Salva Rasool's art works blends the world of colours with calligraphy
Calligraphy is of great import to Islamic art. Islam has for long used it as a form of religious expression but the style is evolving with the times. Artist Salva Rasool has created abstract Arabic art, which borrows from the rich Indian heritage and blends easily with contemporary flavours. Her solo show at the IndiaHabitat Centre called “Elahiya: Divine Words”, began on the 16th of this month and is on display till December 20. “When we were young, my father was very keen for us to learn Arabic. So I learnt Arabic as a child from a teacher,” says the artist, who received her formal education in art from Sir J.J. School of Arts, Mumbai and specialised in typography as a subject. Further, she did extensive research in the Arabic script by studying various traditional scripts. Presenting traditional works in a stylised contemporary manner is what distinctly identifies her work. “My style is fusion. I combine modern and traditional techniques to produce interesting forms of art,” states Salva.
Rich textures and a colour palette with warm earthy tones is an important element of her work.
On the scope of experimentation, the form allows, the artist says, “I belong to no particular school of calligraphy. The best part about it is that it can be moulded into so many different styles, the letters can be entangled or can be formed in a circle ands so on. So you can actually play around with the letters to create distinct styles.” She has started creating her own fonts and styles of writing.
Elaborating on different scripts, she notes, “‘Kufic' is a cleaner, more geometric style and is marked by a lot of corners. While ‘Nash' or ‘Naskhi' is more slender and supple without any particular emphasis and is highly readable and ‘Tulut' is a more monumental style, with elongated verticals. So every font has its own unique identity.”
The scene of calligraphy, she says, offers some hope.
“There are some very good calligraphers in India, especially in the Devanagari script, for example Achyut Palav, who is a world renowned calligrapher.”
Much of her work is derived from the sacred Quranic texts.
“The words in the Quran are extremely beautiful and universal. They become all the more significant in today's stressful life. In one of the paintings there is a verse which translates to ‘which of the bounties of the Lord can you deny?' When you combine such verses with art, the artwork becomes even more aesthetically appealing.”
(The exhibition is on at India Habitat Centre, Lodi Road, till December 20)