Tag Archives: world system

The Ego’s Desire to Control

lights~ The Ego’s Desire to Control ~

Love ignites billions of lights,
lo! The desire to control puts them out.
The Sufi seeks to control himself, not others.
The need to control is an inclination of the ego.
Presence, out of Love, knows not to control,
but to nurture with the manna of softness
for it understands the soul’s sacredness,
as well as its divinely-granted free will.
Control is a typical symptom of the creation
in its state of non-refinement and attachment.
Exercising control on others is for those
who claim authority like the clergy,
the politicians, the power-hungry
scholars and the coveters of Gifts.
A Sufi does not claim authority,
her/his existence transpires
with the sweet cosmic Sound
“La ilaha illa Allah,
there is only The Divine One~”
In such a state of abandonment,
how can there be any room for control?
No true saint ever sought
to control other beings,
that’s why souls flock to them,
eager to know the grace of Freedom
their blessed presence offers.
Having tasted the nectar of Surrender,
the holy ones rather seek to break
the chains of control established by men
who misinterpret the Divine Law
through the dust-covered lenses of their ego,
the very root of the world’s chaos
surged from the ego’s desire to control~

© 2013 Aïda Touré

“They have taken their scholars and monks as lords besides Allah…” ~9:31 Qur’an

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Filed under Saints, Spiritual Art, Spirituality, Sufi Poetry, Sufism, Tasawwuf, the prophets (as)

Martyred Children Laments

For the children of Gabon who have been slaughtered in ritual crimes.

Martyred Children Laments © 2005 Aida Toure'

I painted “Martyred Children Laments” in 2005 to protest against the atrocious practice of human sacrifices in Gabon. Dedicated to all the precious children who have been slaughtered in these horrendous ritual crimes.

~Martyred Children Lament~

Child, O child,
you are a gift
from the Divine!

They coveted your light
with their ambition
for obscure ascension.

Atrociously, they preyed
on you: there is no power
to gain in such sacrifice,

One who unjustly takes a life
kills all of humankind.
Child, O child,

now bodiless, weightless,
you circle around
the sublime Throne;

soul singing His praises
as Djibreel wipes
your tears away.

©2005-2012 Aida Toure’
http://visualsufipoetry.com/martyred-children-lament/

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Until Unity is Realized

Brooklyn Sky

We’re living in a time of great opening so we might as well make the most of it by attuning to our soul’s potential and dissolve all the oppressive fears that interfere with it. Being wide open to love requires harmony with one’s inner feminine principle first, yet fear is the energy that stifles this alignment. All beauty we experience comes from the attributes of this principle which is primordial: Mercy precedes all other attributes so this primal manifestation opens the way to life itself.

From observing our world what it misses the most is love: poverty, wars, greed, destruction of Nature, violence occur because of this lack of love cultivation so in order for it to manifest we must be open, clear, even empty and not so frightened. As long as the chaotic fears from the ego are present they interfere with the love the soul bears, this interference imbalances and ruins nations, relationships and all interactions which were intended to be of divine nature. When we finally meet this sacred purpose where exchanges occur for our collective enrichment and evolution, everything that is disharmonious around us will drastically transform as well but first this transformation has to occur within the individual and this is what love does, it gathers until Unity is realized.

I can’t fathom approaching love with anything other than this sacred purpose which is all-pervasive in the Universe yet we seem so far away from awareness of this Reality! Since the soul is the breath of the Divine, it takes great awareness and care to be able to deal with one’s soul and even more so another soul. That is how deep love is, yet collectively we are far from achieving such regard for our inner being when I see the cruelty of politicians and bureaucrates, their recklessness, their greed, their drive to oppress, to cause harm and chaos while claiming to be “leaders” of this world, and this scheme continues to occur when mankind has clearly voiced its concern for global evolution of these corrupt political systems, this concern now is the priority for the planetary majority.

Amid pauses of long silence and work, the one thing I enjoy the most is expressing my heart wholeheartedly, I have no restraint when it comes to it no matter how uncelebrated it may be in general, the dimension of the heart will become more and more pronounced in time so balance may be reached beyond the current ego-driven frequency. With every breath taken we draw closer to the last breath so Life is beautiful, short and precious~ The realities from the heart is what vibrates for ever, it’s all we leave behind when the veil of physicality lifts so every second of the heart’s Life must be savored and shared for the sake of the Divine, for the Heart within our hearts.

© 2012 Aïda Touré

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Ego & Greed Confronted

OccupyWallStreet art

Tonight I took a walk through Zuccotti Park where the occupywallst protest is taking place. I saw young people in sleeping bags laying on the floor, artists painting, people in a circle meditating in the obscurity of the night, I got goosebumps seeing all this because these youths represent the majority of the planet who is demanding more equality, more justice, more peace, more integrity, more compassion and service from the institutions… it was an eery experience for me to read their signs and see them laying there, surrounded by the powerful energy of sacrifice, it truly is something that I’ve never seen before yet it renders tangible a phenomenon I have addressed in recent interviews: when people feel excluded and not listened to it leads to serious crisis so it would be wiser for the elitists to lend an ear and pay attention to what’s happening now.

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Amina Mag Interviews Aïda Touré

photo by Tony Campbell

Aïda Touré, a Gabonese artist presents her creations to the American public.

She moved to New York in order to study music, a multidimensional artist, she published three collections of poetry. She recently had an exhibit at the Rio Penthouse Gallery in New York which was appreciated by the American public.

You moved to New York in 1995 to study music, how come you have opted to pursue painting?

my first passion was music, but I discovered that art concealed a vast universe. It is in this context that Sufi poetry and then painting suddenly were revealed to me, without having received any formal training. One day, in silence I was reading one of my poems and something happened: the verses of this poem turned into images of indescribable beauty; I got moved by their sublimity so this is how I started painting these images and that I labeled this art “Visual Sufi Poetry”. Later on I met Steve Adams, an artist from California, who observed my work and helped me understand precisely which equipment and materials to select in order to crystallize my art works. I had never planned to become a painter nor a poet, it just happened unexpectedly. I also am a music composer, my album will be released soon. I experience these arts as one reality that unfolds on different octaves and which reflects this incandescence that is present in us all.

Were you encouraged on this artistic career by your family?

It is thanks to the unconditional love of my parents, my brothers and sister that I was able to pursue my artistic aspirations. Without their presence, their sacrifices and support, I don’t think that I would have followed my inner voice in this way. Creative and spiritual activity can only manifest in stillness and peace, my parents did everything to create this peaceful environment in their household. Also the cultivation of wisdom, integrity, individuality and perseverance instilled by my father has played a decisive role along my journey. We all have innate capabilities that await to manifest yet it’s important that our environment nurtures this process instead of interfering with it. Encouraging the youth to express their full capabilities would contribute to the thriving of our continent.

How old were you when you painted your first piece, what did it represent?

I painted my first piece at 32, it was entitled “The Flamboyant”, it represented the cosmos, in its center was a divine attribute that exuded luminous rays. This painting is dear to me because it constantly reminds me of the unconventional aspect of my journey.

How does inspiration come to you?

my inspiration comes from Islam which is an inner state of being where the self humbly surrenders to its Divine Source. My paintings capture the movements inherent to the Sufi poetry I compose.

What is the particularity of your paintings?

my paintings celebrate the Sufi tradition, their themes revolve around the quest for the Divine, bliss as well as the total blossoming of the individual; they also are colored with my Malian and Gabonese cultures. Each painting is unique and possesses a universal sacred message to decipher. Actually my paintings are like mirrors that reflect who we are deep within. On my website visualsufipoetry.com, I explain the meaning each piece so that viewers may have a sense of the symbolism behind their conception.

You recently had an exhibit in New York, how did the public react to your paintings?

my exhibit “Inner Treasures” curated by Jose Reyes was an enriching experience for me. The audience was intrigued and very moved by this art and its origin. I got the chance to interact with people of all ages who could relate to the spiritual themes of the artwork and this beyond the differences in languages, religions and cultures. I marveled at the level of understanding art can create, it is a phenomenal experience!

You also are a poet and in your poem “Art in Islam” you refer to the virtues of prayer, what do you think of the medias who project Islam as a negative religion?

When it comes to the appreciation of religions, everything is a matter of perception, intelligence, interpretation, sensibility as well as research. I think that any form of information can be tainted, falsified, or misinterpreted so that the majority is conditioned to have an erroneous perception of specific phenomena. The stigmatization of Islam has been ongoing for centuries, it aims at maintaining an elite’s monopoly over the resources which normally belong to the planetary collectivity. Whereas Islam in its authentic form has always denounced elitism, exclusion, oppression, exploitation, it has always encouraged equality of all people, love, peace, justice, knowledge, respect for diversity and freedom of all. It is important to do research in as many fields as possible because knowledge illuminates, it allows us to make better choices based on what we truly know and not based on what is reported to us by the medias and other.

You paint women with graceful gestures, sumptuously dressed; does woman illuminate man?

I used to mostly paint abstract pieces and then two years ago I did the album cover for a jazz musician which was a painting with five African women holding instruments. During the conception of this painting, I saw my art evolve toward the celebration of the feminine principle through its original manifestation on earth, thus African. I then decided to conceive a series of paintings entitled “Luminous Dark Matter” that depicts graceful women sometimes in an ancient historical context. It was a way for me to celebrate, through my pen and brushes, the majestic octave of Africa which is oftentimes omitted from history. I also must stress that on my paintings, women symbolize the soul, therefore their sumptuousness evokes their spiritual essence that is transmitted through their progeny. It is the consciousness of this essence which illuminates not only men but all humanity as well.

Isn’t it difficult for an African artist to make it in the US where there are so many other talented artists?

I think it depends on the artist’s expectations as well as the specificity of her/his art. I believe that there is enough room for all artists wherever they are, with their different inspirations and forms of expression. We’ve been used to the culture of competition yet in a field like art whose true purpose is to uplift people, there shouldn’t be any competition. With the internet, the promotion of arts has become more accessible especially for independent artists whose innovative works defy conventional norm. I always encourage artists to have a web site/blog. African art is appreciated here, it is renown to have inspired movements like cubism for instance which actually comes from Gabon. Artists should dare to innovate and be fearless in honoring their own individual paths because when an artist has something truly unique and rare to express s/he must cease opportunities to share it with their fellow beings.

Do you have the sentiment that you are contributing to the promotion of African culture in the US?

yes I have this humble sentiment and even more so because Africa generates a particular interest in the fields of arts, fashion, history, natural medicine, spirituality. There is a real fascination for the immense potential that Africa possesses. As far as creativity is concerned, it is a universal experience where frontiers between people seem to dissolve; everybody just unites beyond the superficial considerations that can separate us. But considering that Africa is the cradle of mankind, isn’t it natural that it’s through her that we gather to reminisce over our common origin? It is in this paradigm that art created from an African perspective is essential.

What is your greatest wish?

in this world that is currently undergoing great upheavals, with the masses’ aspirations for more freedom, more equality, my greatest wish would be to see the institutions that govern the world finally align themselves with the authentic and urgent needs of humanity who is in constant evolution. It would be a great advent if the masses were more included in the shares of planetary resources. We already see that the old exploitative structures that interfere with the development of Africa are collapsing, these disharmonious systems must either vanish or adapt to the current reality that demands inclusion of the majority in the prosperity of nations.

Interview conducted by Ahmed Touré for Amina Magazine issue 495/July 2011.

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Filed under Gabon, Islam, social justice, Spiritual Art, Spirituality, Sufism, Visual Arts

Aïda Touré: “the richness and advancement of civilizations always manifest through inspiration …”

I was recently interviewed by Tribune2lartiste, which is a web magazine about African cultures and arts. Below is the English translation of the interview.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Jean-Jacques Dikongué | Tribune2lartiste.com
When you have thoroughly uncovered her artistic world, heard her or read her words, there is the question of whether there is an area or topic that Aïda Touré would address without displaying such ease, lucidity, serenity and above all with so much humility as when she speaks of her activities for which I wanted to learn a little more. Discover and be seduced by this young woman whose depth is about the size of her talent.

Fine artist Aïda Touré

Who is Aïda Touré?

 

I am a Gabonese-Malian artist who lives in New York, I work in the field of sacred arts. I am the author of three books of Sufi poetry entitled “Unmanifest Poems”, “The Sublime Sphere” and “Nocturnal Light”. These books are studied in schools in the United States and Canada. I also am a painter, music composer and I conceived a jewelry line that actually carries miniature versions of my paintings. My works have been published on four continents.
When does the origin of creation was a matter of questioning for you?

 

From an early age, I wondered from whence came this immensity around us: the sky, oceans, stars, mountains, nature in general, all this spectacle fascinated and intrigued me.

Is it this intrigue of the creation that led you to paint?

 

This intrigue first led me to an introspection that was imperative because I had a certain detachment from worldly expectations, I did not experience them as priorities, they seemed totally alien and even oppressive to me. It is when I aligned myself with this contemplative disposition I have that I discovered my voice under different artistic activities based on spirituality.
“Visual Sufi Poetry”: Can you explain it?

 

“Visual Sufi Poetry” is the term I attribute to my art because it took form from the Sufi poetry I write. I was reading one of my poems one day and it inspired me imagery of indescribable beauty, so it is in this context that I started to paint without having received any formal training. So it is this Sufi poetry that my paintings portray. Sufism is the spiritual dimension of Islam, it calls for the quest of the Divine within self. This tradition of light, which is the essence of all religions, manifested initially in Kemet Africa and over the centuries, it spread in different cultures and nations through the message of the prophets (peace be upon them) and sages. Sufism is known for the sublime beauty of its expressions that celebrate love for the Divine. Sufi poetry to date is the most widely read poetry in the world, by its depth, it transcends all differences erected between men, it gathers us all in its essence, in unity.

 

Is there a link between your religion (Islam) and your work as a painter? If so, how does it translate?

 

My work as a painter blends with my experience of Islam which is an inner state where the self surrenders to its Divine Source. Creativity itself is an extension of this state because to fully live it out, you must know how to self-efface.

 

You are a singer, painter and poet? How do you manage to make live all three activities?

 

I am a composer of instrumental meditative music. Poetry, painting and music came to me naturally, so they breathe on their own, they are an expression of the same reality. They also reflect my love for harmony, beauty and wisdom.

 

Is it the same idea behind your work in the three arts you practice?

 

Yes these three arts unravel to express the same idea of rapture that is continuous, timeless; through my artistic activities, I aspire to honor it and to share it with my fellow beings because it emanates from this luminescence in us all that unites us in the same Source.

Do you think we can have the path that is yours by staying in Gabon, Mali, or even in Cameroon? Or should we necessarily get out of Africa and even leave France to grow artistically.

 

We are part of the same Universe, borders disappear when it comes to creativity. So it is not in itself the location of the artist that matters, but more so the awareness of his intrinsic identity that shines through his art. If the artist works on himself, cultivates love and masters his ego, this wonderful experience will be palpable through his art that will be unique, alive and incandescent. It is this inner work that is most important because in this context, opportunities to share one’s work come naturally to the artist wherever he is for beauty is universal, everyone recognizes it, appreciates it and invites it. I always advise artists to have a website or blog on the net and to exhibit their art, to share it despite the difficult conditions in which they might work, regardless of the indifference of the institutions that should support culture, do not be discouraged, rather these obstacles must be used to grow, to overcome and to transcend these structures that fail to respond to the real needs of the people. It is through creative expression that authentic value is created; the richness and advancement of civilizations always manifest through inspiration, through high ideas, therefore we must create, innovate and celebrate this process which has always had a particular intensity in Africa. Despite the systemic confiscation of its resources and the lack of development it causes, the Motherland still carries the spark of ingenuity; natural resources are not just material, they are also spiritual yet we must vehicle them so that that which has been taken from us by force returns to us through love; this is imperative for the future generations so they can freely benefit from these resources. This is one of the important purposes of artistic expression, so we must support and promote our culture for the empowerment of our progeny.

 

What is your view on the interest that is given to culture in some French-speaking African countries?

 

I think there is a sort of awakening, people are getting more and more interested in the richness of their ancestral culture that was demeaned by colonization, they fervently reclaim their rights to be free, to prosper, to be respected, they do not want to be treated as excluded citizens on their own land so they demand that the representatives of institutions harmonize with this momentum instead of attempting to suppress it. People are revolted by the confiscation of their resources, and even culturally this sentiment is increasingly expressed by African artists and it will intensify until there is real change.

 

What do you think of the attitude of the Senegalese authorities who continue to sequester the works of African artists who participated to Fesman 2010? (http://www.tribune2lartiste.com/?p=5689 )

 

I wasn’t aware of this situation but if it turns out that the works of artists who participated in the festival are really sequestered, I hope that they will be returned otherwise this could tarnish the prestige of the festival and the reputation of those who organize it. It would be a shame because this kind of initiative that celebrates the Black Arts should be encouraged.
What is your definition of success? Do you have it considering the recognition your work has received so far?

 

My perspective on success is somewhat unconventional because I evaluate it according to standards of timelessness. I am grateful for the attention my work has received but I will have a real sense of success only if over time these creations help to instill reverence for the divine spark in my fellow beings, this reverence which is denied to them by an inharmonious and unequal global system.

 

What is the formula to have in this business?

 

It takes a lot of patience, perseverance, devotion, no fear to innovate and to be oneself. It is equally important for an artist to learn about his rights and to enforce them by demanding fairer contracts that would allow him to benefit from future sales of any original artwork he ever sold. Over time the value of the artistic work increases therefore it generates greater revenues, the creator should also benefit from the increased value of his work in time.

 

Will you choose two of your paintings and comment them?

 

1-Amina-Disamu
This painting is part of a series entitled “Luminous Dark Matter” which celebrates the attributes of the feminine principle in its original manifestation on Earth, therefore African. “Amina~ Disamu” evokes the sacred role of the feminine principle in developed societies. In my work, the woman is a metaphor for the soul, so its lavish ornaments and clothes reflect the innate richness that we all possess as human beings that descend from the highest sphere of existence. On this painting, the grace of the subject shows that life is a natural resource with the capabilities that lie dormant in us, it is upon reverence for this life and encouragement of these capabilities that society blossoms. The subject on this painting exudes all the subtlety and gentle force that woman can hold, as physical manifestation of the soul, she is thus a vessel for divine attributes. Her Harp in this context symbolizes life that restores truth, love and justice on Earth.
2. On the Edge of the Union
 This painting shows the interaction between the feminine and the masculine principles, which when enlivened by Divine Love leads to unity and complete balance. On this piece, the right side reflects the male principle which looks after the sacred activity of the feminine principle to its left. When balance between the two principles is manifested, harmony triumphs and thus radiates in our environment as well. You see, all the chaos on Earth is due to the imbalance between these two principles that are present within ourselves and in all that exists. Only the complementarity of these two principles triggers the development of our innate capabilities.
We leave you the last word, and wish you to carry even higher the colors of Africa.
Thank you to Tribune2lartiste for giving a voice to artists from the continent, it is very important to support art and artists because through artistic creation, we converge with our fellow beings toward a reality which elevates us, which magnifies what we have been, what we are and what we will become through the total emancipation of future generations.
Website: http://visualsufipoetry.com
Contact: info@visualsufipoetry.com

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Filed under Gabon, Oil Painting, social justice, Spiritual Art, Spirituality, Sufi Poetry, Sufism, Tasawwuf, the prophets (as), Visual Arts

Imposition of Authentic Value

When a financial system is based upon usury and speculation, it is bound to collapse because it’s out of phase with the Divine Law. All prophets (as) of The Creator prohibited such irreverent practices as they deplete natural resources, exploit humans/workers and thus cause suffering, chaos, poverty and overall abuse of Nature itself.

I think that with all the conflicts that are currently going on around the world plus the difficulties surprisingly experienced by the illegal system itself, it’s more important than ever for individuals to “create” value as in time the monopoly of the planet’s wealth by an elite always ceases and thus transforms with the potential to finally expand the way it was intended to by the Divine law… In order to welcome this transformation it becomes necessary for all excluded populations to “create” value, but real value not unfair, arbitrary, artificial value that elitists imposed to the world for centuries. Real value relates to the higher scheme of things and therefore is timeless in essence as it comes from the Truth; it naturally exposes it instead of concealing it at the expanse of the collectivity. Authentic value is inherent to all, it is accessible to all, it’s free-flowing, uncontrolled and abundant.

For years, sages have said that mankind is being ushered into a new age where serious systemic crisis will force us to be more independent from so-called leaders (and the unlawful system they preserve), to turn inward and thus to live with more humility, compassion and love. For the first time I think that we are beginning to see signs of this confrontation of the ego culture and its colossal failures.

© 2007 Aida Toure.

“Those who live off the interest on loans will never stand up, except in the way those whom Satan knocks down with a fit rise up again. That is because they say: “Trading is just like taking interest.” Yet God has permitted trading and forbidden taking interest… “ ~ 2:275 Qur’an

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