'Road to Makkah' feature works by VCUarts Qatar alumni
July 03 2022 10:53 PM
Othman M Khunji's latest artwork.
Othman M Khunji's latest artwork.


Artworks by three alumni from Virginia Commonwealth University School of the Arts in Qatar (VCUarts Qatar), a Qatar Foundation (QF) partner university, are part of the exhibition titled 'Road to Makkah', at Eiwan Al Gassar Gallery St Regis.
The exhibition runs until September 10. Thirty artists from 12 countries - Qatar, Saudi, Bahrain, Oman, Syria, Iraq, Pakistan, Iran, Bangladesh, Sudan, Tunisia and the UK - are participating in the exhibition.
The exhibition is curated by Bachir Mohamed.
Faheem Khan, BFA, graphic design, Class of 2019, MFA in design, Class of 2022; Othman M Khunji, MFA in design, Class of 2015; and Noof al-Naama, BFA, interior design, Class of 2022, are the three alumni participating in the presentation.

<< Noof al-Naama
Khan's art installation is titled 'Less Water, More Holy: Tools for Sustainable Ablution'. The artworks are part of Khan's MFA in design thesis.
Khan says he feels "a moral obligation to use his gifts and talent as a designer to help Muslims follow our Prophet's (peace be upon him) Sunnah, after all as believers of Islam, that is our goal".
He explains further, "Muslims pray five times a day, and before each prayer, they first clean themselves by performing ritual ablution (wudu). To visualise and better understand the nature of performing wudu with just one mudd (650ml) of water, my thesis included a two-part research investigation.
"The first part proposed eight individual artifacts designed to show how little water is needed for each step of the process of wudu. "Next, lessons extracted from this analytical phase informed a series of contemporary artifacts designed to guide users toward a more reflective and sustainable spiritual practice."
Visitors can view eight individual artworks by Othman M Khunji as well.
The titles of the artwork are, 'La wa illa', 'Perpetual Affirmation', 'Iqra', 'Religious Authority', Religious Vanity (three parts), and 'Makkah Modified'. Khunji has used various media, such as 3D sculptures, and scanned prints to explore the relationship between man and God.
His latest artwork is titled Iqra, a 3D printed sculpture in a male form formed from verses from Surat Al Alaq which have been the first revelation to Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) in Makkah at cave Hira.

Faheem Khan

"The Surat stresses the importance of focus on the righteous path and furthering one's education," he says."This sculpture acts as a spiritual, conceptual compass, indicating where the centre of Islamic devotion is aimed at: the Ka'aba in Makkah.
Another example is 'Religious Vanity' a 3D scanned and printed artwork that contrasts the concept of man, and machine-made imperfect constructions, with Allah's perfect creations.
Portraying in size, colour, and reflection, the replacement of one's love and devotion to Allah, by one's love centered on the self, these pieces showcase the derived relationship between a Muslim's vanity and the divine."

Othman M Khunji

Noof al-Naama is presenting an artwork titled Tawaf. "Tawaf illustrates instances of people encircling the Holy Ka'aba, a ritual performed by Muslims upon visiting Makkah," she says.
Eiwan Al Gassar Gallery is an "innovative, dynamic and community-engaged space fostering creatives in Qatar to celebrate art and design in all its broad aspects".
The gallery is one of the many venues spread out across Doha that regularly host the creative works of VCUarts Qatar alumni, the others being Fire Station, and M7 at Msheireb Downtown Doha.
VCUarts Qatar faculty, staff, alumni and students also take part in public art projects organised by Qatar Museums.

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