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Painting 'With Marks': Amina Ahmed

By Komal Gupta | PUBLISHED: 28, Jan 2011, 17:34 pm IST | UPDATED: 30, Jan 2011, 13:44 pm IST

Painting 'With Marks': Amina Ahmed

The idea of painting for the multi-cultural artist Amina Ahmed is about ‘making marks.’ All the lines, shapes, patterns and rhythms led the viewer to enter a universe that is attuned to the symbolic and ritualistic meaning of ‘making marks’.

She was born in Africa and is a ‘Kutchi Turk Indian’. Her childhood was spent in England, had gone to Iran and is presently living in America. Despite witnessing different cultural and social backgrounds, Amina still believes in the divine connectivity of all creatures.

‘The language of birds’, her present creation in the ‘India Art Summit’ is very much inspired from ‘divine connectivity of the universe’. She said, ‘The Language of the Birds explores the theme of the inward journey’.

Her Paintings that were presented for the exhibition were actually not the painting. At one place she just created a piece of art using the shape of feather over and again in a specific pattern thereby making a perfect shape.

Referencing ‘Mantiq at-Tayr’, a story by the twelfth-century Persian poet Farid ud-Din Attar of Naishapur, she said, “In what has been a core project for many years, I explore the theme of a journey toward the Divine with the use of a single shape as an archetype, repeated to evoke the sense of remembrance or invocation and used in multiple layers to symbolize the veil. The shapes are often used until exhausted only to come to the realization that the journey has only just begun.”

The other painting, too, had feathers but this time with colors. Her exhibition was quite different as she also used audio and video installations which were actually complementing the artworks. The audio had the sound of birds and completely signifying the idea of the artist behind the work.

“I use sound in the same way—calling the way one calls their beloved  mother or father over and over again until they see the face”, she further added.

About choosing only birds she said, “The gathering begins at the level of the spiritual faculties of intuition. These are symbolized by the birds whose languages are the languages of self and contain knowledge of the higher state of being. This language of the birds in the human world is the rhythmic language and the science of the rhythm is the means by which one reaches the higher states of being.”

A graduate from Winchester School of Art and the Chelsea School of Art, she received her MFA from the Royal College of Art (1991), where she specialized in Visual Islamic and Traditional Arts under the guidance of Prof. Keith Critchlow & Paul Marchant. During her two years at the RCA Amina received a bursary & upon graduating was awarded the Barakat trust prize.

She has trained lots of young talents and helped them to nourish their skills as an artist. Her works are shown in many private collections in London & the USA.

Her work has been exhibited widely, including the Africa Centre UK, Queens Museum NY, Lincoln Center NY, The National Building Museum DC, The Jersey City Museum NJ, The RCA UK and most recently at the 2010 Art Fair Slick Paris.

Ahmed is currently a member of the Elizabeth Foundation for the Arts NY. She is happily married, has three children, and lives in New York right now.

Read more: Amina Ahmed, a born artist