Sharon Siskin & Salma Arastu

Felt-tip markers, acrylic paint, burnt text, on vellum & poplar frame

October–November 2017

DIALOG is a visual representation of a series of conversations we had this fall, in getting to know each other and the underlying values that inform our work as artists and as citizens. Through our conversations we came to learn that we shared a reverence for our beautiful planet, a penchant for environmental stewardship, and an understanding that there is a fragile web that connects all life as one.

We have come to these shared values and beliefs through different paths—Muslim and Jewish, religious and secular, prayer and research, intuitive and conceptual. Sharon’s draws inspiration from her research into the phytoplankton living in our oceans that provide two thirds of the oxygen we breathe, or the relationship between mycorrhizal fungi and the plants they connect. The idea that a dying tree divests itself of its resources to the benefit of the community, or a that a young seedling in a heavily shaded forest might be supported with extra resources by its stronger neighbors, are amazing scientific facts, but also poetic. Even more amazing is that Salma’s devotion, commitment to daily prayer, focus on oneness, and intuitive artwork in her studio, has brought her to the very same knowledge and recognition of its inherent poetry.

In Search of Eternal Love

Visual artist Salma Arastu and performance artist Naina Shastri

Collaborate on a performance that combines classical Indian dance, poetry and video projection to connect thirteenth-century Persian mystic Mevlana Rumi and sixteenth-century Indian saint Meera Bai, who both spoke of finding salvation in love.