Aniqa Hassan's Blog

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Week 8: Sufi Music and Dance

Through out the course of the semester we have mentioned Sufism. This week we delved deeper into Sufism and its emphasis on the spiritual component of worship. What I found most interesting about Sufism was how it was used or portrayed by the media, particularly in the United States. It was seen as this liberal, more open minded Islam, that was good for the west. In some ways it appeared as though they were making Sufism out to be the sole force fighting against extremism.

For my artistic response, I decided to paint an oil painting of a whirling dervish. Growing up I have seen many images of whirling dervishes and heard of the term before, but I never truly understood the significance of a whirling dervish and the purpose of the dance. From my understanding the dance of the dervish alongside many other forms of art, such as singing, are means of being fully consumed by the worship of God. It is a way of experiencing God and momentarily leaving the body to feel something beyond it. Just seeing the facial expressions of the dervishes and the way that they commit themselves to the dance captured this devotion. In many of the images I saw the dervishes seemed completely unaware of the presence of the audience.

This painting took an incredibly long amount of time. I began with an underpainting and chose to create a blue toned painting. But upon completely the blue toned painting I came to the realization that warmer colors would have captured the feeling I wanted better, I did not want the painting to appear cold. The major issue is deciding to change the tone of the painting was reapplying paint everywhere and trying not to get the blues of the original paintings to mix with the yellows creating a messy gray. Another difficulty with this particular painting was the usage a limited number of oil paints. As I was not home I did not have a lot of my collection with me and used very few colors. Trying to create depth with few colors was challenging.


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