23.2.09

Art

I am not an art person. I do not particularly enjoy museums and have no ability to appreciate good art. Maybe that's why I've never been interested in visiting Europe. Sometimes I wish I did, but, well, I am who I am. Not really an art hater - it's more of an indifference to it.

But I love Islamic art. It's not about painting naked people or throwing paint at a canvas. It's about geometry. It in no way, shape, or form resembles the geometry that we suffered through in middle school. It's all about turning quantitative lines and shapes into qualitative, beautiful things. "Geometry is an objective manifestation of the principles of creation". Hmmmm.

Islam forbids making likenesses of the Prophet Mohammad, so all of their art is people-less. And Islamic art is manifested through their architecture. You start with a line, every line turns into a shape, every shape turns into a group of shapes which turns into a wall or a carpet or a picture that makes up a building which supposedly represents God. And there is purpose behind it: "For architecture to be significantly effective in enabling us to experience ourselves as complete, embodied spiritual beings, all the senses need to be addressed simultaneously." Quite different from growing up in a church building whose geometric lines were made from the floor of a basketball court.
Even the Petronas Towers (below) in KL were created to reflect designs in Islamic art.


Mosques are beautiful places. Churches are certainly beautiful too, but I haven't been to any of the old architectural wonders of Europe etc. Christians don't place such a high value on their buildings, which is fine because we see and discover God in different ways. But we can at least appreciate the beauty and the meaning behind it.

I went to KL last week for some UNHCR meetings. I myself didn't actually get to go; I gave up my spot so that someone else could attend. But because of that, I got to visit the Islamic Arts Museum in KL. Which is great because Reuben hates to go, but it happens to be one of my favorite spots in the city. Geometry made beautiful galore. I have been there three times and have fallen in love with their gift shop. The pictures below are from the National Mosque, built right next door (from my 2006 trip-a few might be from other mosques, too. It's been long enough that I can't remember).
The National Mosque also had a rather large and intimidating "Boycott America" banner posted out front, condemning America's 'support' to Israel during the Palestinian attacks.


It has big logos of Colgate toothpaste, Starbucks, and Coca-Cola with big fat red X's through them. Although I was stupid enough to admit that I was American when I went in (I often claim I'm Canadian - who doesn't love a Canadian?), I was still received warmly. I even had my own personal escort.



Note: I love this picture. I snuck my camera into the museum and stumbled upon this big old painting on which, upon closer inspection, the entire Koran was written. You wouldn't be able to read the words anyway; they're in Arabic.









No comments

Post a Comment

© Reuben + ErinMaira Gall