+Media - Fragrance of Faith
BY MUHAMMAD YUSUF
FEBRUARY 25, 2016
Mar. 5 sees the opening of an art exhibition titled ‘Light & Love in the 99 Names of Allah’ by Noor, or Art Noor, as he is also known. Consisting of 33 abstract expressionistic works inspired by the 99 Names of Allah, it will be held until Apr. 16 at Sofitel Dubai The Palm Resort & Spa, organised by MONDA Gallery, Dubai. Art Noor is a well-known Indian artist and author based in Sharjah. Of Muslim faith and originating from the advertising world, Art Noor broke away from his highly successful corporate career in advertising in 2002 to dedicate his time to art, and more particularly, to all topics related to the Creator, and Love.
After two intense years of practice, he held his first solo exhibition in 2004, followed by two more exhibitions in 2008 and 2009. He continued working on the subject of the ‘99 Names of Allah’, which culminated with the publication of his book on the subject and an extensive solo exhibition at the World Trade Centre, Abu Dhabi, in 2013. At the beginning of 2015, he held another exhibition called ‘Ruminiscence’ at Z Gallery, Four Points by Sheraton, Dubai, introducing a new series of works based on the love poetry of Maulana Jalaluddin Rumi.
He made his first oil painting at the age of 10, a 3 x 3 feet work on wooden board which almost took him two months to complete during summer holidays. It was inspired by an abstract painting he had seen of the cubist period and was called ‘The King and her Maids’. Following post graduate studies in communication and design, he worked for 20 years in advertising, all the while pursuing his creative passions, namely, photography, films, writing, and art. It was in 2003 he started painting full time, in the UAE. Two years later, he started selling his art and set up a studio for himself in Sharjah International Airport Free Zone.
MONDA Gallery owner Etienne van den Peereboom, says: “It is a great pleasure and honour to organise this exhibition with Art Noor, at a time where his work from the past 14 years reaches incredible significance amidst current international developments, and at the same time offers non-Muslim residents of the UAE an easy and fascinating entry point to the Muslim faith. His artworks are universal and captivating in many ways”. Though undoubtedly inspired by the calligraphic constructions of the Names of Allah, Art Noor decided he would honour them through the spirit of abstract expressionism or “lyrical abstraction”. His reason: the Creator is unexplainable and can only be discerned.
He experiments with various styles and techniques and uses, for example, both wash and hard brushstrokes. But the spiritual dimensions of his work are self-evident, whatever the medium or technique. His works are also noted for bold strokes and energy, fused with colour harmonies. Art Noor has discovered that colour and vivacity, key features of modern abstraction, when coupled with arresting elements of Arabic calligraphy, can give rise to images which radiate raw movement and dynamism. He fuses modern expressionistic abstraction with calligraphic forms to create aesthetic imagery of the divine. Inspired by traditional calligraphic shapes of the divine Names, he builds contemporary interpretations on canvas, with layer upon layer of acrylic, oil, ink and metallic pigments.
“Spontaneity and movement is what drives my work”, he says, “and it usually evolves into something meaningful with the inspiration of the moment. Many times in the past my work has been interpreted as emotionally charged melodies. “I love improvising at the moment, and do not follow the deterministic school of painting. I usually begin with anything - a line, a dot, a stain - or something experimental, like…how about mixing coal with white paint? How about using compressed air instead of brushes? Or some object that I found lying around and I decide to use it for making the texture…But when I do it – I might like it or not. Depending on the outcome, I keep taking next steps and the work keeps evolving. So it is usually a process of discovery for me as well”.
One can see many genres of art – calligraphy, pop, figurative, and abstract, among others – in his work. Sometimes, in the heat of passion, as in ‘Ruminiscence’, he makes his creations dance like dervishes. You could call them performance art in still life.
Many – if not most – artists speak about their art. But how many do you find who talk about their studios? Art Noor is one who does that. His studio is as dear to him as a golf club to an avid golfer. “This studio”, Art Noor says about his work space, “began its life in a room in a flat with a window overlooking the Strait of Hormuz, in the Arabian Gulf, and has been on a precarious edge for many years. But as though it had a life and destiny of its own, it has held on to witness some landmark works and be an active participant and a host to some interesting friends who have been actively involved with its existence and growth”. He acknowledges that creativity springs from an artist’s inner voice or eye and is the most crucial factor in the creation process. “But a studio and its location”, he says, “play a vital role in manifesting those thoughts through materials and media in the real world”.
If one were to evaluate the technical details of his studio, it is just 2000 square feet in usable area. But it has been detailed and meticulously organised to accommodate art and multimedia projects. Its high ceiling, thanks to a warehouse type of construction, allows for very large artworks to be made. It can also accommodate a film crew to set up lights etc, for a film production assignment! Located adjacent to the Sharjah Golf Club (within Sharjah Airport International Free Zone), it has access to round the clock security, maintenance, food courts, residential areas for staff, bank, supermarket and a mosque - at walking distance. “A sense of peace prevails in the atmosphere except for an occasional aircraft that descends from above. One doesn’t get to hear any take offs since the runway is in the other direction... What do you call this…a piece of paradise?!”
"He has the ability to condense immense subjects like ‘Nothingness’, ‘Love’, ‘The Prism of the World’ (Ruminiscence) into a few metres, feet or inches. Of course, he is still a Seeker. Even after many rigorous years of work and meditation, he is still on his Journey. This humility is a shining aspect of his work, as it is of his person.”
Art Noor's SpiritFest99 at DFC
This year, Aslam Noor, widely known as Art Noor has set a gigantic 10m x 2m canvas at Dubai Festival City Mall, and undertaken to Live Paint not only one but 4 of those during the month of Ramadan.
Art Noor's SpiritFest99 at Dubai Festival City
This year, Aslam Noor, who widely known as Art Noor has set a gigantic 10m x 2m canvas at Dubai Festival City Mall, and undertaken to Live Paint not only one but 4 of those during the month of Ramadan.
The Ramadan inspired LED show that Noor designed and produced for Burj Khalifa depicting the divine names, which was chosen to be played on the façade of the world’s tallest tower many times in the evening, during the whole month of Ramadan.
Celebration of "The Eternal Life"
The rhythm of life is expressed through colour harmonies and contrasts. "It is a ceaseless flow. Old leaves die, new ones take their place. Emotions, passions, and vulnerabilities coexist on the canvas and across many canvases."
"Retrospective" at Studio 7 Gallery
At “ArtNoor Retrospective” visitors featured a wide genre of artworks that Noor has created, shedding light on the Artists Journey and for the first time a show has been so integrally planned to engage visitors.
For two consecutive years 2018 & 2019, Burj Khalifa showcased Art Noor's 99 Names of Allah series of paintings, via the multiple LED shows, that ran every day for the whole month of Ramadan. Noor reveals his insights in the interview with Art & Lusso.
The Inner Core
Being held at St Regis Dubai until July 2, the exhibits consist mainly of large scale works both in size and depth.Emphasising the need for learning to love one another.
Artistic Anedotes @ the Palm Dubai
Light & Love in an exhibiton of paintings by Art Noor at Sofitel. the Palm Dubai - In colleaboration of French owned Monda Gallery.
Noor Speaks to Panorama about his works and current exhibits.
Fragrance of Faith
Art Noor broke away from his highly successful corporate career in advertising in 2002 to dedicate his time to art, and more particularly, to all topics related to the Creator, and Love.
Inspired by Divinity
"One of the great lessons painting can teach you is not to be afraid of making mistakes. Every mistake is a doorway which leads to some
discovery. Every flawed attempt gets one closer to the desired outcome " Art Noor shares his process of creating.
Alive & Sublime 99
Alive and Sublime 99 shows by Art Noor – The latest Exhibition of paintings, Inspired by the glorious names of Allah at Dubai Mall and Marina Mall, have been on display through Ramadan,
Painting the Soul
Ruminiscence is a solo exhibition of thirty lyrical paintings by Art Noor, reflecting his admiration for the celebrated poet Rumi.
The paintings demonstrate the diversity of his artistic endeavours and the universality of his appeal.
The Anatomy of Fragrance
"He experiments with various styles and techniques and uses, for example, both wash and hard brushstrokes. But the spiritual dimensions of his work are selfevident, whatever the medium or technique."
Solidarity, to help rebuild Kerala
".. Art Noor, famous for his abstract paintings based on Arabic calligraphy of Allah's
beautiful names, has offered one of those paintings or the cause."
Sailing in the Same Boat at #RAKFAF
Aslam (Art) Noor’s ‘Sailing in the Same Boat’ that started out as a live painting project in Abu Dhabi on a four-part canvas measuring 4mx1.5m. Reinterpreting the natural shape of the UAE map as a large dhow, sailing with many nationalities on board.
Wings of Light
Perhaps this is what Noor’s mission is. To touch the hearts with interpretations of the divine attributes through his memorable strokes of emotion and faith and put them in touch with the sacred within.