Emirati artist, Jaber Alhaddad. Jaberology is focused on the aesthetics well as the values and the history of Islamic Art. We talk to Jaber about the philosophy behind Jaberology, finding a connection with mandalas and teaching as a tool for creative development.
How did you develop an interest in Islamic art and geometry? Did you always want to be an artist?
Since I was a child I was very interested in doodling and drawing. When I grew up, I started to build an interest for the geometric shapes and abstract art, which lead to the Islamic geometry and the discovering Islamic art. The Islamic geometry is an ultimate form of art in terms of geometric shapes and abstract, thus I mentioned "discovering Islamic Art" earlier which was perfect match for me.
For me being an artist is not an option, it was fate. I didn’t dream about it as a child, but I knew that it will be an option for me in the future, but I didn’t know how, and I am still in
search for the answer.
Can you tell us about the name Jaberology?
It started when I was trying to choose a unique and mysterious name for my Instagram. I want to have a name linked to me as a person, as well raise many questions that makes the audience want to know more about the content of this account and the person behind it. Later on, it was linked to my journey in discovering Islamic art, and how it affected me as a person and as an artist.
How has your heritage influenced your creative practice?
It is one of my source of inspiration. Honestly, looking back to the history of the Islamic art and how our ancestors reached the peak of this art without having the technical aids that we have today makes me wonder how advanced and talented they were, and how special and modern this form of art is. Being Influenced by the heritage for me is more of trying to apply the same methods which were so advanced back then to create new artworks that not only based on the traditional rules, but also can be applied using new technologies but this idea still in initiation phase.
How did you train to become an artist specializing in these traditional artforms? First I started by referring to the books available about this topic, although many of them were not accurate. I tried to have different sources of knowledge. I also started to learn through the community of the Islamic art in the social media. I always prefer to have an analytical approach in learning rather than a copy of the sources, thus, I used to spend a lot of time trying to build this skill. Recently, I had the opportunity to take a year-long training from Mamluk Art House in Egypt, which i belive accelerated my learning process of Islamic Art.
As part of your work you draw geometric mandalas – how did you develop an interest in mandalas?
Geometric mandala started long time ago, more than 15 years back. It started with my obsession with geometric shapes, which I was linking with the mandala form. Back then I didn’t know that there is an art form called mandala. Later when I started sharing this art in Instagram, I found that the term "geometric mandala" is called to this art form.
Where do you find inspiration to create your works? Recently, I wrote a blog in my website about this topic. In summary, I get my inspiration from everything around me. I have a habit of searching for patterns and interesting shapes in everything around me. I find that these shapes and patterns allow me to have a unique artwork. Many times, the final artwork doesn’t look like the source of inspiration itself, but that source of inspiration will ignite the spark of creativity to create new artworks.
What are your aspirations as an artist, what do you hope to achieve? My main objective when I discovered the Islamic art is to increase the awareness about this art. I am working on integrating this "traditional" art form with new technologies, because I do believe that the Islamic geometry is not an old art. It is based on geometry and math, and it is dynamic. Applying the same rules used back then can allow us to create new designs.
You also teach Islamic art and geometry, how and why did you embark on a journey teaching the traditional artform too? Teaching help me to accelerate my learning journey. With teaching I am also learning becuse i have to do alot of reasearch and rehearsals before I conduct any workshop. I believe it is my duty to share this knowledge and inspire others to pay attention to this beautiful and unique art.