UAE | General

Emirati artist embodies Ramadan spirit in sculpture

Moon Reflection by Bin Lahej on display at Dubai Mall

  • By Mary Achkhanian, Special to Gulf News
  • Published: 21:00 July 26, 2013
  • Gulf News

  • Image Credit: Ahmed Ramzan/Gulf News
  • ‘Moon Reflection’ by Artist Mattar Bin Lahej displayed at Dubai Mall, Dubai.

Dubai: An Emirati artist has embodied the spirit of Ramadan through a unique collection of sculptures using the idea of the different phases of the moon.

Known for his talent in painting, sculpturing, and photography, Mattar Bin Lahej was commissioned this year to create an art piece associated with Ramadan, to be placed at The Dubai Mall for everyone to see.

Following the brief, he created “Moon Reflection,” an artwork made of pure stainless steel with about 1,200 Arabic letters showing the different phases of the moon during its monthly cycle.

It is embellished with Arabic calligraphy of Surat Al Ikhlas, a chapter of the Quran, used over 10 times in the masterpiece.

Speaking to Gulf News, Bin Lahej talked about the idea behind the movement he tried to create in the art piece and the meaning behind having the different phases.

“I would describe this piece as an explosion of art calligraphy. I wanted to do something very unique and that would amaze people by them just seeing it from far away. I always try my best to come up with ideas that have a specific meaning and could create a reaction by the viewer,” Bin Lahej said.

“The idea behind the ‘Moon Reflection’ can be linked to a typical Muslim’s life during Ramadan. The circles emphasise the moon and the letters inside indicate what a person does during Ramadan. In Ramadan, people always try to clear themselves from any sins by reading the Quran and so the different phases of the moon – changing shape from small to big then back small again – indicate that [spiritual] movement,” he added.

Bin Lahej also pointed out that the reason he made the first phases of the moon in silver and bronze and the last phase in gold is because “gold is the achievement or reward from God and it also marks the end of Ramadan and the beginning of Eid.”

The artist has become well-known locally and internationally for creating sculpture masterpieces using metal and also for doing several artistic paintings.

”I never let anything come in my way. I worked on my self by always trusting my skills, and by the time art began gaining attention in the UAE, there was a big explosion in my life as an artist. I started to know what type of art work I want to work on” he said.

Bin Lahej has his own gallery, Marsam Mattar, that provides art services and nurtures young talents through his annual kids’ summer camps.

“Art is about getting people integrated and not reaching out only to specific people. My target is to reach everyone and I like my work to speak for itself.”

Gulf News