Statement

My works are lyrical, spiritual, figurative, and calligraphic. My paintings reveal stories of unity in diversity, hope and connection, celebration of earth, and women. Whether in paintings or sculptures, the faceless figures represent the universal oneness of all humanity.

My journey in art begins with a line and that lyrical line takes me to unknown fields and on a mysterious path and reveals new vistas to me. Work keeps flowing out and for me it is like a Sufi trance when a whirling dervish dancing to the rhythm of soul’s music forgets himself and finds oneness with his God. In that sense I can define myself as modern dervish. To achieve ecstasy through the act of painting and then helping people to achieve that level is my sole aim.

The lines I create represent the spiritual energy that emanates from a soul. Since my exposure to Arabic calligraphy during my stay in the Middle East, my line has become more lyrical, melodious, and powerful.

My method is a physical and meditative process that fills each canvas with moving lines and multi-layered textures. For me creating art means getting physically involved with the piece: scratching, sanding, layering materials like paper, rope, modeling paste, paper-mache or copper plate, and embroidering with pen and ink. I apply thin layers of acrylic color and the different layers bring out subliminal images.

Arabic Calligraphy, miniatures, and the folk art continue to influence my work today. I have tried to bring together Eastern spirituality and Western techniques of painting learned over the years. Through the contrasting elements in my work, I yearn and search for unity, and when that unity or balance is achieved, it brings about a tranquility and joy.

I feel blessed because I was born with the urge to create and a love for God. These two gifts have been sources of eternal joy and a constant flow of positive inspiration in my life. I work every day and start with a prayer that May I become a tool for the Universe to spread the joy and blessings that I have received through my work.

Salma Arastu