In the Skies, on Earth
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Original painting SOLD, oil on canvas, 930 x 620mm, 2008
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Print sizes and editions (limited to 275)
- Regular archival paper - 365 x 550mm
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The story of In the Skies, on Earth
The mystical branch of Islam known as Sufism was described by teacher Ahmad ibn Ajiba as "a science through which one can know how to travel into the presence of the Divine, purify one’s inner self from filth, and beautify it with a variety of praiseworthy traits”.
The parallels between Sufi beliefs and Maori spirituality, particularly those that reinforce one’s direct experience of nature and the cosmos, inspired this work.
Three whirling dervishes are depicted on the hills of Papatuanuku (earth mother) performing the sema, a Sufi ritual where one revolves meditatively while worshiping the existence and majesty of the Creator. In so doing, one confirms the words of the Qur'an (64:1): Whatever is in the skies or on earth invokes God. During the sema their arms are open. The right arm is always directed heavenward, to Ranginui (sky father), ready to receive God's beneficence. The left hand, upon which their eyes are fastened, is turned toward the earth. In this artwork it is as if the whirling dervishes accept the divine glory of God from the starry Milky Way and guide it towards Papatuanuku in a gesture of bestowal.
Sofia is descended from the East Cape iwi Ngati Porou. The tribe’s sacred mountain Hikurangi is pictured in the distance. Lands and ancestors call out in this painting, whose fundamental spiritual theme is located out of time and beyond culture.
Sofia Minson Paintings | New Zealand Artwork