Paramount in her life and her art is her faith in the unity of an all-embracing divinity and universal human values. Working with many layers of thin paint, her brush produces fluid shapes of joyful dancers set against abstract patterns.
Peter SelzArt Historian and former curator of Museum of Modern Art and founder of Berkeley Art Museum, Berkeley.
In her paintings Arastu brings Arabic Calligraphy into dialogue with Western Modern art movements like Abstract Expressionism and Color Field painting. Her use of thin washes of acrylic, geometric patterns and other elements result in a sense of deep mystery and profound color.
Terrence DempseyFounding Director, Museum of Contemporary Religious Art, Saint Louis University.
Arastu’s flowing lines stem from the influence of Persian culture on Islamic script while her concentric compositions reflect rotating Indian mandalas as symbols of the universe.
Dr. Cathleen FleckAssociate Professor of Art History at Saint Louis University.
Arastu’s art, with its joyous but generalized dancers (Sufi dervishes?), jewel-like colors and rich, layered textures, embraces the collective pursuit of union with the divine, which she sees in ecumenical, inclusive, non-sectarian terms.
DeWitt ChengSan Francisco Bay Area art writer andCritic, Curator of Stanford Art Spaces.
She successfully melds traditional design motifs, contemporary abstraction, and the most exquisite calligraphy into works that can speak to anyone willing to listen and see. So I learn from Salma’s artful prayers.
Preston MetcalfChief Curator, Triton Museum of Art
Salma Arastu is blessed with a fluent and lyrical visual language.
Professor Ricardo VieraDirector / Curator, Lehigh University Art Galleries / Bethlehem, PA.
If these paintings attain their liveliness through a rubbing together of opposites at a conceptual level, a potent dynamism also operates within each composition in Arastu’s painterly style. It is the mark of Arastu’s personal absorption of the stories she recasts.
William ZimmerArt Critic, New York Times New York City
It is interesting, however, that the most recent work, structured to explore the contemporary artistic idiom, clearly displays elements encoded in the style of Indian miniatures. And indeed the works which recall this tradition are among the artist’s strongest pieces.
Charlotta KotikCurator of Contemporary Art, Brooklyn Museum of Art
This work, very much like Pablo Piccaso’s Guernica, captures the phenomenon and horror of people unwittingly caught in an inexplicable tragedy and by inescapable peril. What I find most remarkable about this artist’s work is what seems to be her attempt at a continuous line. As this canvas unwinds she carries us across in a sweep of pictorial action.
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. Read More