Alliance Française Abu Dhabi hosts artist MISK in Sacred Lines show - GulfToday

Alliance Française Abu Dhabi hosts artist MISK in Sacred Lines show

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Artworks at the Alliance Francaise Abu Dhabi exhibition.

Muhammad Yusuf, Features Writer

Alliance Française Abu Dhabi has begun the 2022 art season with the opening of a new exhibition titled Sacred Lines presented by the artist MISK (Jan. 21 — Mar. 10).

The event was inaugurated at the premises of Alliance Française Abu Dhabi, with nearly 50 guests attending, adhering to Covid protocol.

In Sacred Lines, MISK displays over-sized sculptures made from white marble — what he is well known for.

He is primarily a geometric minimalist sculptor. His exhibition includes sculptures, wall art, paintings, and installations. In contrast to his sculpture pieces, he has been combining hundred years old Islamic art motifs and contemporary designs in his work.


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They have greatly been influenced by 12-15th century Central Asian and Middle Eastern design of grids and illuminations.

MISK has made the effort to learn the fine details of miniature art, illuminations and geometric patterns, and this is evident in his work. He discovered local stones in the Ras Al Khaimah Mountains, which he has been using to create sculptures and engravings.

The eastern part of the Emirate of Ras Al Khaimah has a spectacular mountain range called the Ru’us Al Jibal, which is part of the Al Hajar Mountains, starting in the Musandam Peninsula and running as far south as Sur in Oman.

france art 2  A composition on view at the show.

Spanning 700 kilometres across the two countries, the mountain range stands guard over the borders of Oman and the UAE, forming an integral part of landscape of both.

Formed more than 70 million years ago, the range incorporates Jebel Jais, which at 1,934 metres is not only the highest peak in Ras Al Khaimah, but in the entire UAE.

The mountainscape has not only inspired artists, but also has provided them mediums to work with, such as stones or rocks. The name Al Hajar itself is basically a combination of two Arabic words, Al meaning ‘the’ while Hajar means ‘rock’ or ‘stone,’ which when combined, translates as ‘the rock’ or ‘the stone.’

MISK works from his studios in Virginia, USA and in Ras Al Khaimah. With a degree in Art Studio, he worked as a graphic designer and communication specialist for over two decades in the Washington DC area. Being drawn to Middle Eastern and Islamic art, he moved to the UAE in 2013 to pursue his passion of incorporating Middle Eastern and Islamic motifs to his contemporary art.

His work has been on exhibition in the US, Canada, Europe, Central Asia and Middle East.

Islamic geometric patterns are one of the major forms of Islamic ornament, which tends to avoid using figurative images, as it is forbidden to create a representation of an important Islamic figure, according to many holy scriptures.

The geometric designs in Islamic art are often built on combinations of repeated squares and circles, which may be overlapped and interlaced, as can arabesques (with which they are often combined), to form intricate and complex patterns.

Geometric patterns occur in a variety of forms in Islamic art and architecture including kilim carpets, Persian girih (knot) and Moroccan zellij (handcrafted) tilework, muqarnas (decorative vaulting), jali (pierced stone screens), ceramics, leather, stained glass, woodwork and metalwork.

Interest in Islamic geometric patterns is increasing in the West, both among craftsmen and artists, including MC Escher in the twentieth century, and among mathematicians and physicists, including Peter J Lu and Paul Steinhardt.

Escher was a Dutch graphic artist who made mathematically inspired woodcuts and lithographs. He travelled in Italy and Spain, sketching buildings, townscapes, architecture and the tilings of the Alhambra and the Mezquita of Cordoba, and was keenly interested in their mathematical structure. Islamic miniatures are small paintings on paper, usually book or manuscript illustrations but also sometimes separate artworks. The earliest examples date from around 1000 CE, with a flourishing of the artform from around 1200 CE. The field is divided by scholars into four types; Arabic, Mughal (Indian), Ottoman (Turkish), and Persian.

The term Islamic illumination means to light up or decorate Islamic manuscripts. Islamic illumination is called Tezhip/Tathhibis in Turkish, which means to gild, and is derived from the Arabic word dhahab, which means gold.

So Islamic illumination is a decorative art that uses paints or gold leafs to enhance the beauty of Islamic manuscripts. Turkey and Iran have played a major role in the promotion and progression of this branch of Islamic art.

Alliance Française Abu Dhabi is an association opened to culture and civilisations, with a presence in five continents. It is the largest linguistic and cultural multinational in the world, the mission of which is to open up the borders of French language and culture, with respect for the diversity of local cultures.

The institution began operations in 1974. It is presided over by Sultan Al Hajji, and the board of directors is made up of individuals working on a voluntary basis. The director of the Alliance Française is responsible for applying the major strategic lines of action defined by the board.

The Alliance Française of Abu Dhabi and its wing in Al Ain operate as an association, with the French Embassy maintaining responsibility for overall activities.

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