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  • Writer's picturePaul G. Chandler

Baba’s Art School – 101: #2

“You can’t begin too soon to encourage an appreciation of art! And each artwork has a story.”

The second artwork presentation made by this Baba (Arabic for “Grandpa”) to the grandkids from the art collection is this marvelous mixed-media work by the Syrian-Turkish artist, ASMAA TAKIEDDINE, who lives in Egypt.

In this beautiful artwork, Asmaa draws our attention to the beautiful tradition of the Mevlevi Sufi Order that originated in Konya, Turkey, which was founded about 750 years ago based on the teachings of Jalaluddin Rumi, the 13th century Persian poet and Sufi mystic, who is now well-known in the West. The Mevlevi Order is known for their "whirling dervishes," due to their famous practice of whirling while performing “dhikr” (“remembrance of God” – or of “Allah" in Arabic). Dervish is a common term for an initiate on the Sufi path. Sufism is a mystical expression of Islamic faith. The focus of Sufis is ultimately “oneness with God.” And there are many different Sufi orders throughout the world (only the Mevlevi Order is based on Rumi’s teachings).

Rumi’s profoundly beautiful wisdom poetry has captured the imaginations of many in the West for years. Here are a few inspiring lines by Rumi:

“Be a lamp, or a lifeboat, or a ladder. Help someone’s soul heal. Walk out of your house like a shepherd.”

“There is a force within that gives you life - seek that. In your body there lies a priceless jewel - seek that. Oh, wandering Mystic, if you search of the greatest treasure, don't look outside. Look within, and seek That.”

“There are hundreds of ways to kneel and kiss the ground.”

Asmaa Takieddine graduated from the Faculty of Fine Arts at Helwan University in Cairo, Egypt and ESMOD Fashion School in Syria. Her work is heavily influenced by the Ottoman, Syrian and Egyptian cultures. Her work includes the use of traditional fabrics, such as Syrian silk brocade, as well as other media, like goldleaf, and is often infused with Islamic motifs.

A verse from Rumi that Asmaa loves is:

“We may know, who we are or we may not

We may be Muslims, Jews, or Christians

But until our hearts become the molder for every heart

We will see only our differences”


Asmaa Takieddine, “Dancing in Love for God”

Mixed media, including goldleaf, on wood, 46” x 35”

PS. The grandkids particularly found the goldleaf on it interesting, as well as seeing the word “Allah” (God in Arabic) written throughout the goldleaf!


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