Everything that you see in your daily world is a message, carefully crafted to tell you, teach you, or sell you something. We are all subjected to so many creative messages at all times and subconsciously absorb things without even knowing.
Mind, Body, and Heart
All artists infuse something in their art in order to shift the perception of their viewer. Think differently. Kulsum’s medium may not always be the canvas but her work often revolves around the mind, the body, and the heart. These centralized themes and how they manifest, both internally and externally, play a great role in the art Kulsum produces.
The mind is a powerful thing; as we explore concepts and lessons we grow as individuals. Being trained as a conceptual artist in her early years and having been mentored by British artist Conrad Atkinson throughout her career have provided Kulsum with the adequate curriculum to create pieces with intellectual depth. For example, one of the influences of this conceptual framework is a reference to the beautiful understanding of cloth found in Islam. From the cloth of the Kaaba, a woman’s hijab, or the Qu’ranic teaching that in marital bond, spouses serve as “protective garments,” all of these deep ideas are a part of the exploration. Such connotations help the viewer think deeper about social, political, and religious meanings and how we as individuals relate to others, the world, and ultimately ourselves.
The body is a vessel that we use to experience the world. It is the main tool through which we absorb everything around us. This idea is intertwined with the art: Everything from traditional Mehndi designs used for painting the hands of newly wed brides from the Indo sub-continent to geometric patterns from architecture. These physical experiences that we have with shapes, colors, and patterns create mesmerizing intoxication for the viewer understanding the patterns of the universe and life, and how we contribute to the cosmic tapestry.
The heart is the temple and throne of governance in true actualized human beings. If the heart is sound, the whole body, mind, and human are sound. The mind’s chatter and fear dissipate in the overwhelming energy of the sound heart. The inner dimensions of spiritual understanding, which revolve around the polishing of the heart, is a central theme explored in Kulsum’s art. From the calligraphy of the 99 Names of God, which are the most beautiful names that are used to purify the spirit, to the deep violets and reds of spiritual intimacy. The heart knows.