Sunday, 13 June 2010

The Sema

For years I kept calling you,
And suddenly you came to me at dawn,
And whirled me to the Sema,
You left me with not a moment to spare,
Not even for my morning prayer.
  (watercolours and acrylic)

I painted this Dervish in a trance, in celebration of this verse by Rumi. Someone very special had read it to me and it has been part of me for a very long time.
The colours are a gentle intermingling of warm, cold and earth tones. It is difficult to explain 'Nirvana' or 'Moksha' or 'Najaat' using the visible spectrum of seven colours and the shades in between. 

This Dervish is a representation of myself. His feet are still planted on the ground while his head or mind is reaching for the heavens. I wanted to depict the non existence of time and space when in ecstasy.
The 'Simurgh' which represents the 'self' or the 'soul' in Sufism is depicted here above the head of the Dervish as reuniting with the Source, the celestial Almighty, which is why I painted it in the same colours of the skies.

Passion can never be satisfactorily put on paper or canvas. This is a glimpse of my fleeting imagination... a feeling I felt when I heard the verse above.

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This work by Ambereena Razvi is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.

Thursday, 10 June 2010

Lune.. qui là-haut s'allume.

Something compelled me to part the icy green silk curtain and look up at the sky.... And there it was again.... The full moon....This time though, grayish clouds shaped themselves in front of the moon in such a way that it looked like the moon had eyes... and was looking down at me... Around it were heavenly bodies.. in motion..orbiting around each other and around the moon.. in perfect harmony...It was like a mini galaxy, with the moon in it's was a beautiful....a rare, almost divine sight for mortal eyes.

I looked around and asked my mom for her binoculars....and I found a pair right besides my prayer rug. I picked them up and rushed into the balcony, with my mother behind me, asking me not to look , because there might be shooting stars. Unlike many people, we believe that they are a bad omen. I ignored her, coz I feel that I'm above all this and looked through the binoculars... nothing great.. just a slight magnification....when I wanted more detail.....

The full moon is recurrent in my dreams. In different moods, different ambiances. The overall feeling in my dream is that of awe, peace, happiness.. as though I am able to see that which I am in search of...

I don't know what I am in search of.. whether it is the self, a hidden truth... It's like having tasted something superlatively gourmet and am craving for that taste again.... Or having smelt a divine fragrance and am desperately in search of the source.

I don't know what the allegory of my dreams is.....but I do know that my soul hasn't been at rest in a long, long time.There's is always turmoil somewhere inside me.

Looking up interpretations online, asking my mother for a meaning, discussing this with a friend... have failed to sate me... I'm still thirsty.

P.S: The title of this post 'Lune..qui la-haut..' is a song from the hit theater musical 'Notre Dame de Paris'...this one being one of my favorites. I had the good fortune of attending this musical while in Paris. It was absolutely entrancing!!

This is a really mediocre rendition of my dream...I shouldn't have attempted it...Let my dreams be where I left them.... where allegories are realities.

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This work by Ambereena Razvi is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.

Sunday, 6 June 2010

Abstract feelings... Abstract series

Allo! Amber (pronounced Ombairrr)... Ca va toi? Je voulait juste te dire qu'on a choisi ton dessin pour la carte et les invitation pour l'expo de fin de l'annee.

That was Francoise Conte. She'd called me from Paris to tell me that my design had been chosen to go on the invitations and the poster for the annual exhibition at the end of the year. I was proud.

That was in 1999.

Over the years, like everyone, my experiences, thoughts and emotions varied, matured, have been influenced by others, struggling to burst out on the canvas, or in the form of words....but language, I feel is such a barrier....

I'd been asked to give this work an Islamic but modern feel.
Recently I'd been playing around with my 'chosen design' and came up with this series. I had decided to do each one when in different moods. With my moods - I should have come up with at least a hundred different colour palettes...but lack of time has allowed me only the following. It goes without saying that 'The Philosophy of Warhol' was a bit of an inspiration. I will keep adding to this series....wondering what my final one will look like.

Impression (pun intended)


Cold and warm

Passion - caged

Black light


(mixed media)

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This work by Ambereena Razvi is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.

Wednesday, 2 June 2010

The Awakening

Sitting with my mother in her room, talking about gnosis, trying to drink it slowly, not gulp it down like I normally have a tendency to...She is telling me the story of a king who had the most beautiful garden. In it he had streams of sweet water, fountains, ponds with water lilies, exotic flora and fauna...peacocks adorned his garden, displaying their beauty and happiness, for it was a happy place. Then one day, the king bound one of his peacocks in a tight leather jacket and placed on top of it a basket. This basket had a hole on the top to allow in some sustenance.......The peacock soon forgot about it's friends and the perfect world outside the basket and started to believe that this was it's world.. and that the jacket was its body... It could breathe, it got food and water.
Sometimes though, sounds and scents floated into it's little world...and it would wonder...

My mother then asked me about the significance of this abruptly finished tale... and I was confused. For a 12 year old, I didn't know where this was going. I was asked to sleep on it. I woke up the next morning after having dreamt of sad peacocks and leather jackets.
I don't know if my mother was disappointed that I hadn't been able to decode the symbolism of this story, but I was absolutely awestruck, excited, overwhelmed after she did... and I fell in love with this new world that had been revealed to me.

Passion stirred from his sleep,
He stretched his limbs gracefully and arched his back,
He looked at me.....smiled and embraced me.
He now accompanies all my senses.
He possesses me.

For those of you who may not have been able to understand the symbolism:
The King is God, the garden is Eden, The peacock is you, the jacket is your body, the basket is this world.

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This work by Ambereena Razvi is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.