Monday, February 17, 2020

Salma Arastu Aims to Remake the Art of Islamic Calligraphy

By Kimberley Winston
Salma Arastu, who incorporates Islamic calligraphy in her painting, photographed in her Berkeley studio.(Jana Asenbrennerova)
BERKELEY — Given her family history, Salma Arastu may be one of the last people you’d expect to be helping to modernize Islamic calligraphy. Her Hindu parents fled their home in Pakistan, resettling in India during the nightmare of mob violence between Muslims and Hindus when the two countries gained independence from Britain in 1947. Arastu was born in India a few years later. But unable to cope with what had happened, her father, a doctor, died soon after of a heart attack that his family attributes to the stress of the move. So Arastu’s journey to becoming a Muslim holds special weight. After graduating from art school in India, she overcame her family’s resistance and converted to Islam when she married her husband, an architect. [More]
Salma Arastu uses Islamic calligraphy in a nontraditional way in her paintings: “I want to show people what the Quran has taught me about diversity, community, friendship and peace.”(Jana Asenbrennerova)