Art in Dialogue

In this section, you’ll find the artwork of Kinnari Saraiya and Salma Arastu, whose works introduce the spirit of dialogue to this showcase. “Dialogue” here means to partake in meaningful exchange that expands the worldview of all involved. At times, such exchange shines a light on what we share and helps us celebrate and respect our differences.

In the works below, the spirit of dialogue and interchange is represented by a blending of symbols signifying the interconnected nature of Islam and Hinduism in the experiences of the artists. Rather than flatten identities into a monolith, these works celebrate the beauty of difference expressed in a shared space. 

 

Kinnari Saraiya

Coexist

The harmony formed between Hindus and Muslims was disrupted under the British Raj that employed the "divide and conquer" rule through imposing religious categories.


This installation comprises two panels celebrating the distinct qualities of two individual religions, while also bringing them together through shadows. Lotus is a holy symbol in the Hindu heritage and the complex geometry is sacred to the Islamic culture. Both of these symbols, contrasting in representation, have coexisted despite the measures of the British Empire.


We perceive time through the medium of light. The light in this work represents the time Hindus and Muslims spent together on one land, coexisting.

 

Salma Arastu

Divine Square

This painting presents concepts of sacred Islamic geometry from my point of view. The basic purpose of creating sacred geometry is to represent the unseen, infinite God.


Patterns created from one point can be stretched endlessly and open up so many small windows through triangles, squares and circles. Each small open space can pull us deep inside to explore and meditate. I work with layers and these layers are created with thin acrylic glazes, wood, paper and pen and ink. I like the transparency and mystery behind each layer.

 

Light Upon Light

In this painting, I have used repetitive, square Islamic geometric patterns and placed a Hindu symbol of light, diya (oil lamps), in the center of each square. This creates a visual interfaith dialogue. Several layers of thin acrylic glazes are used over and over again to coat this mixed media work that uses paper stencils, pen, ink, and acrylics. The light blues and warm oranges suggest peace and tranquility. The message of this piece is to know each other through that light in your heart.

 

Sacred Unity

In this painting I have merged both Hindu and Islamic sacred geometrical symbols. Born into the Hindu tradition in my native India, and embracing Islam later on, I have enjoyed the beauty of these two distinctive traditions first hand. So, in this painting, the central square motif is inspired from Islamic six hexagon design with two triangles. These remind me of Hindu sacred geometry, specifically the two triangles - one upward (Purusha) and other one downward (Prakriti) – with rangoli patterns around the geometric design and in the center. I visualize two faiths merging together in art.

 
Coexist: Kinnari Saraiya