a paper texture, such as cardboard or the museum board. The reason of my choice is the very simplicity of the material and how it will take time to paint it to my heart’s content. Now, what do I mean by paint it? It would take time for the world to understand the simplicity of a particular subject and break through the stereotypes. But, eventually, the paper will be painted, and the world will understand. On the other hand, I wanted my project to have a rugged (pottery) look as if risen from the mud, as mud is believed to be the building blocks of the human being. The Kufic script and the door will be incorporated to the backdrop separately to give them a raised effect since they are the most important characters of the art piece.

The techniques I am using are very simple (again incorporating the thought of simplicity), that is, painting. The backdrop of the piece is painted with a muddy texture, representing the disturbed world/earth. The door is painted with a wooden texture with Islamic architectural elements that represent thousands of doors around the world welcoming everyone. Lastly, the calligraphy is represented in black with is seen almost everywhere, how it is usually represented traditionally.

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