Personal, Photography, Travel
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Let there be Light

Even
After
All this time
The Sun never says to the Earth,

“You owe me.”

Look
What happens
With a love like that,
It lights the whole sky.

From The Gift: Poems by Hafiz. An English rendering by Daniel Ladinsky of poet Hafiz’s work.

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In July this year I was invited to take part in ‘Let There Be Light,’ curated and produced by talented artist Chandrika Maelge. The mixed faith collective included photographer Kesara Ratnavibhushana, film maker Hilusha Hewagama and writer Nuzaifa Hussain. Each of us made a personal interpretation of the words ‘Let there be Light,’ which are the first words in the bible.

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Title piece ‘Light upon Light’ Jupiter and Venus in Conjunction. Mumbai, 2008. My own collection titled Light upon Light, is inspired by a verse from An Nur (The Light) from the Quran. (24:35). 

 

I took a literal approach in my interpretation and chose to celebrate the original sources of light around us, namely the sun, moon and stars. Like expressed in the poem by Hafiz above, I am in forever awe of the hold that these celestial orbs have over our survival here on Earth, and revelation teaches us how light is a sign of God’s existence. In the Quran, ‘The Light’ (An-Noor) is one of the 99 attributes of God.

“Allah is the Light of the heavens and the earth.
The example of His light is like a niche within which is a lamp,
The lamp is within glass, the glass as if it were a pearly [white] star,
Lit from [the oil of] a blessed olive tree,
Neither of the east nor of the west,
Whose oil would almost glow even if untouched by fire.
Light upon light.
Allah guides to His light whom He wills.
And Allah presents examples for the people,
and Allah is Knowing of all things.”

 

— Translation by Sahih International

There’s an interesting article a friend shared with me on the interpretation of the above verse on The Holy Quran, Interstellar and the Theory of Relativity by Fatima Altaf:

‘The point to be noted here is that in almost all Holy scriptures, God has likened His Presence to Light (Noor), a concept which was probably never better apprehended than it can be now, in light of our recent and latest understanding of the nature of light. According to Iqbal, Light is the closest thing to the Absolute, hence the example of Light in Holy Scriptures, including the above-mentioned well-known “Light Verse” of Surah Noor.’

Muslim Philosopher Allama Muhammad Iqbal, in his philosophical analysis of Einstein’s theory, spoke of it in the following words in his famous work, The Reconstruction of Religious Thought in Islam:

“Personally, I think the description of God as light, in the revealed literature of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam, must now be interpreted differently. The teaching of modern physics is that the velocity of light cannot be exceeded and is the same for all observers whatever their own system of movement. Thus, in the world of change, light is the nearest approach to the Absolute. The metaphor of light as applied to God, therefore, must, in view of modern knowledge, be taken to suggest the Absoluteness of God and not His Omnipresence which easily lends itself to a pantheistic interpretation.” ‘

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‘Dawn I,’ (Pasikudah, 2017) 16×24 inches
printed on Hahnemuhle fine art paper

 

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‘Dawn II,’ (Polannaruwa, 2014) 16×24 inches
printed on Hahnemuhle fine art paper

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‘Hijra’ (Mecca, KSA, 2015)

 

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‘Portals’ (Sigiriya, Sri Lanka, 2017)

 

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‘Constellations’ (Hampi, India, 2014)

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‘New Moon’ (Colombo, 2018) 16×24 inches
printed on Hahnemuhle fine art paper

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‘Full Moon’ (Galle Fort, 2018) 16×24 inches
printed on Hahnemuhle fine art paper

 

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‘Reflection’ (Belanwila, 2018)

 

Rainbow

‘Light,’ (Colombo, 2018) 20″x20″ canvas.

Nuzaifa had described each of one our collections in beautiful words. This is what she wrote for mine.

‘Light upon Light’

 

In her collection, Aamina hopes to capture the tangible manifestations of the spiritual realities in divine revelation, namely the original sources of light—the sun, the moon and the stars.

“Sunsets like bonfires—dazzling, magnificent and all-consuming; The light that brings the dawn, quietly hopeful;
A dusky purple twilight, littered with a million silver stars;
A waxing, waning, full moon—ever-present;
Hear the song of creation in the rhythmic harmony of God’s light; A mirror of the unseen.”

She hopes that her art is a reminder of nature’s everyday grandeur and the fundamental place they occupy as the source of all our artistic expression. These orbs provide us with a guide to understanding time, navigating space on Earth, bringing us closer to realizing our Source. Her collection is also a reminder of a Universe that is beyond Earth, yet to be explored.

 


 

As this collection was a celebration of the beauty of the natural world to the naked eye, the pictures went through minimal post processing and original colour has been preserved. The images are available as limited edition prints on both canvas and hahnemuhle fine art paper. Please mail me aaminanizar@gmail.com if you would like to get a print.

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