This page is dedicated to my current journey in academic research. In short, my research is about investigating the possibility of a new image of Islamic art and design that challenges the cliché impression of it, without divorcing it from the profound principles of faith.
Long time ago, Muslims’ life emerged from the strong connection between spirituality and faith. Art used to express this connection, layering profound dimensions within decorative and spatial forms... With time, this connection started to break... and what we see today is soul-less imitations of the past... One can trace the same geometry used in sculptures, interior floors, all the way to architecture... Young Muslim designers include the same patterns on their work in an attempt to “islamise” it! This phenomenon has been described as “attraction-repulsion’ symptom; so the current situation is divided between two conflicting sides: traditionalists who are too attached to history to see an evolving image of it and modernists who encourage extremely new concepts for creative expression.
So I am questioning through my research if there is any place in between? Can Muslim artists/ designers create innovative works that revive this rapport with spirituality and other hidden dimensions? Can a Set of Religious Principles Become the Generative Source for Innovative and Contemporary Art and Design Concepts?
Although my PhD journey is still at the beginning, everyday I become more convinced that in many levels, my research represents who I am today, and what I stand for. I am a Muslim designer, curator and teacher. I practice my religion, however I am immersed in a globalized world ... I am still looking in the creative field for basis that outlines my identity, and an expression that represents who I am today.
So through a practice-based approach, I will summarize a set of principles and examine its validity to be a basis for innovative and creative expression of the religion. I intend to record my creative process through a visual diary that goes hand in hand with the written text of my research. For research methodology, I am adapting a collaborative approach to investigate my research topic, by curating multi-disciplinary groups that will put theory into practice. This will allow “my voice” in research to speak of a “collective mindset” rather than an individual one.
I am hoping that the end of my research could spark opportunities in design education. Being a teacher myself I believe that education has the power to create a change in perceptions and mindsets and perhaps this set of principles could be adapted in curriculums of Islamic art and design... So from where I stand now it seems it’s too massive to include all in one PhD, but PhD is just a beginning of a life-long experiment.
For more insights about my PhD journey, keep an eye on research blog