I Am You
Old manuscript (dated 1902), mixed media on handmade paper
80 x 60 cm
My artwork steers towards what I believe to be the essential qualities of Islamic art that focus on the spiritual representation. Given the enormous importance of the word of God as set down in the Qur’anic revelation and its transmission throughout the Islamic world, the traditional emphasis upon the written word has made Arabic calligraphy into one of the major styles of modern artistic expression for Islamic artists (Arab Christian artists also use calligraphy in their work).
For me, using letters and/or words in my paintings, sculptures and installations, whether in their abstract or legible forms, is a means to assert my artistic identity as well as to ascertain my creative versatility in a personal and original manner far removed from foreign traditions.
In my present work I am inspired by the colored banners that Sufis hang around the shrines of their holy men and women, proclaiming their devotion to their Beloved, being the Almighty or human. The work include Sufi idioms and expressions that translate this devotion in rhyme and pose.
Painter, art historian, academic and diplomat, Wijdan first trained in art, in Amman, with the Italian Armando Prön and Jordanian Muhanna Durra. She carries a Ph.D. in Islamic Art from the School of Oriental and African Studies (1993) and is a Fellow of SOAS (2010). She established The Royal Society of Fine Arts (1979) which founded the Jordan National Gallery of Fine Arts (1980).
She founded the Higher Institute of Islamic Art and Architecture at Al Al-Beit University in Jordan (1993) and the Faculty of Arts and Design at the University of Jordan (2002). She was Ambassador of Jordan to Italy (2006-2011).
Wijdan was the first to write the history of modern and contemporary Islamic art and has over 19 publications.
At present she continues painting, working in glass and writing.