Posts by Fatima Zahra Hassan - ZAHRA

Visual Artist/Educator/Consultant Asia, Middle East and North Africa

eL Seed’s New Scripts – Interview by Johnny Hanson for ARAMCO WORLD

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EL SEED SPOKE BY PHONE
FROM HIS DUBAI STUDIO
Let’s start with “calligraffiti.” There are quite a few artists who do it now. Did you coin the term?
No, to be honest with you, this is a term that has been used the first time in New York for a show, I think in ’84. A show created by Jeffrey Deitch for some calligraphy artists and some graffiti artists from New York. He had this vision 30 years ago that calligraphy and graffiti would merge together. To be honest with you, me today, I don’t even use this word to define myself. I’m just using calligraphy in my artwork. I do sculpture, I do canvases, I do art installations. I’m trying to get out of the box that I think I used to be in a few years ago.
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More: http://www.aramcoworld.com/en-US/Articles/July-2017/eL-Seed-s-New-Scripts

On Contemporary Extremism and Cultural Oppression

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In Medieval times, discrete attempts to diverge from authoritative ideology were tolerated by the Islamic ruling class for art’s sake, fostering a more liberal and independent society of artists. With the emergence of ISIS, we witness the complete suppression of critical thought and freedom of thinking

by Arielle Blattner
Graphic designer and MA Student of Islamic Art

As long as there have been religions, there have been sects. As long as there have been religions and sects, there have been vicious wars between sects. No matter which division, the proclamation of faith written on the flag of ISIS lā ilāha illā allāh (“There is no god but Allah”) is the same phrase written on Islamist medieval coins since the 8th century, and continues to be seen on the flag of ISIS. In addition to spreading Islam being the main goal of these regimes, the suppression of free thought (whether non-muslim…

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The Conferences of the Birds

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The encounter between fashion design and a mystical Persian poem: Conversation with Moroccan fashion designer Said Mahrouf

Interview

The Conference of the Birds, also known as The Language of the Birds is certainly the most celebrated work of the twelfth-century Persian poet, Farid al-Din Attar.
It tells the story of a flock of birds that set out to seek their king and god, the Simurgh. Only thirty of them survive the perilous path, on which they traverse seven dangerous valleys and reach their ultimate destination: a lake. There they see their image mirrored in the water and recognize themselves as the very god they were seeking.This mystical poem clearly lends itself to numerous interpretations and, even if the author is not himself a Sufi,, the tale is full of Sufi references and meaning.
The mystical and evocative nature of the plot has its visual counterpart in an exceptional medieval…

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A 17th century copy of Saʻdi’s collected works from the British Library Blog

The Persian writer and poet Musliḥ al-Dīn Saʻdī of Shiraz (ca.1210-1291 or 1292) are without a doubt one of the best-known and most skilful writers of classical Persian literature. With an established reputation even during his lifetime, his works have been select reading for royal princes and ʻset textsʼ for more humble students of Persian the world over. It is hardly surprising then that a corresponding number of deluxe copies survive of his works. A previous post (What were the Mughals’ favourite books?) described some copies of his best known works, the Būstān (ʻFragrant Gardenʼ or ʻOrchardʼ) and the Gulistān (ʻRose Gardenʼ), in the Library’s collection. Another sumptuous manuscript, which has also been digitised, is an early 17th century copy of his Kullīyāt (ʻCollected Worksʼ)IO Islamic 843 which was completed in 1034 (1624/25) by Maḥmūd, a scribe of Shiraz (al-kātib al-Shīrāzī), during the reign of Shah ʻAbbas (r. 1588-1629).

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Very little is known about the poet’s life. Born in Shiraz, Saʻdī left his hometown to study in Baghdad. After a period of study at the Nizamiyah Madrasah, Baghdad, he set off on travels that lasted over thirty years. His experiences and adventures found their way into his writings, including being a prisoner of the Crusaders in Syria, visiting Kashgar, and killing a temple priest at Somnath in India. Many of these tales, however, have been proved to be anecdotal rather than biographical. Saʻdī returned to Shiraz in 1257, already a widely recognised poet and completed his two most famous works: the Būstān in 1257 and the Gulistān in 1258. These two works of poetry and prose respectively, contain anecdotes from the life of the author, moral teachings, and advice for rulers. Many stories communicate elements of Sufi teachings through their dervish protagonists. Other works reflect the changing political situation in Shiraz. Several of his poems are dedicated to the Salghurid dynasty, which ruled in Fars from 1148 to 1282, while later works are addressed to their successors the Mongols and their administrators.

More: http://blogs.bl.uk/asian-and-african/2017/04/a-17th-century-copy-of-sa%CA%BBdis-collected-works-io-islamic-843.html?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+asian-and-african+%28Asia+and+Africa%29

A glimpse into the unseen creative studios of Hackney, East London from Creative Boom by Emily Gosling

A beautiful new photo-book lifts the lid (or creaky door) to a number of studios in Hackney, east London, presenting a fascinating insight into the lives of these creative types for all those voyeurs who prefer to be carefully ensconced behind their coffee tables.

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More: http://www.creativeboom.com/inspiration/a-glimpse-into-the-unseen-creative-studios-of-hackney-east-london/

New Alex Senna Street Art Around The East End

London Calling Blog

A few weekends back saw the return after a long break from London of Brazilian Street Artist Alex Senna who was over ahead of his current solo exhibition ‘The Nada’ at the Unit 5 Gallery – which is a fantastic show and one we will be reporting on shortly. Whilst over Alex Senna treated London to four delightful works, ranging from warm to surreal in subjects and all presented in that whimsical illustrative style that is so instantaneously Alex Senna.P1800254

Lovely work in Bacon Street featuring a delightful quaint scene with a mother cycling along carrying her trio of children.

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Surreal and fun work in Hanbury Street.

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Fun work in Yorkton Street, Hoxton outside the Unit 5 Gallery.

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Large-scale work along Hackney Road and at current our favourite of the few murals we have seen on this wall over the last year or so, such warmth. This work was put up…

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The Beautiful Wonders of Persian Architecture from 5 Cities in Iran from Arch20

Medieval Iran has witnessed the emergence of some of the most beautiful wonders of Islamic art and architecture. These wonders mostly emerged during the Safavid dynasty, when Isfahan was the capital city of Persia. The Persian architecture from the 1500s to the 1800s, known as the early modern period, featured quite distinct architecture elements like the pointed arches, the sculptural stalactites, known as ‘Muqarnas’, and the bulbous domes with floral decorations. The polychrome tiles of blue, gold, turquoise, and white cover the interiors of mosques and palaces, in the forms of complicated floral and geometric patterns as well as the Arabic calligraphy quoting verses from the Quran.
The marvellous architecture that rose in the time remains up to this day a sight to behold. It transcends you to the heavens with its otherworldly charm. So, let’s take a look at those images by photographers who managed to capture the essence of this quite unique charm.

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More: http://www.arch2o.com/beautiful-wonders-persian-architecture-5-cities-iran/