Dear Sharmiza and Bibi, thank you for inviting me to write. Sorry or the apparent lack of urgency.
For the past two years, except occasionally for my blog entries, I have been enjoying the pleasure of not taking any formal writing invitation for solo or group exhibition. I had to focus on my research and creative works.
Yet, for both of you, I made a rare personal exception. Personal because both of you are close to my heart. Any person that is close to my heart, will also be in my doa or prayer. Doa, fittingly enough, is in the title of your show. Your works, I suspect, are about matters close to your heart, in your doa.
Ya I know, matters pertaining to the heart, doa, personal acquaintance and feeling are normally considered as inferior, even a taboo that can taint a supposedly sober, objective and academically-sound ‘analysis’ or reading of a subject. Academics like to deny them, or pretend to. Staunch positivists with uncompromising claims of ‘scientific truth’ will always put the untainted objective mind as having a superior position compared to a feeling and intuiting heart, not to mention, doa. Doa seems to strike a pessimist note, jabbariah (leaving everything to fate). You may try Nolan’s “Interstellar” to witness the conflict between the heart and the mind.
Forget Nolan. Allow me to babble on matters pertaining to doa and the politics of the heart. I will be sharing materials taken from several of my blog entries. Sorry I won’t be writing about your artworks. After all, I was not able to see your current works in person. Plus, I believe there are many scholars out there who can decipher you works cleverly than me.
Dear Syarmiza and Bibi,
We are the custodians of hearts. Our hearts’ electro-magnetic field is said to be 5000 times stronger than our brains’. In other words, our emotional quantum waves or vibrations are stronger than our thoughts. They influence our minds. Collectively, they form our deeper interconnected trans-human ‘inner-net’ or for some, ‘bio-field’.
Our feelings affect what we believe in, our consciousness and our realities. Our feelings are the intangible and silence doa that our hearts radiate, transmit and receive on a daily basis, deeper than what our intellect can falsely conjure, objectify, rationalize, discourse and justify. Our hearts lock or collapse the infinite waves of quantum possibilities into place to become standing waves (our chosen experiential reality and matter). Doa radiates directly from our hearts. If our hearts radiate and transmit love, we receive love, or circumstances that test and further affirm or strengthen the love.
Few would argue that a unifying physics should place the heart as the creator and governor of the realm of matter, not the intruder; that the universe is a great field of emotion rather than only thought; an ‘emotional’ construction rather than only ‘mental’. The universe is a spiritual state. Higher consciousness, compassion, kindness and mindfulness for examples, require a higher awareness of both our own emotional and mental states. In such a post-materialist universe, doa is not a pessimist action anymore, it has a higher place and pro-active role.
“If we always keep kind thoughts, we will purify our own body, and thus become beautiful and healthy. If we always keep kind thoughts, we will also purify the environment and people around us. The most direct way to purify the world is to keep kind thoughts. It would have a tremendous impact on the world if the public could see that point.”(Physicist, Dr. Chen Loujia.)
In regards to post-materialist research on consciousness, compassion, kindness and mindfulness including those that have a place for doa in it, “a group of scientists as well as practitioners in diverse disciplines are joining together to collectively advance the totality of understanding on the role of the consciousness in healing, including mapping the impact of mind-body-spirit practices on the biofield and health. This group of scientists, practitioners, and educators, who are part of the Consciousness and Healing Initiative, are ready to take the bold steps needed to rigorously ask and answer the harder questions -- what is the role of our own consciousness in influencing our biology? How deeply can we guide and facilitate our own healing through our emotions, behaviour, social, and spiritual connections, and how can we harness these effects to promote better health for ourselves, our communities and our planet? (Dr. Shamini Jain, Assistant Prof, UC San Diego, Founding Director, Consciousness and Healing Initiative (CHI) in her essay, “Hacking Into Healing: The REAL Future of Medicine”.)
Our hearts (emotion), doa and healing are intricately inter-connected.
Of course, doa usually comes in a form of verbal utterance (sound waves/vibrations). Yet, it can also be expressed in myriads of lower tangible forms (slower waves/vibrations), including bodily gesture. When we speak of doa, the usual visuals that come to mind are our palms.
Our palms contain myriads of hidden signs. We transmit and receive through our palms. Allow me to share few readings, intially from Islamic perspective, before expanding and relating them to other traditions and sources.
Two palms composited with green lines created by a motion of a point at the tip of a hand during a ‘takbiratul ikram’ (a motion during a prayer in Islam). The lines were captured by using motion capture cameras. The vessel-like curvatures (the motion captured prayer lines and the lines of the palms) can be associated to the Arabic letter ‘ba’.
Screen capture of the motion-captured prayer lines, created by the movement of a point at the tip of a hand during a particular motion in prayer (for Muslims)
Composite of the motion-captured prayer lines with a profile view of a 9 months baby in a mother’s womb.
Composites with palms
The letter ‘ba’ can be approached through 99 Names (attributes) of Allah (Asma'ulhusna), as listed below.
Pict. 8 (Sourced from Nur Zaidi’s in progress Phd thesis).
The Arabic numbers 81 (left palm) + 18 (right palm) = 99 Names of Allah (Asma'ulhusna)
(Sourced from Nur Zaidi’s in progress Phd thesis).
A palm is also instrumental in the daily tasbih/zikir (invocations) of Muslims.
One may also explore the palms from the electro-graphs chakra below.
…or from the Chinese tradition of acupuncture points below.
The open palms also relate to giving and receiving mudra, signifying openness, truth and honesty in a Buddhist tradition. A friend Anderson Ee told me that the mudra reminds us that we can’t hold on to anything, and must acknowledge that we don’t know the answers to everything. Yet we must be humble enough to seek and give offerings to others.
For me as a Muslim, as I scoop a pool of water on my palms before washing my face (as in ablution=wudhu), I can see a pool of water in the shape of a heart and love.
‘Takung’ (2004) at the National Visual Art Gallery.
Our hearts and doa, colour our body.
Heatmaps below reveal where humans feel certain emotions as triggered by the heart.
Pict. 14 & 15
Now let us explore a bit the politics of the hearts.
‘Hearts are of four kinds: the heart that is clear like a shining lamp; the heart that is covered and tied up; the heart that is upside-down; and the heart that is clad in armour. As for the clear heart, it is the heart of the believer in which is a lamp filled with light; as for the covered heart, this is the heart of the disbeliever; as for the upside-down heart, this is the heart of the hypocrite, who recognizes then denies; as for the armour-clad heart, this is the heart in which there is both faith and hypocrisy. The parable of the faith in it is that of legume, a sprout that is irrigated with good water, and the likeness of the hypocrisy in it is that of sores that are fed by blood and pus. Whichever of the two prevails is the characteristic that will dominate.” (From Imam Ahmad, narrating Abu Sa`id Al-Khudri witnessing the saying of Prophet Muhammad.)
Dear Syarmiza and Bibi,
Allow me to end with the following questions:
As the custodians of the hearts, what types of emotion prevail and dominate in the higher quantum field of our immediate habitat, especially our ‘contemporary art’ habitat?
What types of emotion are our hearts radiating, transmitting and receiving, deep and in silence as we engage in such art?
What are we praying for, truly?
HASNUL J SAIDON