Friday 9 December 2011: Zikr
'Come to the Art Exhibition his evening' my friend beckoned...Exhibition? I knew nothing of it until she spoke of it, but when I asked who was exhibiting, the answer was a resounding 'Yes'
I had always wanted to paint. From early childhood, I had a very clear image in my mind of sitting in a field of tall wheat, the breeze brushing past, making waves in the golden sea. I would sit with my easel, with the sun on my back. It was my way of relaxing and escaping.
Soft Islamic, glass lighting, people slowly milling around, karkade and fresh lemon juice being offered by a waiter upon arrival...What a pleasant and refreshing change for an evening out.
On Tudor red walls, hung magnificent, vibrant portraits in the most wonderful shades of blue. The contrast was striking and my initial reaction, was 'I don't like the colour blue, but this is breathtaking!'
It was to be an informal showing, with a brief welcoming introduction by the artist, Brian Flynn.
He arrived 6 years ago in Cairo, visited the inside of the Great Pyramid and a Mosque on his first day and realised instantly that 'He needed to be here'
Brian, a gentle man, softly spoken, wearing the traditional gallabeyah and a white crochet skullcap, explained that he can only paint what 'Moves his heart' He referred to a painting called 'Ragab'. A farmer, in a field, with a sithe, all alone, acres of wheat to harvest, with all the time in the World.
The colours were deep blue and gold, as were Tutankhamun's mask.
I watched Brian and the sparkle in his eye, as he commented that many people see these things, but few really look deeper and feel what it is they see.
This moved me so, that I had to hold my breath for fear of my eyes beginning to water, I averted them back to 'Ragab' I felt what he felt, when I look through the lens of my camera and share with people, what it is I see.
Then he spoke of the Zikr collection, which were haunting and had so much symbolism. Zikr is a Sufi ritual. Meditation, which aims to create a divine state.
To achieve this emotion through his painting, Brian removed the gold leaf in order to focus on the inner world of the people. The results are very powerful, you can almost feel their heart beating, you are in the very soul of the painting.
Brian's last words were' If you destroy illusion, then you can have harmony'