Five minutes with: Art Noor

A handout image of Al Hayy by Art Noor. Image courtesy of the artist
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Art Noor is an Sharjah-based artist who currently has an exhibition at the World Trade Centre Souk in Abu Dhabi of his calligraphic works that depict the 99 Names of Allah. The show will be up during Ramadan. Here we catch up with him for a quick chat.

Q: How would you describe your style as an artist?

A: Although I tend to experiment with various styles and techniques depending on the subject, medium and the situation, a substantial body of my work is in the style of what I call “Lyrical Abstraction”. Spontaneity and movement is what drives my work and it usually evolves into something

meaningful with the inspiration of the moment. Many times in the past my work has been interpreted as emotionally charged melodies.

Q: Would you describe your art as Islamic art and if so, is it only appreciated by Muslims?

A: Michelangelo created Christian art during the High Renaissance and to this day, the world admires and appreciates his genius and timeless masterpieces. There is a direct relationship between art and spirituality and everyone has a certain part of their brain wired for natural spirituality irrespective of the faith they may follow or born into. When I paint the 99 Names of Allah , it is about the Creator, who created the universe with everything and everyone in it. It’s a very human emotion and an attempt to connect - which is universal, not limited to any particular

faith or sect. Most of my patrons are non Muslims and appreciate the work, because it evokes the feelings and communicates to them (so I am told).

Q: Do you only paint the 99 Names of Allah and other calligraphy or do you have other series?

A: My biggest body of work consists of the 99 names. But I have painted the abstracts inspired by the poetry of Rumi and Nature. I have also been working on a series of black and white paintings, which I will exhibit later this year. I also did a series of nature inspired digital artworks last year for the Movenpick hotel on the theme of ‘desert and water’, which they incorporated in their luxury apartment project in Jumeirah Lake Towers, Dubai.

Q: Can you tell me more about the pointillism technique? Why did you choose to use that technique?

A: George Seurat first developed this technique in the nineteenth century and was used by Vincent Van Gogh in his works. Instead of blending the colours, the image is created using the dots or small strokes. I used this technique in my work titled Shukran Khalifa, because it was built slowly over many weeks and it was done live so visitors could see the painting evolve gradually over the weeks.

Q: How did the World Trade Centre exhibition come about?

A: In August 2013 received an email from Patrick Bell, General Manager of World Trade Center Abu Dhabi, inviting me to

display my work there. I came to see the location and was impressed by architecture of Norman Foster and the historical relevance of the spot.

Setting up the exhibition was not an easy task, given the distance of three hours from my studio at Sharjah Airport International Free Zone to Abu Dhabi and I had to do the installation at night, when there were no shoppers. However, it was done over a couple of months and it was worth the effort. The display was widely appreciated because of the energy it brought to the souk.

Q: Will there be more exhibitions?

A: This exhibition will continue until Ramadan, Inshallah. I intend to the 99 names, live through the month of the Ramadan. After that I will have an exhibition in Dubai. I also have an invitation from Chicago, which I have not yet decided as yet.

Q: Where else can we see your work other than in exhibitions? IE - do you have a website?

A: My website is here and it has some of my work and the studio tour.

I am in the process of the updating it with more workand I have just started to incorporate the section to provide the signed prints on canvas,It will also be fully functional soon, inshallah.