Since ancient times, geometric perfection (circle, square, and triangle) has been thought to convey sacred and secular truths by reflecting the fractal interconnections of the natural world. The artists in Geometric Aljamía: a Cultural Transliteration explore geometry as a fundamental aspect of art and as a way to communicate universal ideas across cultures. Aljamía is a medieval Spanish word that refers to Romance languages written in Arabic script. This transliteration contributed to the dissemination of the Arabic language and Islamic influences throughout the Iberian Peninsula and beyond. By understanding the arts as a transliteration of one form of thinking to another and addressing the fundamental patterns embedded in visual art, Geometric Aljamía revisits the ongoing impact of Islamic art, science, and philosophy throughout the world today.
The papercut installations of Gower and two of the Afghan artists use sacred geometry to blend subtle imperfection with structured repetition. Townsend is inspired by Koran Illumination Tehzip patterns in the Ottoman style for her wall tracings and papercut while another Afghan artist draws upon the Behzad School of Illumination for their calligraphic wall tracing and papercut. Benitez uses linear perspective as a metaphor for Western Civilization. Their shared artistic and intellectual interests speak to the larger hybrid relationship that the West shares with the Middle East, and especially with the Golden Age of Islamic Civilization.
Due to the uncertain times unfolding in Afghanistan, the Museum of Art has been asked by the curator of the exhibition to block all mention of the Afghan artists featured in this exhibition for their ongoing safety, as they are fearful these artists will be targeted by the Taliban.