Trying to gain enlightenment through learning… | Pakistan Today

Trying to gain enlightenment through learning…

Perhaps from a process of self revision can I find solace in exploring the endeavour to gain even an iota of enlightenment through the passage of learning and growing beyond my own coordinates of underlying borders,” said Haya Sehgal in a press release issued by the VM Art Gallery where her solo exhibition of Quranic calligraphy ‘Expanding the Arc’ is running until May 25. The entire show is planned according to the development stages and progression of man as he ingrains himself with the search of knowledge and grows through the process of learning and practice; starting from an alaq (clot of blood), metaphorically represented by a nukta (dot), to the primary stages of development, to a final resting place.
“Starting from a nukta, a dot, a clot of blood, this is a journey of finding one’s self by returning to the point of origin through dissecting measures of self reflection, spiritual guidance and discourse,” she said. “It is by redrawing and revising my own lines of imperfection and mistakes do I find relief, and a language (text) that keeps unveiling. I call this learning process widening the circle of knowledge,” she added. Of one thing she is sure; the more she learns, she realises how little she knows; she could only describe her work as “humble strokes of devotion”.
Sehgal’s inspiration comes from the Quran and the attributes of the names of Allah. The repetitive strokes in her work, a trademark of her unique style, represent the repetition of recitation or Dhikr – remembrance (of God). Each line converts into an act of praise, a call to the highest, a pain of repentance and a hope for forgiveness. Overall, her work gives an insightful glance at themes derived through Islamic teachings and tradition.
Sehgal is a contemporary artist. She received her degree in Visual Communications from the Maryland Institute College of Art, USA. Whilst there, she was awarded a merit scholarship as well as a presidential scholarship by the college. She worked as a graphic designer in the creative department of a marketing agency in New York for several years before moving back to Pakistan where she currently resides.
Once back home, she started exploring Islam through its broader spectrum over the years and channelled her own work towards its values and philosophy. In 2009, she was invited by the organisers of the prestigious Festival of Thinkers in Abu Dhabi, UAE, to display her calligraphy at a solo exhibition. The Festival of Thinkers is a biennial conference that acts as a platform for world leaders, philosophers and Nobel laureates from around the world to come together and share their ideas and thoughts.

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