In October 2012, when artist Salva Rasool had a solo show at Nehru Centre Art Gallery, jeweller Anil Gajari came across her art and contacted her to make miniature paintings with Arabic calligraphy that could be used as pendants. She took it up as a challenge and went on to create several pieces of statement jewellery.
She is exhibiting several of her creations at an exhibition at Worli today and is currently open to customising neckpieces for clients. Speaking about her creations, Rasool says, “These are paintings on canvas in a miniature size. There are multiple layers of texture and colour applied in coats to create an interesting miniature painting. Special tools are created to apply these paints and textures. My designs are all about creating different styles of the word Allah (God) in Arabic calligraphy overlapped on modern and contemporary backgrounds.”
She adds that the art for the pendant is done on canvas which is treated and anti-fungal. The pendant is made in silver or 18 carat gold and strung in semi-precious gems, such as yellow topaz, carnelian orange beads, red corals, white chalcedony, hessonite, carnelian in coloured beads and silver beads with a silver clasp. The painting is protected by clear glass.
Every pendant is hand-crafted to give a finer look than a machine-made one. A machine-made piece has a two-dimensional appearance whereas a handcrafted piece has a three-dimensional look and has more value than a machine-made one, emphasises Rasool. Each piece takes around two weeks to complete.
Rasool adds that making such jewellery is a challenge due to the limited size of the canvas (approximately 2” x 2” or 2.5” x 3”). “Getting the right texture, applying shades of colours and doing the Arabic script takes a lot of effort, confidence and time. I have created special tools to work on these sizes of canvas,” she explains.
While the Allah calligraphy pendant has been traditionally worn by Muslim women for generations, Rasool maintains that this is the first time that Islamic art has been presented in an art form and has been made contemporary for fashion and jewellery. “Women love to flaunt such jewellery. It gives an individual a sense of owning a collector’s piece of art, since each pendant has my signature on it and is certified. I want my jewellery to be worn not only for its devotional value but as an art and fashion statement, irrespective of religion,” says Rasool.
Rasool graduated from the Sir JJ School of Art and has been painting contemporary Arabic calligraphy art for the past two decades. She has showcased her works in Europe, United States, South Africa and Dubai.
At Sunville, Dr AB Road, Worli.