By Mehak Mansukhani
After practicing calligraphy in this class before I gained a lot of interest in it. This is why I chose to do calligraphy for my final project. Coincidently both the artworks were God’s name- “Allah”. I gave the project title “Peace in the name- ALLAH” because I believe that just chanting the name Allah or remembering him brings peace to our minds and hearts. Everything seems perfectly fine at that time. That is one reason why we always call out God’s name in fear and sadness because we believe he is the only one that can bring back peace to our lives.
Islam is "submission to God, accepting His authority as well as obeying His orders"; "one's total submission to God and serving only Him"; "embracing the messages of the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) and abiding by them." This is why I chose to write God’s name as my project. I wrote “Allah” in calligraphy because Islam is all about following the right path that Allah has laid. There is nothing above Allah.
The root of the word Islam, silm, refers to "making peace, being secure, reaching salvation, well being and submitting the self and obeying, respect, being far from wrong." The "submitting the self and obeying" here means "submitting to justice and righteousness in order to reach peace and safety and being in a peaceful environment by one's free will."
I particularly chose this project because I am a non-Arabic speaker and took this art as a challenge as it has no steps or dimensions. It is a free hand work. Also the shape and design is very beautiful and I thought I could make it look good on a black canvas and use the glitter to give a magical effect that illustrates God’s power. To do this I used an A3 sized black foam board, drew the calligraphy (free-hand) and then covered it with silver glitter. I used gold glitter on the borders of silver glitter so that the design is focused on. I used no colours in the making of this artwork, as I wanted it to be as pure, natural yet beautiful.
The artist that influenced me was Khaleelullah Chemnad. He is a journalist, a poet, a calligraphic artist, a cartoonist, and a short-story writer. He had started publishing stories, poems and cartoons in children's magazines at a tender age. He is the only person in the world who has specialized in anatomic calligraphy. Anatomic Calligraphy is a style in which the portrait of a person is drawn using the person's name in Arabic. He does not speak Arabic yet all his work are Arabic-related, mainly from the Quran. He received an entry to two World Records for the biggest Anatomical Calligraphy of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashed Al Maktoum, Vice President, Prime Minister of UAE and Ruler of Dubai. He inspires me because his calligraphies are simple yet very powerful. They are not something that can be easily copied and they look beautiful. He also influenced me because I can relate to him, as I am also a non-Arabic student trying to do Arabic calligraphy.
In addition, I was influenced by Salman Khattak, who is famous for the combination of the Arabic calligraphy and texts of the names of God.
I am Mehak Mansukhani, a last year business student in American University In Dubai. I never showed interest in art and Islamic culture before taking this MEST course. Now I know a lot more about the teachings of Islam and can relate to how the answer to everything is Allah. Also I have learnt that art is not just a way to show different shapes but to show different expressions and beliefs in life.
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