Art & the Mystery of Light

Salamalaikum. In observing the academic approach to art from the outside, I have noticed that the learning/teaching process often revolves around repetition and formula. The trained teacher reproduces what he technically learned and conveys it to students who eventually do the same. This forms a cycle of repetition that is expected, demanded and even sought after by the ego culture yet there is not much room for innovation, and exploring one’s true heart, its Voice and thus sublimity.

The Creation as well as creativity are shrouded in mystery, their robe is obscurity which is the highest form of light, therefore in order to attain it the creative soul needs love, silence, stillness; that way it can attune to its innate virtues, talents, universes and inshAllah eventually it can process them through creativity. This is why I always tell people who ask me questions about their aspiration to become artists that Art in essence is more of a spiritual discipline than anything else; an unending learning process that unveils as we evolve toward egolessness. In order to help mankind toward the natural quest for spiritual well-being artists need to first reach deep within their selfless “selves” that constantly is amazed by the wonders of Allah (swt). This is what “genius” is, it is the ability to capture “fragments” of this bliss we constantly are submerged into, no formal training can convey such depth.

The reason why some artists from past centuries were able to create works that spiritually propel us is because they knew how to shut their physical eyes so that their spiritual one, the heart’s eye could open and allow them to behold the divine beauty behind the density of the world. This is not a mechanical endeavor, it has to do with love, kindness, patience, selflessness and pure spiritual impulse.

I hardly ever look at the art works of most “great masters painters” who have been made popular by mainstream scholarly decree because they’re not necessarily the most harmonious pieces and it makes me cringe to experience the vibrations of their angst, distress and chaos through their art pieces.

I cherish the accuracy of the innate taste, its own random discoveries which usually pull us outwardly to admire art from our higher sense and not from the one that is dictated and conditioned by external sources. Therefore I tend to be supportive of the “underground” artists whose works reflect the luminous Mystery that can only transpire from a finely attuned heart. To admire their art works offers a fluid, intense and Eye-opening experience, all filled with light and this gift can solely come from the mercy of Allah (swt), The Master of all Creation.

copyright 2007 Aida Toure



Filed under Contemporary Islamic Art, Inner Reality, Islam, Spiritual Art, Spirituality, Sufi Prose, Sufism, Tasawwuf, Visual Arts

2 responses to “Art & the Mystery of Light

  1. gina

    as salaam alaikum aida,
    thank you so much for your posting. it was exactly what i needed to read this morning at this very unusual time that i am awake. awake contemplating the workings of my nafs and recent events of my life. but i was attracted to this posting by its title and your use of the word light. i recently read imam al-ghazali’s mishkat al anwar and have been deeply desiring a way to do what i do visually to communicate my understanding of it. i like your work and would like very much to communicate with you further about the spiritual dimensions of art. shukran.

  2. Salam Sister, welcome here & thank you. I just replied to your email…

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