Statement

My works are lyrical, spiritual, figurative, and calligraphic. My paintings reveal stories of unity in diversity, peace and joy, celebration of life, and women and dancing whirling dervishes. Whether in paintings or sculptures, the faceless figures in my work represent the universal oneness of all humanity. My calligraphic work attempts to celebrate the same message of universality spread through verses in Arabic calligraphy and in the poetry of Rumi.

Line is a very important component in my work. I celebrate energy and movement of line in my paintings, drawings, and sculptures. Since my exposure to Arabic calligraphy during my stay in the Middle East, my line has become more lyrical, melodious, and powerful.

The lines I create represent the spiritual energy that emanates from a soul. I use the same stroke of the brush for Arabic letters as I do for suggesting human forms. Both are fluid as if temporary expressions of the eternal universal energy. These paintings are visually flowing in deep, hushed tones, connecting forms and ground in a spiritual union, a synthesis of contour, and an exploration of space.

My method is a physical and meditative process that fills each canvas with moving lines and multi-layered textures. For me creating art means getting physically involved with the piece: scratching, sanding, layering materials like paper, rope, modeling paste, paper mache or copper plate, and embroidering with pen and ink. I apply thin layers of acrylic color and the different layers bring out subliminal images.

Arabic Calligraphy, miniatures, and the folk art of Islam and the Hindu tradition continue to influence my work today. I have tried to bring together Eastern spirituality and Western techniques of painting learned over the years. Through the contrasting elements in my work, I yearn and search for unity, and when that unity or balance is achieved, it brings about a tranquility and joy.
I am blessed because I was born with the urge to create and a love for God. These two gifts have been sources of eternal joy and a constant flow of positive inspiration in my life. My mission is to spread the joy and blessings I have received through my work.

Salma Arastu