Contraction قبض

India ink and graphite pencil on mount board and cut paper, assembled on Saunders Waterford paper. 30x30 cm (framed: 38 x 38 cm).

Date8 May 2017

Qabd means “contraction”, “constriction”, “closing”. In Sufism, this describes a diminution of self by withdrawing from the surface personality towards the inner; it is experienced as feelings of constriction, blockage and sadness.

I expressed the contraction by working with a small mass of black in the centre of a lot of white; the dots are strips of gold paper squeezed between and out of the black squares. Seeing them properly requires a change of perspective: one can then see that contraction, while uncomfortable, forces out our hidden gold.

Creation process:

A penny for your thoughts...