Experiments with Arabic calligraphy on display | mumbai | Hindustan Times
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Experiments with Arabic calligraphy on display

Salva Rasool’s experiments on the canvas with Arabic calligraphy using verses from the Quran span two decades. But the 46-year-old alumna of Sir JJ Institute of Applied Art doesn’t think of her oeuvre as Islamic art. She prefers to see them as pieces of abstract art that use a variety of textures and colours. HT Correspondent reports.

mumbai Updated: Jul 09, 2010 01:32 IST
HT Correspondent

Salva Rasool’s experiments on the canvas with Arabic calligraphy using verses from the Quran span two decades.

But the 46-year-old alumna of Sir JJ Institute of Applied Art doesn’t think of her oeuvre as Islamic art. She prefers to see them as pieces of abstract art that use a variety of textures and colours.

Rasool will be exhibiting 45 paintings in her first solo show, Elahiya, at the Museum Gallery, Kala Ghoda starting July 20.

The show will be curated by Minaz Cassum, director of online art store, Art Invest India.

“I would like to believe that I have been successful in breaking the barrier between calligraphy — considered to be the domain solely of katibs (experts) — and modern abstract art by fusing the two,” says Rasool, a Mazgaon resident.

While Quranic verses and lines (surahs and ayats) form the subject of her paintings, Rasool believes in experimentation, of form as much as of content.

“My paintings are experiments with the art of Arabic calligraphy. I’ve used tools like tongs, steel scrubs, combs and knives and tried new textures and colours,” says Rasool, who learnt Arabic calligraphy the traditional way with bamboo sticks from a janab when she was a child. She was trained in calligraphy in the Roman and Devanagari scripts at the Institute.

“The religious messages of her paintings are universal —even the Vedas talk of the same attributes of god as the Quran,” says Cassum. For those who don’t know the language a translation is printed on the back of the paintings.

“Rasool’s works are more than just religious messages in stylised Arabic,” says Achyut Palav, a former faculty member of the JJ Institute of Applied Art who paints calligraphy artworks in the Devanagari script.

“She has developed a style that makes art out of language,” he says.