Laa ilaha illallah by Arini Esarey

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This piece is a meditation on my mother and her relationship with the divine. It arose from the desire to better understand her perspective and so unites the different ways she and I encounter the divine. The Arabic text and its English transliteration was originally handwritten for me by my mother. It translates as "there is no god but God" and is a Sufi chant traditionally repeated 100 times. As one whose spiritual practice relies on repetitive creative acts, I then hand-embroidered the phrase 100 times onto the cloth that make up the pages of this book. The book can be read from left-to-right or right-to-left; both orientations allow the viewer to see the front and back sides of the embroidery. The moment it takes to make sense of whether one is viewing front or back, Arabic or Latin script, is a threshold for the viewer to find an entry into something larger than his/her own self.

Artist Bio

Arini Esarey is an artist whose work is concerned with the simple ways we find delight in connecting with something larger than ourselves, whether that be other people, nature, or the divine. Such work is created by means that are repetitive in motion, rooted in traditional crafts, or reliant on the cycles of nature. She received a BA from Reed College; a Bookbinding Diploma from North Bennet St School in Boston, MA; and currently lives in Bloomington, IN.