A swirl of colours spell Al-Fattah.
It is inevitable that the Month of Ramadan sees Dubai based artist Art Noor display his works. This time, he is presenting his pieces titled Salam99, at Silicon Central Mall, Dubai Silicon Oasis. When asked about his Ramadan-centric agenda for art exhibitions and events, he replied: “In 2002, I arrived in the UAE during the month of Ramadan. “Two years later in 2004, my first solo exhibition was held in the Emirates during Ramadan. In 2012, my book of paintings on the 99 Names of Allah was first released during the month of Ramadan. Not only it’s a holy month, I find it very inspiring artistically.”
He recalls that his first Ramadan in the UAE was in November, while this year began in the third week of March. “So every year has been a bit different.” This is because the Islamic Hijri calendar is based on lunar cycles, and it takes 33 years to complete a full cycle - which means that in seven years’ time, there will be two Ramadans, in 2030. “That makes 2030 very special and something to look forward to, in my lifetime,” Art Noor enthuses. “This twice-yearly observance will happen again in 2063; but I don’t expect to be alive till then.”
He is an abstract expressionist painter, focusing on spiritual subjects such as the names of Allah, and Verses of Love by Rumi. He has practiced his art while being based in the UAE since 2002, after arriving in Dubai during a scuba diving excursion to Oman. He had an established career in advertising and tech then, but decided to follow his heart into an uncertain future as full-time artist. It was a difficult decision and a challenging life choice, but over the years, many important commissioned works for some very highly placed important clients, helped him stick to his course.
He has done projects for homes, offices, and public spaces, and his work graces many prime spaces in the UAE and Europe. His Ramadan Inspired LED shows were on view at Burj Khalifa, in 2018 and 2019. They attracted much attention, both online and offline. The Facebook post of the show records more than two million views and carries tens of thousands of comments. Art Noor attributes his success to the Almighty, who is his source of inspiration.
“Spirit can’t be seen with the eyes but can be felt by the heart,” he says, while walking around a cluster of super-sized paintings displayed at vantage points at Silicon Central Mall. Abstract expressionism is his genre of choice because he felt it allowed him express unseen but felt emotions and deliberations of the divine.
Art Noor is based in the UAE.
The UAE’s art scene was emerging in the early part of the century, and there were not many art galleries that had spaces to showcase large art works. Such circumstances led to Art Noor exhibiting in public spaces such as the World Trade Centre, Dubai Mall, and high-profile hotels. He has held more than a dozen solo exhibitions and has live-painted monumental canvases, enduring the gruelling schedule of painting while fasting for many hours a day, during the month of Ramadan. The results of the “spiritualised” collections have been on display at Nakheel Mall, Dubai Festival City Mall, and now at Silicon Central Mall.
In 2012, a book on his paintings was published and given away as gifts for many lucky recipients. Tens of thousands of copies of the volume have been reprinted many times and have found their way to many homes as Ramadan gifts. This time too, a few hundred copies will be given away during the Salam99 event.
Later, he will be working on a new edition, which will be released sometime in 2023. “I am looking forward to releasing this new book both as an online and printed edition, locally and internationally. It will take my exhibition and art to other countries as well,” says Art Noor. He believes the source of true art and spirituality is one, and it comes from the intangible world that can only be felt and not seen with physical eyes. “I don’t focus on depicting the unseen because it isn’t possible,” he says. “I just follow my heart and the thoughts that arise in the contemplative silence within me.
“And the strokes that follow as a result, become the art. If that connects one to the spirituality in him, then it’s spiritual art.” Wassily Kandinsky was one of the leading artists in the abstract expressionism genre, and his book, Concerning the Spiritual in Art, is considered a guiding light for many artists who practice this school. When asked about Kandinsky’s book, Art Noor said: “Wassily was not the only one to connect spirituality and art. Artists have worked with that consciousness through the ages and will probably do even more in the future, because technology and artificial intelligence lack that aspect, even if they far exceed humans in areas of knowledge and accuracy.” An ardent follower and fan of Rumi, whom the artist says has been a guiding light through many trying times, he quotes Rumi’s verses as a reminder of the importance of loving what you do, irrespective of material gains. Art Noor can contacted on Insta: @art_noor or Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
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