spectator once commented,'
“your work is
like a blade of grass swaying silently, in
the wind..." 'alhumdollilah is my response”
purpose of this Spiritual Art is to serve to society, the environment and
humanity - a reminder of our inner (heArt) and outer journey (to be green) home to the Divine Architect, G_d. Her Art is one component. She
sees art (and architecture) in various ways, which is unique to
the artist and this art:
as a tool to know the heArt, using the
intellect (Aql), to know G_d. It's an
inner struggle in order to know the heart.
A service to society to help charitable
causes; a tool as a helping hand as a social justice.
as a reflection of Ehsan and Iman (Belief in a Divine) grounded in knowledge, reason and the
imagination of the heArt.
as Creativity and Beauty with it's fountainhead understood with reason, knowledge, and erudite scholarship.
as sustainable and green Architecture or the outer
struggle for the design of the built
environment. This realization is a reflection of her inner self,
extending from the understanding of her
inner heart and self with the intellect, to
an outer action for the built environment.
However, the role of
the Mother and the human as a goodly tree, is greater in our outer
struggle for balance and peace.
It is an Art as an 'Ode' to my Architect, G_d and a tool of vicegerency in charity serving society, the environment and our hearts helping build a sustainable and green world, with an Islamic calligraphy recital of the Artisan Creator--or as Mirza calls, ‘my Architect’. Her Art supports the struggles of the weak, the poor, the sick, the orphan and women in society, like a steward. Her full story celebrates, as she phrases, ‘the Creator and the reflection of the divine she calls the sustainable human’(insan) as the raison d’etre negating the crime of ornament, and not ‘Modern man’s self’. Hence, building as stewards of G_d, in order to help build a more equitable world and self....or that is the strife.
American – Canadian, Uzma Mirza has spent her working career as a professional architect designing buildings alongside her spiritual calligraphic art. In her studio practice she tends to a spiritual art called art of pen and inkpot, which is informed by her life as a human, a western Muslim woman and as an architect as a philanthropist striving to be in balance with nature, humanity and society. As a professional architect, she attempts to build sustainable and green buildings which is her outward action towards sustainability in a world that is imbalanced, as she phrases, a world against reason. In her visual art which has been a natural G_d given talent which is her inner action, she infuses an Islamic calligraphy that is a core of her faith with architectural light, shadow and form, harmonious pieces of the natural world, meaning and the tonal colors of sound to produce a 'lyrical art', or an 'Ode' through art as she phrases, as a vehicle of expression to unravel the puzzle of the human condition of the self like a tin wo-man with heArt.
Some view my art as a contemporary style of Islamic calligraphy. Some call it 'Daliesque' or the sounds of a 'Klee'. However, yes my main influences are the West however, I do not view myself as a traditional calligrapher but a calligraphic artist who pens and scores the sounds of the Quranic Word and the natural world - the palette on which we the ayah's or signs lie - in a rhythmical pattern. There is no label. With art a talent from the Creator, the natural world has been core palette in my upbringing and the environment has rendered my growth that continues to grow. I do not see myself as a soothsayer or a judge or a scholar under present definitions or labels, though I have been practicing my art seeking knowledge and unfolding truths through the lens of proper readings, scholarship and action amidst erudite expeditions and the natural world. I am well grounded in the human made traditions of Islamic Calligraphy and its variegated history. Art has always been as I call my 'Linus's Blanket' since a small child, a talent bestowed upon me that I always felt I must use a tool for change in essence the core of my social entrpreneurship I am building where both my profession and art are used in vicegerency. (Linus's blanket, for those who know of Charlie Brown understand this epithet). Ultimately, my art is a vehicle towards knowing, who I am, as a human trying to find my way home or like a tin man in search of building a balanced heart. My work has evolved throughout my life from my first art exhibit as a twelve, thirteen year old, to the present, and continues in an evolution of spiritual understanding grounded in sound, rhythm, geometry, motion and light. Motion and sound, and tensile and compressive structure is an essence of my building, writing, philanthropy and artistic palette. My art and architecture are complements of each other with the thread of philanthropy and written work the constancy.
Spiritual Art and Architecture are
complements of each other, which encourage
and celebrate not the making of a
renaissance man or promethean man, but the
stitching of a sustainable human (Insan)...likened o a goodly tree sowing seeds which becomes good and balanced fruit."
is important to note that this spiritual art is not a replacement for
Our Architect (G_d), meditation, prophecy, nor accountability and
responsibility of our actions or reactions upon this earth. All praises
are to all the Prophets.
Mirza is neither an Eastern or a Western Muslim woman, but an artist whose Art is inspired by her spirituality from which she emerges, and from within the contexts in which she grew up which is Canada and the USA, with a taint of Libya and an ethnicity of the Pak/Indo-Subcontinent. Uzma Mirza is raised in the West and grew up in Canada in Sydney, Cape Breton Island, Nova Scotia and Ottawa Ontario--the land of invention of Alexander Grahm Bell and Marconi. Her art is a natural talent with a grass-rooted approach to a visual Art and a reflection of the present world without typical labels, but an 'action' as a verb in the making. She is an NCARB registered and licensed Architect in the United States & Canada, certified with the US Green Building Council, and a member of the American Institute of Architects and other professional affiliations. A graduate of Carleton University in Ottawa, Canada, with a professional degree in Architecture with High Distinction, with focus in Sacred Architecture and sustainability; and a recipient of the Ontario Association of Architects Medal. She has a Masters from the Indiana University Lilly School of Philanthropy (2019). She is a published Islamic artist; an owner of an architecture consultancy called, AYN Architect Studio advancing sustainability and green building and her Art; she has been adjunct faculty in the area of green building at Indiana-Purdue University; an author of the book, Ode to my Architect G_d: verse and sound of an Islamic art; and a founder of a non-profit organization, The Pen and Inkpot Foundation or Pi Foundation. She has worked on various sustainable design projects as a library for the Lost Boys of Panyijiar, Sudan and various visions for sustainable design locally and internationally. Presently, she is the architect for the Wayne State University Cass Ave Mosque and Center Renovation, in Detroit, Michigan and other community's. She has been featured and interviewed by PBS/WFYI Indianapolis locally and nationally and selected for various interfaith exhibits as the WomanMAde Gallery in Chciago, ISNA, Waldren Gallery at IU in Bloomington and various interviews as 'Muslim Voice's, the 'Baltimore Examiner' and 'Azizah'. Presently, one of her works is featured on the online Art exhibit of IMOW of International Art and voices of Muslim Women for the International Museum of Women. Last year she completed a solo Islamic Art Exhibit at the Fort Wayne Museum of Art, recently the Canton Museum of Art in Ohio and presently an art exhibit at Art Link Gallery in Fort Wayne, Indiana. She was recently nominated for the 2013 Artie Award, in the category, 'Outstanding artist of the year', by the Fort Wayne Museum of Art. She exhibits and
speak on her essays rooted as a Muslim woman at various universities
and serves as an Architectural guest critic on Green and sustainability in Architecture, and Islamic
Architecture and Art. She has served as a judge for the Scholastic Arts
Competition for the Fort Wayne Museum of Art. Her spiritual Art has
been selected for group and solo exhibits and publications all over the
USA. One of her Art pieces is
published by the Author who uses Art as a dialogue in
Muslim-Christian relations called Reclaiming Beauty for the Good of the
World: Muslim & Christian Creativity as Moral Force; and the
Islamic Writers Alliance (www.islamicwritersalliance.net/) cover design of their fiction stories
Antholog. Her art primarily used by non-profit organizations to
raise funds for charitable projects. She has presented an Abstract of her green architectural work at ISNA; spoken on her variegated work
and exhibited her Art at various events and has been selected for
Some Exhibits: The Woman Made gallery’s HER MARK and its
9th International Juried Exhibit in Chicago; City Wide Open Studios in New
Haven Connecticut; Blank Canvas-Indus Women’s Art Exhibit in Chicago; ISNA's art exhibit; IMAN (Inner City MuslimAction Network);
Flat file gallery for Endless Eye Production for the film ‘A Message
from the East’, the 4th Presbyterian Church, Michigan Avenue interfaith Art exhibit in Chicago; the MSA at Auburn University, the Unitarian Universalist Congregation Solo Exhibit.
*other Web Sites and Social Media:
-Architecture: www.aynarchitect.com; facebook.com/AYNArchitect
-Charity: www.pifdn.org; facebook.com/pifdn
The end is the beginning...
Italicized words are Arabic