Post-modern Islamic art in Portugal. Margarida Sardinha exposition by Gallery Helder Alafaiate, at the House of Culture in Ericeira, a most beautiful traditional village on the west coast of Portugal. Inauguration on 16 August 2014. Text for the catalogue by Pedro Teixeira da Mota
“Allah is the Light of the heavens and the earth. The similitude of His Light is as a niche wherein is a lamp, in a crystal glass, shining like a star.” – 24:35. Surate, The Light.
Islamic art of mosques and shrines, palaces and houses, paintings and drawings is basically sacred and sacralising, i.e. is based and invites us to utter the sacred words, to feel the sacred feelings, to meditate the attributes of the Divine and therefore tends to involve the human in a much wider dimension in which through seeing, feeling, reciting and meditating the concrete and personal are related and united with the archetypal and spiritual worlds and the Divine.
Thus Islamic art developed from the Qur’an, and afterwards from the actual sensitivities of each people or artist, and as is still today rooted in primordial origins unleashes flights of unusual and unprecedented postmodern creativity, such as Margarida Sardinha presents today.
Surely the primordiality of Islamic art, which is so touching to us, recedes beyond the Qur’an and its own specific mathematics, geometries and architectures towards the spirit-world with all its archetypes being intuited and evoked by the artists of different peoples and traditions. Thus, establishing the large circumambulatory movement from the macrocosms to the microcosms, the artists are alchemists, as they condense the philosophical matter by making visible the wonders of the spiritual and divine worlds, and so they purify us and raise us with all this energies and messages.
In the same manner portals open up so that we can reverse the movement into the downward descent, which was the creation or manifestation, and we thankfully return to these subtle worlds, we return to that primordial Oneness paramount and Divine, source of all numbers, shapes and names that are so harmonious worked and exalted by the artists and mystics of Islam.
Islam seeks to materialize the Paradise on earth through architecture and art, i.e. to draw the distant, the perfect or the divine closer to us and in a sensitive and illuminating way. But simultaneously, in a symmetrical movement, one seeks to awaken the spirit that is in our depths so that it rises on its axis and, focusing on the prophetic message or in the Divine Sun of Majesty and Compassion, it becomes a living sun on earth and a source of blessing for all. Thus, through the beautiful and appropriate geometric proportions, it is searched to vibrate and harmonize the body and soul and make it more responsive and manifesting the Spirit and the Divine attributes.
In this sense Margarida Sardinha strides with this exhibition, with its thousand crystallizations and recreations of the wonders of the palace and gardens of Alhambra, which since as early times as 11th century until today has been an inexhaustible source of exalting beauty and harmony.
Animated by her gifts of communion with the macrocosms of sacred geometry, patiently endowed of science’s magnifying glass and longing for beauty, Margarida has been following the path of the cosmic mountain (qaf), with the manifested forms and names that connects us to the higher worlds and the Divine; and thus she gives us with this exhibition a portal of animated symmetries arriving or departing from the nameless One, departing or arriving to the secret of secrets (sir-e-sir), the heart of the heart, be it of the Cosmos, as order and proportion, be it our own centre, as spirit and fire reflecting the Divine. In both ways we are under the Grace (Baraka) Divine that is reaching and felt gratefully in us.
Hence, to contemplate and feel as repetitive remembrances (zikr) this abstractions of dynamic harmonies, or even super-three-dimensionalities, is certainly a purifying and enlightening grace and a great stimulus in recognizing and feeling the basic principles of Islam, Tawid, Divine Unity or Oneness, and Whadat al-Wujud, the interconnectedness of everything and everyone with the One, and so we are encouraged to understand with observing and loving eyes and feel that the very divine and his cosmic vision sees through us, or that reflects or is given testimony on us and around us.
Which are the animated works that touch us most or even open the spiritual eye and the heart, which works, and all of them are linked to the Alhambra and the Platonic and Archimedean solids, will make us be more inclined to Islam, the Tawid, i.e. the Divine Unity, the real or ultimate source of happiness, will depend on the psychic energies that cover or animate each of us. But with certainty to all visitors whom will walk and continue in the spirit of Margarida’s exhibition this contact will be a very illuminating and fertile factor in our lives, more intertwined and mirrored in fraternal religion and sacred geometry that comes from the Divine and Primordial Oneness, and wants to become the living expanding flame of Love (Ishq or Eshq) in the centre of each Being.