Art Scene
Illumination: Salma Arastu

By Fatima S. Khan

Bazar in Iran
We played while Ama cooked the dinner

Salma Arastu explores in her artwork, the universe, the heavens above, the depth of the ocean below, the imagery of colorful vibrant festivities of the spring celebrations and the horrors of 9/11; she connects with the most important factor of human life “Emotion”.
She expresses “emotion” in hugging, compassion, solace, celebration, birth and death and conveys multitudes of sub-textual messages while capturing happiness or sadness and a sense of frailty in every expression of her sumptuous and colorful artwork.
According to Freud, human race has one common quest: “Happiness”.
She moved to a level of expression in her paintings after 9/11. Like all of us, who grieved and faced reality of such danger in our everyday life, she profoundly expressed the grief and compassion in many of her artworks - making an effort to reach out for comfort and peace, that is the major factor of eliminating “doubt” from our everyday life. However, spirituality resonates and is buried deep in her psyche; she embraces the idea of the “omnipotent” as an all-encompassing and positive force that is always there and helps us all to draw positive energies from within us.

The festival of lights
Celebration of life


Salma has traveled and lived in several cities around the world. At present she lives in Oakland California; her highly sensitive nature imbues cultures and scenes of those places, the manifestation is than an expression of fascinating and lyrical artwork. She vividly portrays the bustling and colorful scenes of the bazaar in Tehran, a mixed media on canvas. She borrows the miniature techniques from the Mughal era and artfully encompasses Spanish influenced architecture in California in a square format. The geometrics are a highly popular form of Islamic art, whereas a cube relates to the “Kaaba,” a sacred place for Muslims all over the world.
Brilliantly she archives the childhood memories of story telling, music lessons, family meals, leisure time all within a square; unconsciously she has saved these happy memories. The “Cube” relates to the spiritual, there are several nuances relating to the “Cube”.
She moved to Northern California in 2006, when she adapted the Miniature techniques, Spanish-influenced architecture, the childhood memories and the sacrilegious boundaries of a home all within the sacred “Cube” - it is most importantly a reflection of the past and present coming into full circle and, most importantly, a prayer for protection.


The fall festival


Salma has courageously explored several forms of art, including, sculpture, calligraphy and digital art.
While living in Bethlehem Pennsylvania, she often took a train to New York to explore museums and art galleries; the towering structures and throngs of people everywhere fascinated her, and she has inanimately overlapped digital images of photography with pen and ink outlines of people. Images of several people in groups, with just an outline and no specific features once again have a deep message of “Oneness”.
Her sculptures are dancing angels, a perfect symbol of optimism; they are carefree, jovial and floating. She draws an outline on paper and her metal crafters precisely carve the metals. The process is elaborating, detailed, and takes several hours.
At times, her style resembles that of Picasso’s more strongly in “Les Demoiselles d'Avignon”. While Picasso struggled to unravel the complexities of feminine nature, Salma quite comfortably portrays the feminine “Emotional” in strong colors with flowing garbs a sense of freedom, the faces with no features, expertly transcending to the level of “Unity.” According to her “we are all one,” a deeply philosophical and a Sufi thought that Picasso failed to understand.
Salma Arastu’s paintings have been exhibited at several galleries throughout the world. At present, she is exhibiting at Stanford Art Spaces, Stanford University, Palo Alto,
April 27 thru July 25. For further information contact Mary Grossman 650-725-3622.

 

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Editor: Akhtar M. Faruqui
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