Thursday, 11 August 2011

Spiritual Reflections - My Debut Exhibition. (part i)

Invitation Card
Invitation Card

Inaugurated by Her Highness Sheikha Omniya Al-Sabah

R to L: Fahim Hamid Ali, Ambereena Razvi, Princess Omniya Al-Sabah, Shebina Amlani (organiser), Rashmi Khanna Sahani

With Sheikha Awrad Al- Sabah

To view more works by Mr.Fahim, check out his website:

Fahim Hamid Ali stood at the table with his hands jammed into his pocket, his hair carelessly falling over his forehead, attitude - nonchalant... allowing us to wander around the gallery and view his art works..Shades of the earth, mineral and metal....reminding us of verses from Iqbal and Ghalib's poetry....A lone moon here and a lonely peacock there... A mysterious arch here and a hint of calligraphy there... His works are very soothing... almost minimalist, yet speak volumes.
After my parents and I introduced ourselves, we sat at a table in the corner of the gallery and discussed Art and poetry...He saw a couple of my works on my  iPhone and I suppose his 'trained eye' found them appealing....He asked me if I was ready for my debut exhibition... I was a little startled..." When do you want to plan it for?" , I asked. He said that May would be a good time for him...And that was it...
I thought the guy was bluffing...A few days later, I get an email from him....asking me if 30 of my works are ready to be displayed. I was seriously shocked.. This guy was really talking business now...I jumped up and ran to where my paintings were stored... I pulled out everything I had........ Wow...
My paintings were just lying in my huge portfolio case...Old calligraphies, still lives, landscapes, textured backgrounds...There were some incomplete works and some needed touching up.

I had to decide what theme to work around... The current scene of the world - political, emotional and spiritual is really something that needs to be reflected upon. So I pulled out my calligraphies. I'd done these while I was going through my noir (black) phase... Pierre Soulage and Hassan Massoudy were a huge inspiration. Most of these works were experiments, but now looked like complete masterpieces to me...

I decided to touch 'em up a bit. I had a series of 7 ( 70x100) calligraphic works in black and now my mind was bustling with ideas...I heard whispers in my head.. I could almost hear them telling me what to do...The injustice in this world is something I have always felt very passionately about....I cannot stand it. I find that I get depressed when I watch any sort of injustice happening... even more so when I find I can't do anything about it. So I decided that my painting would be a medium through which I could become a warrior of sorts... A silent warrior whose weapons were brushes, paints, sarcasm, paradoxes and wit. My armor would be  my spirituality, my faith and my love for humanity. Armed now, I began painting fervently

On an almost black background,I started a collage of very  negative words that have become a part of daily reading....Suicide, rape, terrorism, murder, political injustice, sectarian violence, etc. After the collage, I wrote 'Salaam' meaning 'Peace' in Arabic calligraphy over it, completely breaking the norms of elegance and fluidity... This was' noir' every sense of the word...but through this blackness, through this negativity, I wanted to give a positive message. I feel that this world has forgotten the language of love. I figured, let's talk to the world in the current language of hate, negativity and aggression. This was my oxymoron...A positive message through an aggressive voice.
Would they get it?

'Salaam' - 'Peace' - A cry for peace
mixed media

In a world of Darkness, we have forgotten light, hope, peace and love. We have forgotten that Allah/God/Dieu/Ishwar/Jehovah  call him what you may - exists!...Darkness is always associated with evil...We have forgotten that HE is Omnipresent...and that when we are up to no good...hurting someone, thinking and feeling negative, and ignoring injustice- HE is watching, and giving us another chance... to undo the bad, to reflect and to refrain and to do good. Why then do we not listen to our inner voice?, which is essentially good! These paintings depict that very feeling.

اللهِ Allah
Acrylic and dried pastels

الله هو
 Allah hu - 'God is here!'
Acrylic and dried pastels

 نُوۡرٌ عَلٰى نُوۡرٍ‌ ؕ
Noorun 'ala noor - Light upon light
Acrylic and resin

Acrylic  and oils

فَبِاَىِّ اٰلَاۤءِ رَبِّكُمَا تُكَذِّبٰنِ‏. هَلۡ جَزَآءُ الْاِحۡسَانِ اِلَّا الۡاِحۡسَانُ‌ۚ‏ 
 Which of the favours of your Lord, that ye deny?. Is the reward of goodness aught save goodness?

  اَللّٰهُ نُوۡرُ السَّمٰوٰتِ وَالۡاَرۡضِ
  Allah is the Light of the heavens and the earth

The word of God.
Kun, Fa yakun.
Be - And it is.

 We are all of the same soul...Created by the same creator....just cast in different molds and roles.

Life... withered

Union of souls - We are ONE
 I did this painting of whirling dervishes in the impressionist style while in a trance myself. I felt happy, submerged in love and content while doing this painting. The message here is that despite our many differences, we are the same from within... All of us fight the same battles within, and come out triumphant in some way or the other...We need to learn to find triumph in failure too.. Every soul must go through these tests to come out worthy of uniting with the Beloved.

The Arabesque for me represents everything beautiful. It symbolizes, beauty, love, spirituality.. It's flowing form, timid tendrils and sensual curves represent for me the process of being encompassed by love, positivity and beauty.
The arabesques in the painting above (Entranced) signify the feeling of being engulfed by intense passion and immense serenity (during a 'sema') all at the same time. The colour purple represents spirituality and white represents purity, positivity and the soul. The hat stands for the goes on to tell us that once entranced, we go beyond death and become with the Almighty.

In search for the Beloved

'In the orchard and rose garden
I long to see your face,
In the taste of Sweetness,
I long to kiss your lips,
In the shadows of passion,
I long for your love.

Oh! Supreme Lover!
Let me leave aside my worries,
The flowers are blooming
with the exultation of your Spirit.'
~ Rumi

This poem of Rumi really touched my heart.... and 'In search for the beloved' was born on canvas.

In a world where love and compassion comes rarely, I have realized that we need to first find it within ourselves, in order to share it with the rest of the world.
The battlefield within

I did this one in an hour, my mind torn into two was done a frenzy.....I could never put them together aligned...proportionate....I find it proportionate, unproportionate...
There's a battle we fight within us every day.....keep fighting...there will be peace someday.

(PS: An award winning blog in Kuwait did a post about the exhibition. here's an excerpt:

I had written about the art exhibition 'Spiritual Reflections' by Ambereena Ali Razvi and Fahim Hamid Ali . My husband and I visited the exhibition yesterday at Dar Al Cid and we had quite an uplifting experience. A vibrant, charming and beautiful young Indian lady,  Ambereena who was raised in Kuwait, studied Fine Arts in Paris, currently working as an Art Teacher in Gulf English School, expresses contemplation, positivity, peace and an artistic representation of wisdom gained through spiritual reflections in her paintings. She had also exhibited works that involved textile designs. Some of her work also involved current social issues and peaceful solution depicted through art. 

I personally enjoyed all of Ambereena's work, as each had a special message or a hidden spiritual significance like one of the paintings depicted a subtle reminder to us, 'And how many of Lord's bounties will you deny?' Isn't it true that sometimes we have to remind ourselves of the numerous divine blessings in our life. A mystery verse, "Noor un Al Noor' - Light of Light, is another painting Ambereena would prefer visitors and viewers to decipher...What is darkness? what is light? What according to you is Light of light? Ambereena's paintings are beyond all human differences, in her words, we humans are all one...of the one and the same spirit. She is definitely a very talented and gifted artist. )

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