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'Islamic' Geometry

Friday, 20 November 2009

In the name of God, Compassionate, Merciful بسم الله الرحمن الرحيمِ | Peace be with you السلام عليكم

Geometrical designs base heavily in Islam for reasons you wouldn't think. They replace the desire for images and models based on living beings: life, animals etc with mind-boggling repetitive colours and shapes in continuum.

Because of this repetition, geometry's mathematical and precise nature deepens the connection for Muslims with Quranic texts: Both flow, intertwine with another and the lined designs reflect the rhythm, mood and powerful beauty of Divine recitation. In essence, geometry to Islam is as stained glass windows to Christianity, a weak analogy but it works.

What am I?

I took part in a summer geometry class with renowned Muslim artist Zara, whose full name I forget - she was featured in Emel magazine in 2009 - and studied the 'muslimness' in numbers, pattern, symmetry and colour pigments. I am a perfectionist, many of my designs were not angled correctly and the slighted millimeter difference spoiled the look. I redid several. Redid, funny syllabic word... Anywho.

Using natural ground flowers for pigment

The first design above was coloured in water soluble pencils and was an imitation of a glass gem; the various light reflections on each facet and the cut of the crystal were emphasised.

Below this the pinkish rose geometry represented, a rose! With this design I ground actual rose petals and coal (coal is used for black paint pigments), added concentrated dye and painted the whole design. It's difficult to keep within the lines and tread carefully with such fine tools: Another reminder of living as a Muslim.

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Aneebaba said...

So true what you said in the first line. That is one thing I DO know - that geometry and the patterns we see in the masajid, on our Qur'an's are so much more beautiful and aesthetically pleasing than any image could be; that's my take at least. Uh oh, you ARE a perfectionist, we would so NOT get along in real life, lol! In all seriousness, when it does come to any art I do take part in, I do try to make sure its centered as best as possible, etc, but I'm sure you're even more hardcore than that. :-) Awesome work babe.

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