Sacred Submission by Mussarat Arif (19-21 Dec 2019)
An Aura of the Soul
My urge to use brush with colors to create various modes and patterns for Quranic verses initiated from my study in the history of Muslim Rule.
During the Ottoman period, calligraphy gained a very high standing in society and several women calligraphers flourished. In the sub-continent history there were many known women calligraphers who worked with their heart and soul. This further helped in spreading the calligraphy art throughout the region. The first Mughal emperor Babar’s wife was a calligrapher and painter. Aurangzeb’s daughter Mehar-un-Nisa Begum was also famous for practicing Calligraphy art. Calligraphy in the present age has become the most venerated form of Islamic art. Contemporary artists through their art create a new heritage of calligraphy as well. The new way of calligraphy - painterly has lately been practiced by the calligraphers of our time, women and men both.
I am one of just a few women calligraphers of our time. I use Kufi’ form of calligraphy in my artworks with painterly touch. I produce calligraphic art governed by the principles of balance and proportion, rhythm and unity. I incorporate various patterns and geometric designs in my work which interwoven with the words of the Holy Quran emits a soul touching aura. The journey of self-discovery motivated me to the creative world of painting. I prefer Kufi calligraphy using various types of mediums, including oils, acrylics, watercolours and pastels. My recent work in calligraphy appears in square and circular shapes, highlighted by bright red, green, blue, ochre and black. The arcs and loops, ovals and circles, vertical and horizontal lines are used as designs in my artworks. The basic geometrical forms remain the same in all works. I choose the most appropriate form I like to use in my calligraphic paintings. I decorate my paintings with bright colours, glitters and Islamic motifs. I use moon and ‘Takhtee’ symbolically for unknown and known realities of this world. I also use new elements such as patterns of ‘Ajrak’ - a local symbol in my calligraphy.
A few of the calligraphies are on ceramics also. My love for ceramics goes back to my ancestral profession, my mother’s grand parents used to make art pieces out of clay. I have one plate made by my great grandfather (par Nana) which always used to be a source of inspiration and desire to explore new mediums for me, hence this time for my inner satisfaction I chose Ceramics for Calligraphy in order to make my ceramic pieces unique, I went to Handicraft workshops in the interiors of our country , made various patterns out of clay, spread my art work though brush on those pieces, I made various shapes of clay which enhanced my calligraphic work and added a unique new style to my basic form and design, and characteristic manner of expression.