Enter the Persian Sufi

By Anwar Moora

The calligraphy, in fact, has a beauty all its own and could easily form the subject of another exhibition. At times the words appear in the form of a halo around a head, giving the holy one a touch of sanctified righteousness. But usually it appears as a cluster of dense writing or in strips as in a Japanese print.

If this reviewer had to point to the four most satisfying and thought-provoking of these remarkable paintings, he would unhesitatingly hit on ‘Persian battle’, ‘Narges’, ‘Chashm entezar’ and ‘Sufis’. ‘Persian battle’ is an outstanding and noteworthy picture. The way the horsemen face each other, totally oblivious to the impending peril, fired by the thought of imminent victory, is quite riveting; and the use of colour which starts off as a splash of beige, graduates to a brown and ends in a muted turquoise is absolutely marvelous. ‘Sufis’ is another amazing picture and Keiany has adequately captured the appeal and the brooding meditative ness of the believer.

There were a couple of sentences in the write-up which was distributed at the exhibition with which this reviewer had a bit of a problem. It looked rather as if it had been translated from another language and contained the kind of jargon which sounds awfully nice and impressive, but doesn’t make very much sense.

What is one supposed to make of this sentence? ‘A necessary part of his work is to represent the Creator as the most delicate form of consciousness in the universe.’ It is not very clear how Keiany manages to accomplish this. There is nothing delicate about those grim, dour hirsute images in his paintings; or the horses who once they enter the mêlée will, as Lord Macaulay pointed out in The Lays of Ancient Rome , be wounded, kicking and snorting purple foam.

Then there is this sentence which is equally baffling. ‘Spiritual can be defined as that which expresses the numinous and evokes attraction and awe. Spirituality is a feeling we gain when we face an aspect of the divine and overwhelming consciousness, which may not be overtly religious.’ So far, as this reviewer is concerned, the actions of the Sufi are totally religious. In fact, the only non-religious example that he knows of where the act of detaching oneself from a situation in order to take a point of view concerning it, can be found in the philosophy of Jean-Paul Sartre. But then Sartre was writing about freedom which is, of course, quite a different

Courtesy: Dawn, Pakistan – Sunday April 25, 2010

About Ahmad Amirali

I am an educator by profession, pursuing my further career in teaching and learning. I love to read and, even more, love to share what I read.
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