Remover of Fear المؤمن

Acrylic with pigment and metal leaf on wood. 122x122x6 cm.

Date4 March 2015
Category, ,

A monumental version in wood of a smaller piece.

The root of the name Al-Mu’min, ‘MN أمن, connotes being safe, free from fear, tranquil; protection; trust; believing in. From the same root derives the word Îmân (faith) and Âmîn (amen = “in this we trust”). The central meaning then is complete trust, such as that of a small child for a parent, and this meaning links together the notions of faith and of being protected. The archetype expressed by al-Mu’min is that whose protection can be trusted so completely that no fear remains.
Note that each of these names, being out of context, evokes a whole cloud of meanings, so that it’s not possible to give a single “correct” English translation. The one I select as a title is the one that speaks most to me at that point in time. Other translations for al-Mu’min: the Giver of Tranquillity, the Source of Faith, the Guarantor, the Affirming.

The design is highly stylized, with a unique central mîm for all 6 repetitions of the word. I used different levels of elevation for the reading to descend from that centre to the 6 nûn, casting a gradation of shadows on the way. Gold and ultramarine are traditional colours symbolizing two complimentary aspects of God, Glory and Mercy, and here pure ultramarine pigment was mixed into the paint to achieve a velvety texture that gives the colour unusual depth.

Earlier incarnation: Ultramarine with Dioptase glaze in acrylic binder and 23 ct Red Gold on Saunders Waterford HP paper 425gsm, 50×50 cm, May 2014 (sold).

A penny for your thoughts...