Redmond Lights is an annual holiday lights celebration curated by my local town’s park and recreation department and I am excited to have had created a sculpture called Sul.tˤa (Arabic: سُلْطَة) for it.
The goal was to give community members a place to soapbox, pray, sing, rest, meditate, snack & find themselves in the middle of a pandemic.
The Concept for Sul.tˤa (Arabic: سُلْطَة)
The Sul.tˤa (Arabic: سُلْطَة) will be built by a local woodworker from wood with lighting around the top & steps. The design is loosely inspired on a minbar (Arabic: مِنْبَر), a pulpit usually shaped like a small tower, found to the right of the mihrub (Arabic: محراب) in mosques.
The minbar is used by the Imam to address the congregation, after prayers. Some mosques build a minbar, while others, such as our local mosque, has a temporary one, as the prayer space also serves as a basketball court. This minbar inspired artwork, Sul.tˤa (Arabic: سُلْطَة), would be fleeting, placed to use for a short time.
The Sul.tˤa (Arabic: سُلْطَة) has been placed as close as possible to the direction towards the Kaaba in the Sacred Mosque in Mecca, Saudi Arabia, called the qibla (Arabic: قِبْلَة). The qibla is which is used by Muslims in various religious contexts, particularly the direction of prayer for the salah.
There are hundreds of children’s Arabic names on Sul.tˤa (Arabic: سُلْطَة). As the Arabic storyteller for my town’s library, I have missed so many of them due to COVID19 closures. I reached out to local parents & asked for permission to include their first names. I wanted them to be seen & feel a part of this event.
From Studio art to Outdoor Sculpture
This is my first venture into sculpture and I would have never been able to do it had it not been for the Public Art Intensive Eastside, a workshop series for visual artists to learn how to translate their work into the public realm.
I had always been a studio artist, so it was interesting to learn how to transition into public art. There are many considerations that I had never done before, such as applying for public art, creating a budget, materials to use and how to design a concept. Once the course was complete, we were also given an opportunity to have a mock application process to get one on one feedback about an application. I am filled with gratitude for the opportunity to have taken the course & learned how to take my art work out of a studio and into the public realm.
Stay tuned for more exciting sculpture art that will help showcase a positive representation of Arabs, Muslims and Libyans in America.