In this episode, I talk about the history of some of the artwork spanning 50 years and present 2 artwork pieces including "Possession" and "Multiple Forms" - both of which have been exhibited a number of times around the world including The State Hermitage Museum.
Steeped in faith and the concepts of Islam, this work (Multiple Forms) is a homage to the life of the Prophet Mohammad through the Qasidat al-Burda (The Poem of the Cloak) by al-Busairi. The poem was compiled under great duress by the sufi master al-Busairi (A.D. 1212-1296). Having suffered a major stroke and paralysis in the left side of his body, the sheikh composed and recited his poem as a mantra during his illness. In its repetition, he found great solace.
The poem is full of love for the Prophet who is said to have come to al-Busairi in a dream, cast his cloak over his sleeping form and cured him from his paralysis. The love expressed for Mohammad in Islamic culture is the pure emotion of a believer for his Prophet. It is an abstract thing that can be all consuming, transcending the love of man for his fellows. It is a pure and unadulterated devotion often articulated in devout poetry by pious men.
Possession contains the letters seen, sheen, Ssadd and dhad in a form where the structure of the artwork is held tightly by the composition structures.
The poetry is by Al Motannabbi who says:
“Before a merit can be given to physical courage, there is the first and foremost which is the courage of opinion. Therefore, if these two elements are present in a person you probably have a perfect human being. Nevertheless, we have to know what the difference is between the thoughtless beast and the considerate human. It is the intellect; it is the logic as without that, the least of beasts can uproot the human race altogether if not for their reasons.”