Saturday, November 11, 2006

Finding God

Tranquilart uses the concept of a butterfly as it’s logo: the universal metaphor for change.

I attempt to demonstrate ‘change’ in my work by use of dark and light shades of colour. It represents the transition from chaos to clarity: in thought and action. In my new work I have began to incorporate the butterfly design into the actual work.

Change involves time, and thus becomes a Journey. It has a starting point and a destination.

The destinations are many and the final one in our ‘living phase’ is when we close our eyes to the Angel of Death. For surely as one who believes in an afterlife; I know for certain that my destination has another aspect to it.

In this manner change is not seen as a random incident but rather as a process. A process trapped in time, events, feelings, thought, emotion and action or even inaction. Certainly the scenarios we come across anticipate a response from us. And our response fluctuates all the while. We embark upon an amazingly distinct journey, or process of change through these events.

‘Finding God’ quite plainly demonstrates this journey towards harmony. For fundamentally harmony comes from God Almighty; the Source of Harmony. Here I’d like to re-remind readers that none of these write-ups are conclusive of the work or the concepts behind them. The process of looking for God Almighty occurs when episodes of disharmony cloud ones’ vision: veiling away that fact: that God Almighty is “closer to you than your jugular vein”.

The thinking behind this work goes back to Winter 2004 when a friend brought me a little book called “The Spiritual Master” from her trip to Chicago.

There is a saying at the front cover of the book [and inside too] which took both our attention:

“God is at home,

It’s we who have gone out.”


I didn’t think much at the time.

Then I got ill, and this saying came to mind. As the months progressed and my sicknotes increased in their duration, I felt my life being vacuumed away bit by bit. Everything was changing around me quicker than I could bear to adjust. My prayers became difficult with a sling initially, and the pain continued to drain my energy reserves. I felt I was fighting something; there was something provoking me to battle, but it had more power than me.

I was baffled.

I was also cut off from making artwork which was extremely frustrating as I didn’t know how to channel what I was feeling into active motion. At times though, I gave in to my frustrations and physical limitations: it was simply too difficult for me to cut myself away from making art altogether. It was then that I realised that I could not forego long periods of time without some practical absorption into a creative activity. I had re-started my reading at this time after many years of not having read anything non-academic, and this kept my mind engaged to an extent – but I really needed to immerse myself into the work, and that was something I only felt comfort from, doing with the art. Reading required a lot of concentration, something I didn’t always have.

Towards the end of April 2005 I produced the first version of ‘Finding God: Through Heavan And Hell’ and this was gifted to a Teacher whom I love dearly with a request for prayers and guidance. I found this piece extremely difficult to do: and for many reasons too. It contained within it many feelings, I felt angry, disappointed, sad, hopeless, in physical pain, uncertain, confused, lost, hurt, trapped, numb and fearful.

The orange surrounding the painting represents the flames of hell; they also represent the yellowish sun-rays from my Hajj; the sun shining on our faces as we travelled Mecca, Mina, Arafat, Muzdalifah, and Medina. This two-fold meaning is synonymous with life events: the good and the bad it appears are hidden within one another. The sadness and the happiness are intertwined. The square canvas represents the Kabah – or essentially a visit which was a turning point in my life. On the one hand this depicts what I thought I had achieved: my answers after years of beseeching God Almighty. On the other hand it showed the parallels of our life with the next.

The centre begins to become lighter and brighter: depicting the understanding that our earthly experiences have a heavenly dimension too. That our life events contain reflections of the next world; the work on the concept of the Garden that I was so keen in introducing into the art. That there is a Paradise where clarity exists. And that paradise is translated into this world also; where we enter a state where we find clarity. We see the orange as chaos and the white as the clarity where one arrives after the turmoil is over. After the settling of the dust, one finds peace. The green depicts Paradise. And thereby in the centre itself is the Name of the Divine stitched in chain stitches and within those chains I sewed 28 white beads representing my 28 earthly years. The chains ‘link’ one another to form the Divine Name; representing how our Teachers link us with the Prophet Alaislam and through him to God Almighty. I actually perfumed the centre of the piece to comply with the heavenly ethos.

7-8 months later… during the Autumn of 2005 and my meeting with the two lady physicians in the south of England who instigated me to question whether I had ‘Submitted’ to my condition; I figured out that nope I hadn’t and no wonder my energies were being drained; no wonder I was fighting the battle of losers. And I decided to develop my work further. This coincided with the work on Circles of Knowledge.

In much of this work we see the whirls: representing our journey, but also representing the cosmos; creation; the universe. These A5 pieces try to show a search through travelling; spiritual and physical.

Finding God is somewhat a misnomer – really it is. What this work is actually about is accepting that everything is happening in accordance with a Divine Plan: accepting that there is a Force looking after us: accepting that we have limitations. For God Almighty is Ever-Lasting; The First; The Last; The Owner of the Heavans and the earth and all that exists in between; The Creator of all… It is man who but, forgets this.

In this manner we are all Finding God – for we are essentially finding the confidence to move forward in life; with the knowledge that we are in Safe Hands. Walking knowing that we move by His leave and permission; recognising that at times the ground beneath our feet will become shaky – but that there is someone helping us and who will ensure we never trip or fall no matter what obstacles lay on the path. To have the confidence to do this and believe it with certainty: to have conviction in His Care when things are going so so wrong: to believe that it’s all happening how it should. When faced with suffering; to want to believe that it is all momentary – is all about Finding God.

Finally for myself, to be able to write the Divine Name again and again in so many ways in reality dipped my being into the process of Finding God. [I think I painted over a hundred of the A5 boards which you can see here; from December 2005 to September 2006]. And amongst the many blessings I have had over this period of illness is that there were always so many people to buy my work; which meant I kept on immersing myself into an activity which was giving me answers; which restored my energy and at the same time helped me cope with this internal urge to output my creative thought. It is my belief that we are all finding Him in all that we do in our own ways.


“God is at home,

It’s we who have gone out.”


Blogger zanjabil said...

“God is at home,
It’s we who have gone out.”

Al hamdu lillah! It was this very realisation that led me to embrace Islam. God is always here; it's we who are absent.

Indeed, prayer is our homecoming.

Who wrote that book?

5:38 pm  
Blogger Daughter of Adam said...

Thanks for your comment respected brother!

Click Here For book reference

Prayer is our homecoming. Thanks.

Also JazakalaKhairn for indirectly making me research up on Zanjabil :-) I was advised to increase uptake of ginger by my consultant. Interesting.

Peace and prayers.

7:54 pm  
Blogger zanjabil said...

Zanj is a sister!! :))

12:00 am  
Blogger Daughter of Adam said...


Oh deary me.
Sorry sugarplum! :-)

11:44 pm  

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