Material: Japanese Washi paper hand-made by artist, genuine hand-ground azurite, white gold.
Size: 240 mm x 240 mm

12 Fold Umayyad Geometry

Located within the old city walls of Damascus is the Ummayad mosque, otherwise known as the great mosque of Damascus a building whose interior, exterior and entire façade is covered in intricate golden mosaics all depicting stories of paradise.

Supporting this great artwork are long marble columns inlaid with geometric designs made of cut stone. This particular 12-fold geometric design can be seen on the exit of the Umayyad mosque as well as in other places such as Cairo.

For this painting I made the paper using Kozo (Japanese Mulberry). The end result is known as washi paper and is famed for being both delicate and tissue-like in nature, but strong enough to withstand painting. Genuine azurite rock was crushed and prepared to make the blue accents, and white gold was ground into paint to finish this piece.

The Umayyad mosque is such a significant building to all Syrians. Life is centered inside and outside of its walls and it plays a role in many a story and poem. Nazir Qabbani, one of the most revered contemporary poets in the Arab world and the national poet of Syria wrote an ode to the mosque in his poem ‘Damascus, What are you doing to me?’ and it is for this reason, along with how significant a role its art and presence had on my development as an artist is why I decided to paint it.

Damascus, what are you doing to me? (Edited) - Verse 5
I enter the courtyard of the Umayyad Mosque
And greet everyone in it
Corner to . . . corner
Tile to . . . tile
Dove to . . . dove
I wander in the gardens of Kufi script
And pluck beautiful flowers of God’s words
And hear with my eye the voice of the mosaics
And the music of agate prayer beads
A state of revelation and rapture overtakes me,
So I climb the steps of the first minaret that encounters me
Calling:
“Come to the jasmine”
“Come to the jasmine”