The Jakarta Post
Nahdlatul Ulama cleric Mustofa “Gus Mus” Bisri, along with several prominent artists, unveiled their paintings of Islamic calligraphy at an art exhibition in Surakarta, Central Java.
The exhibition, named Welas Asih (Compassion), is being held at the Soedjatmoko Culture Hall and showcases 35 pieces of Islamic calligraphy from 30 renowned artists, including Gus Mus, Sidik Martowidjojo and Sujiwo Tejo.
Welas Asih opened on Wednesday evening with lavish a qasidah (Islamic pop group) performance and shalawat (religious chant praising prophet Muhammad).
The exhibition emphasizes not only artistic iterations of Quranic verses but also surrealist interpretations of the calligraphic letters and symbols themselves.
Soedjatmoko Culture Hall representative Zamroni said the exhibition served as an alternative avenue for those seeking more off-beat interpretations of Islamic calligraphy.
“The art of calligraphy represents a combination of art and religion. Every piece of art represents the artists’ personal reckonings with faith,” he told The Jakarta Post.
Among the highlights from the exhibition is Sujiwo Tejo’s piece, titled Wajah-Wajah Leluhur (Faces of Ancestors), which aims to convey the harmonious relationship between religion, art and culture.
National Calligraphy Lovers Community head Anis said the art of calligraphy could prove effective in restoring a sense of humility and compassion among the public.
“The delicate beauty of Islamic calligraphy will instill compassion in the heart of the beholder, therefore counteracting hatred and arrogance,” he told the Post.
The exhibition will run until Monday. (rfa/mut)
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