Garden of Verses: Images of Compassion

Berkeley artist, Salma Arastu, has created this new series of paintings which combine lyrical human universality and Arabic calligraphy in an effort to convey messages of celebration of diversity, unity, love and compassionwork as such:

“Whereas in classical calligraphy the letters and the text have a strong and distinctive form and emphasize the distance between the majesty of the message and the one to whom it is addressed, Salma Arastu’s non – traditional calligraphy erases this distance between the word and the receiver and affects their union.  She uses the same stroke of the brush for Arabic letters as she does for suggesting human forms.  Both are fluid as if temporary expressions of the eternal universal vibration and energy.”Seven paintings are based on the students’ personal interpretation from Prof. Ghazala Anwar’s class Approaches to the Study of the Quran, offered at Starr King School for the Ministry, GTU in the Fall of 2010 for a project entitled Garden of Verses. The students came from a variety of religious backgrounds. Each student contributed a Quranic text and why it was meaningful for them. Most of the Quranic verses chosen relate to or are words of prophets mentioned in the Judeo-Christian Bible – Jonah, Jacob and Joseph, Moses and his mentor and Mary and Jesus, which would make it easy for a Western viewer to relate to the texts and ponder on their  meanings.To view more of Salma arastu’s paintings visit www.salmaarastu.comFor a full schedule of events including gallery talks visit

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *