Seeking Al-Tawhid (in progress)
The idea for "Seeking Al-Tawhid" came to me while thinking about the longstanding nonacceptance of depictions of humans and animals in Islamic art, and the resulting development of the Arabesque in which abstract geometry and stylized organic motifs are used to symbolize, within our manifest realm, that which is beyond manifestation.
I pondered about a possible connection between the invention of this visual language, which leads the eye back and forth between the second and third dimension, and the practice of photography, in which the representation of three-dimensional subject matter is rendered on a flat surface.
I discovered that the infinitely extensible designs in Islamic art, that are themselves made up of individual, self-replicating units have been interpreted as visual demonstrations of the singleness of God and his presence everywhere. They represent 'unity in multiplicity' and 'multiplicity in unity'.
Technically the term for this 'Oneness' is Tawhid - a belief in God's uncompromised unity and transcendence. The best-known expression of this Divine Unity is 'La-ilaha-ill-Allah', (Quran 112:1): 'There is no god but God'.
With these thoughts, I embarked on a journey that began in Andalusia, where in the words of British orientalist and archaeologist Stanley Lane-Poole, "Whatever makes a kingdom great, whatever tends to refinement and civilization was found in Moorish Spain."