Ayah hosted by The PaintBrush Art Community hails spirit of Ramadan - GulfToday

Ayah hosted by The PaintBrush Art Community hails spirit of Ramadan

Ayah 2

Afsheen Beig’s artwork.

Muhammad Yusuf, Features Writer

The PaintBrush Art Community under the auspices of Ajman Tourism Department is currently hosting the second season of Ayah, an international group art exhibition dedicated to the Holy Month of Ramadan (Feb. 25 – Apr. 8).

The inaugural function was held at Bahi Ajman Palace Hotel, and 24 artists from 10 nationalities are taking part in the event. “The artworks resonate with the spirit of Ramadan and is a most exquisite collection to pay a visit to,” says Sonal Purohit, who co-founded the Community along with her husband, Dr. Romit Purohit. “As you can see, eminent guests from the world of art and the UAE entertainment industry have come to support the artists.” Artworks include the themes of Sufism, Arabic Calligraphy, mosques and portraits. Celebrity Chief Guest and Emirati singer Ahmed Al Hosani visited the space, interacted with artists and sang his famous songs during the opening. He is the first Emirati singer with more than a million followers. Other guests, besides those from Ajman Tourism Department and Bahi Ajman Palace Hotel, included Sultana Kazim, Ahmad Al Awadhi (Rukni), Atul Panase and Anjini Prakash Laitu. They showed their support for the artists with suggestions for further improvement. Versatile award winning speaker Sarim Hamdani took the stage to share the concept and spirit of Ramadan, from his perspective. His was a moving presentation.


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“Artists from 10 different nationalities have come forward to make the exhibition one of the most beautiful Ramadan art events of the season,” Sonal said. The artworks of the following artists are on display for the public: Afshan Nawaz Khan, Dr. Poonam Chauhan, Prabita Rajesh, Sana Bano Moin Ahmed and Sonal Purohit (all from India); Afsheen Beig, Bushra Malik, Dr. Anum Ali, Hina Asad Khan, Iram Parvez Habeeb, Meeran Nasir, Mussarat Yasmin Abid, Roohi Zia, Safiya Muhammad Umer and Saima Furqan (all from Pakistan); Ahmed Al Awadhi (Rukni) from the UAE; Edcel Cabalan (Philippines); Madhuri Musani Pattani (Congo); Maryna Futymska (Ukraine); Mohamed Ahmed Al Mousa Al Halaby and Mousa Ahmed Mousa Al Halaby from Palestine; Walaa Mohamed (Egypt) and Washington Rhodes (USA).

Sonal Purohit is an artist herself and the Ramadan exhibition, according to her, always brings blessings for all. Co-founder Dr. Romit Purohit provided his usual wit and charm during the opening ceremony as the event, hosted by artist and model Prabita Rajesh, took wings. Iftekhar Hamdan, Bahi Ajman Palace Hotel GM, said that “the hotel is known for its hospitality and has catered to all the artists with all our heart and enthusiasm. All our staff are engaged in making the opening ceremony magnificent and perfect.”

Ayah 1 Sonal Purohit (left) and Dr. Romit Purohit.

Al Hosani is widely recognised as the UAE’s first classical singer, and has entranced audiences with his captivating baritone, securing the prestigious Middle East Best Singer Award in 2023. He also won the Middle East’s Best Emerging Arab Artist at the 10th session of the BFL Awards held in Dubai. He holds the title of Middle East and North Africa Ambassador for the Old School of Opera Singing in Italy. Al Hosani’s performances have reached international audiences in countries such as Egypt, Austria, Mexico, Bulgaria, Bosnia and the USA. He is a founding member of the Emirati Musicians’ Association.

In an essay, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, NYC (The Met) notes that “the term Sufi comes from ‘suf’, the Arabic word for wool, and refers to a garment worn by ascetics and mystics, which is often visible in depictions of such figures. Sufis (mystical adherents of Islam) typically wore simple attire that demonstrated a renunciation of the luxuries of the material world. A follower of Sufism is also referred to as a “faqir” or dervish, from the Arabic and Persian terms meaning poor.”

Over the centuries, notes The Met, the spiritual beliefs, rituals and practices of Sufis have inspired poets and artists to create extraordinary verses and artworks. Sufis have also made important contributions to Islamic art and culture as patrons, artists, builders and poets. “In contemporary art,” The Met continues, “Sufi themes and imagery continue to inspire artists, including Parviz Tanavoli (b. 1937), who explores the suppression of the ego in his sculpture Poet Turning into Heech. Y. Z. Kami (b. 1956), in his work Endless Prayers XXVIII, uses abstracted spirals and text from Rumi’s poetry to reference the spinning circumambulations of the sama’, the ecstatic dance of the dervishes. The beauty and meaning of these artworks maintain a wide appeal to many audiences and serve as a continuation of the ideas and practices of the earliest Islamic mystics.” Ayah follows this tradition.

Founded in 2018 to provide a platform for artists and artisans to manifest their skills, liaise with similarly motivated individuals, connect creative minds and evoke art, the motto of The PaintBrush Art Community is “for the artists and by the artists”. Its collaboration with The House of Creativity, India, according to the Purohits, “is a project born out of a passion for creative excellence.” The founders of the House, Luv and Kush Sinha, come from a family synonymous with art, culture and innovation, they point out.

“This is a home of multiple art forms, housing everything from pieces inspired by nature, to photographs that capture and immortalise fleeting moments,” says Sonal. “And at the heart of the endeavour is a commitment to the Indian artistic community.” Through the collaboration, The PaintBrush Art Community and The House of Creativity aim to bring art communities, especially those belonging to the UAE and India, closer together.

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