Pheroza Godrej in conversation with one of the artists

Mumbai Mirror

From calligraphy in Arabic language to an art installation modelled on a window of a Cairo-based masjid and beautifully depicting Islamic architecture to something as unique as resin art — 50 odd Indian and international Dawoodi Bohra artists have come together at Old Favre Leuba in Fort to offer a glimpse into their inner world.

The exhibition, based on the theme ‘Roots & Wings’ was inaugurated by art historian Pheroza Godrej. Organised by The Radiant Arts or Anwaar Al-Funun, it will be open to the public from today and will continue till March 12.

The artists welcomed Godrej with a traditional ritual of the Dawoodi Bohras, wherein her hands were washed first and then she was offered salt followed by sweet rice.

The customs enamoured Godrej as much as the artwork on display. She was seen keenly observing a man inscribing a verse in Arabic. ‘I am watching him, and he isn’t disturbed. His hand was steady throughout and there is a kind of oneness that he is showing with his art. There are a lot of professionals and amateur artists here, but I see no difference,’ Godrej said.

One of the artists, Mazher Nizar, has come from Yemen. Boasting a 33-year career, he is famous back home for his watercolour paintings on Queen of Sheba depicted in the Bible and the Quran. In Mumbai, he showcased paintings on Sanaa and Jabal Haraz, the two cities in Yemen.

‘Our buildings are made from bricks and have stained glass on windows. The whole building is erected on one stone foundation without pillars,’ said Nizar.

Amid the pros, a young artist from Baroda, 20 year old Abdeali Amreliwali, held his ground with a unique resin art showing shoals of fish. To an onlooker, the peculiar art made the fish appear real.

Mumbai based Zainab grabbed eyeballs with an interesting art installation, depicting a window of a mosque showing geometrical design typical of Islamic architecture. ‘This sacred geometry reflects our Fatimid heritage. My art has been like a spiritual journey. The golden mirror signifies the clarity of ‘Who I am’ (Roots) and ‘Where I want to go’ (Wings).’

Tarifa Barma, one of the organisers and curators, said, ‘Many participants here are amateur artists. There are some who sell art for their livelihood. We would like to show different aspects of our community and art is one of them.’