Amy Jackson-Smith

The presence of the written word of God in the art on display really stands out to me. The pieces on display range from more decorative (stones) to more useful (jars, plates, and prayer books). The presence of Quranic passages on work that would otherwise be simply decorative makes the art sacred, and the artistry of the calligraphy, of the word, is the embodiment of this sacred-ness. I identify here a kind of circular relationship between art and the word of God – they exist in close proximity, and are often inseparable. There is inherent beauty in the word of God, which requires a beautiful embodiment in art. The fact that useful things are just as intricately detailed and beautiful reflects that everything is created, everything is sacred and alive – even a jar. Even to someone who does not read Arabic or is unfamiliar with Islam, the beauty of the word of God is easy to understand from these pieces. But with greater understanding of this language comes greater knowledge of the art itself, like how one can perform moral acts but knowledge of their causes and intention makes the acts better. Additionally, the intricacy of the calligraphy communicates the complexity and layers of the word of God, that there are many embodiments and understandings of each word, and further, that the word of God is without limit. Just as recitations of the Quran are not just words, but music, the written word of God must not be just words, but art.