Monday, June 15, 2015


By Reiko Matsuda

This is my artwork influenced by the Grand Mosque in Abu Dhabi, because this depicts my mind landscape when I visited and study about the art of Grand Mosque.

Firstly, the blue flower of each corner follows the technique of arabesque. This expresses Islam and Islamic Art. In addition, each flower has only 4 petals, which also expresses the cross of Christianity. Therefore, the blue flower shows the harmony of Islam and Christianity, that is, peace. Also, the color used, Blue, emphasizes this peace and tranquility.

Secondly, the angel’s wing expresses the conversation with angel. The reason I painted is whenever I am praying I always feel that to pray is very similar to receiving the inspiration from angel just like the prophet’s revelation from Archangel Gabriel. This is the main point of prayer, so this is painted in the center.

Thirdly, the green ivy on the upper and lower shows nature. The small red circle between moons shows sun. Therefore, the green ivy, moon, and sun represent nature and standing on earth.

Finally, this painting is asymmetric. The asymmetry shows the respect to Islamic thought and art as well as nature and science. The black shows the universe, in addition, when praying we close our eyes. Therefore, this painting message (or concept) is that the prayer looks like the action lighting dark place.

The message about Islam and Peace
Through this painting, I would like to tell that the prayer is not asking God something but remembering God and ourselves with compassion and gratitude. This painting is exactly the landscape of my prayer with nature.

Born in the countryside of Japan. Bred near the grandfather’s house, a local Japanese temple. Love religious art.

The Yellow Underline

 By Noor Husain

Duly named “The Yellow Underline”, the series of photographs that I created is considered to be an absolute embodiment of the archaic debate that revolves around “Islam and Peace”, taking into consideration the controversial argument that stems from the stereotypical mentality that foreigners possess of Islamic women. Seeing that those individuals who have not had the privilege of being introduced to the central motives of Islam seem to link a negative connotation of the abstract ideal of “peace” to the actual pillars of Islam, I was provoked to showcase those very opinions through photography, a medium that is unpretentious yet magnanimous in the way in which it could speak volumes about the social issue that Islamic women seem to face in the modern day.

            The photographs are simply a depiction of a veiled women who is committing the “sin” of smoking a lit cigarette - what would usually be considered as an act of mutiny against the core concepts of Islam…or actually, that’s what people might think. For a woman, who is dressed in the respected hijab is set to be living up to the expectations that society has pressed upon her, a perfect housewife who obediently and religiously follows the unsaid and unwritten rules of Islam. My aim was to tackle the meek social issue that Islamic women and men are not equal. For who in their non-ignorant mind would separate the two genders based on acts that are justified for men, but forbidden for women. Isn’t Islam supposed to preach equality amongst all? Have we not grown out of obliviousness and unfamiliarity?

            Inspired by the works of Salman Al-Najem, a Bahraini artist who exposes the truth behind social issues through animations and cartoons, “The Yellow Underline” aims to do the same, except in a more “adult manner”, a complexity which cannot be ignored. The women is dressed in an all white attire, seemingly pointing out to the false purity and the dichotomy that exists between her veil and the act that she is committing. The yellow line that is painted across the clear acrylic sheet indirectly points out to the well-known cautionary tape that is used in crime scenes and other relevant scenarios, indicating the way in which society rejects and looks down upon women who seemingly rebel against the Islamic core concepts. As for the clear acrylic sheet that separates the woman from the cloud of smoke emanating from her lips, it points out to the transparency and the shallowness of such a type of thinking that society possesses of a trivial act that Muslim men commit on a daily basis. My intent is to highlight and emphasize upon the fact that women and men need to strive to egalitarianism in Islam, otherwise Islam cannot preach to be peaceful amidst tension that is created through gender inequality.

            At 20 years old, I can proudly claim that I am a studio artist that has seen enough of social issues and political revolutions and uprising whilst growing up in Bahrain to have formed my own viewpoint of Arab and Islamic societies in the modern day. I have been meticulously studying art for seven years.

Saturday, June 13, 2015

Islam is a Religion of Peace

By Basma Abdou

The name of my artwork is الاسلام دين السلام, which translates to: Islam is a religion of peace. The Quran reads: 

Which translates to: Because of that, We decreed upon the Children of Israel that whoever kills a soul unless for a soul or for corruption [done] in the land - it is as if he had slain mankind entirely. And whoever saves one - it is as if he had saved mankind entirely. And our messengers had certainly come to them with clear proofs. Then indeed many of them, [even] after that, throughout the land, were transgressors.

The artwork itself is produced digitally, and aims to bring the message to the younger generation. With the popularity of tumblr-esque inspirational quotes overlaid with quotes, the style of imagery became increasingly popular on social media platforms such as Instagram, Twitter and Facebook. The inspiration for the piece what the Quranic verse above, which strikes home. As an Arab, it is a constant struggle to defy the stereotypes against Muslims, especially those from the middle east. therefore I wanted to create an artwork that allows for the widespread of the message, and I figured what better way to do so than digital artwork that is shareable and modern.

My artwork is a large 50x50 cm printable piece, that is scalable to any size. the calligraphy style that was attempted is the kufic style, this is to match the modern feel of the piece. In the background, there are many pictured of what one would associate with terrorism, from leaders, to groups, to iconic mass execution images, such as the one by Isis. The pictures were colorized with blue as blue is a common colour in many Islamic artworks across history, as well as it being a very calming color that relaxes the eye.

At first glance, I want the viewer to see how the calligraphy shadows the violent icons in the background, in hopes that one day, the purity of the religion would be the main association with the term Muslim, and not violence.

My name is Basma Abdou, I am currently an Visual Communications student, majoring in Advertising in the American University in Dubai. I am currently a junior, pursuing an undergraduate degree.