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Life To The Earth After It's Death

I started this painting about 15 years ago, leaving it abandoned and unfinished at my parents’ house. Little did I know at the time that before I would finish it, I would go on to enter upon a ten year marriage, get divorced, and return to art.

This painting represents for me taking a step towards facing my fear of not being good enough. I have always thought, “Why should I do art when other people’s art is so much better?” Despite this, I was encouraged to enjoy the process of expression, without judging myself or being concerned about others’ judgment.

The Qur’anic verses I included are mostly from Surah Al Talaq, and one from Surah Al Hadid, which was “Know that God brings life to the earth after its death.” For much of the last decade, I had become corpse-like, bereft of any joy, often a time feeling robotic, going through the motions and numbly existing to fulfil expectations of a certain role, but not actively choosing what I want in my life. I was too unhappy to even know how to connect to what would bring me happiness or joy. In the Autumn of my marriage I plummeted into more numbness, and in the depths of my despair around when the last leaf of my marriage fell, I had thought that death would be better. Death would be better than all this. These Qu’ranic words I've included in the painting represent my journey. God has enabled me to be alive again after some kind of death. I am earth, and I am alive.

The other verses are from Surah Talaq- such a short but powerful surah. What amazes me about this surah is how many times taqwa (God- consciousness) is mentioned. God knows the difficulty of divorce, and how the parties involved can easily fall into hurting each other or acting unjustly, and brings the couple back to remembering God- consciousness, reminding them to act as would be proper.

Note: God implies both genders in these verses, but since I am addressing this to my divorced sisters, I am focusing on the she.

“And whoever is conscious of God, He will make out of her matter, ease.”

“And He gives provision from whence she cannot conceive.”

“And whoever relies on God, then He is sufficient for her.”

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