The annual Radiant Arts exhibition held in Mumbai this year, featured a section by Funun al-Quran, the Quranic and Visual Arts department of Aljamea-tus-Saifiyah.
Anwaar al-Funun, better known as Radiant Arts, is run by members of the Dawoodi Bohra Community to identify and bring together artists from diverse backgrounds, dedicated to different art forms and styles, to a global platform and a shared theme. This year the exhibition, inspired by the sermons of ʿAshara Mubāraka, sought to visually depict integral concepts from the sermons using various means of expression. Along with this theme, the exhibition catered to works on flora and fauna.
Flora and fauna feature extensively in Fatimi art and architecture. From the stonework of al-Jāmiʿ al-Anwar’s minarets and the facade of al-Jāmiʿ al-Aqmar to the elaborate stucco work in the interiors of al-Jāmiʿ al-Azhar. The presence of arabesque and vegetal motifs represents an emphasis on growth, grace and loftiness. Alongside flora, historical objects from the Fatimi period speak of the presence of a wide array of imagery of fauna depicted in everyday objects. Portrayals of animals were also found in the Fatimi palaces of Cairo and North Africa.
Members from Aljamea’s Funun al-Quran department participated in the exhibition to illustrate the positive impact Islamic teachings, particularly messages from the Holy Quran, can have on the visual arts. The team consisting of several individuals with varied talents ranging from calligraphy to miniature painting are responsible for various artistic undertakings throughout the year, prime among them the elaborate background and decorations of the ʿAshara Mubāraka sermons venue.
As part of the exhibition, a dedicated calligraphy stall was set up by department calligraphers where visitors could commission an on-the-spot inscription of their choosing. Seeing a blank canvas being embellished by elegant Arabic and English script in real time proved to to be an intriguing experience for onlookers and observers of all ages.