by Alexandra Osadkova03 July '19
Prophet Muhammad Daughters in the language of abstract art
Oil painting series by abstract art master Gheorghe Virtosu!
Gender issues are one of the most topical subjects in the contemporary art, which comes as no surprise, since even today, in the 21st centuries, we still face the number of prejudices, connected with male/female gender roles. Traditionally, Muslim countries are perceived as the most conservative ones, with the patriarchal system making women the rightless ‘staffage.’ However, often Muslim political and religious thinkers attempt to prove this no more than a stereotype, and that Islam helped to improve the role of women in the local society. According to some documentary evidence, the Pre-Islamic time period was defined by the harsh attitude towards women: the female infanticide was a common practice; women of lower class had no rights to own the property and were generally treated more like the trophies in the tribal warfare or a part of one’s possessions. For instance, a woman could be ‘inherited’ by her husband’s son after his death (unless she’s the mother of that son).
Some of the followers of Islam try to demonstrate their religion encourages strong women. The first wife of Prophet Muhammad, Khadija, was a successful businesswoman, and it was her, who initiated the marriage and proposed to Muhammad (the thing which is rare even today). Muhammad’s third wife Aisha bint Abī Bakr led her troops in the Battle of the Camel. She recorded over 2210 hadiths the sayings of the Prophet.
Gheorghe Virtosu is the artist, who is attracted to the challenging tasks. That is why he decided to work on the contradictory theme of woman in the Muslim society, representing it in the abstract painting series dedicated to Prophet Muhammad Daughters (listed from the elder to the younger one): Zainab bint Muhammad, Ruqayyah bint Muhammad, Umm Kulthum bint Muhammad and Fatimah bint Muhammad.
To paint all four Prophet’s daughters, the artist has used the same abstract art composition with his signature expressive brushwork and biomorphic drawing. In that fusion of the smooth forms, one can easily recognize an angel-like, winged creature, which hints at the specific spiritual status of the personages. The fluidity of the lines evokes associations with the wittiness of Arabic calligraphy.
All canvases differ in the palette; it’s hard to tell, whether the choice of the colors was well-thought or unconscious, but somehow each of the tints symbolically represents the essence of the heroines. For instance, the abstract ‘portrait’ of Zainab has predominant brownish shades (picture above).
The background in the painting dedicated to Umm Kulthum is intensively
Finally, the color of Fatimah bint Muhammad painting is
The eastern mentality is defined by reservedness, avoidance of direct, bold statements. It’s the culture of the ornament. Moreover, as everyone knows, Islam prohibits the art of portraiture.