Born in Pakistan, raised in the Middle East and having lived and worked in North America and Europe throughout her life, Sara Mir @Sacrylicco is an Islamic artist with a mystic soul who believes that everything in creation is interconnected and a sign of Divinity, everyone ever created reflects His Divine Attributes to varying degrees and we are all equally beloved creations of The Most Merciful One, with a shared humanity.
We talk to Sara about sacred geometry and reflecting on art as a form of worship.
When did you first start practicing as an artist?
I’ve always been drawn to create since I was a child, “Sacrylicco” came into existence in October 2019, when the noise of thoughts, concepts, words (both Scripture and literature), images of art that were swirling within my mind surged and became such that I needed to get them out on canvas. The name “Sacrylicco” itself was a play on the words “Sacred Acrylic Contemplations” because the initial works of art were all created with acrylic medium and as it still stands today, are deeply inspired by my faith, Islam.
Your works are inspired by Islamic geometry. What made you develop an interest in these artistic traditions?
Having had a somewhat nomadic upbringing and life, I’ve had the honour to live and experience various cultures (especially in the Middle East) and was exposed to Islamic Geometry in and around my day-to-day life so I can’t pinpoint one specific pattern I saw but rather can share a particular moment.
As a child when our family went for Umrah and when I first laid eyes upon the holy Ka’aba with worshippers circumambulating around it on the marbled floor, experiencing that moment, and even with a child’s heart and mind, feeling wonder and recognizing the majesty and awe of the sacred space I was within, that feeling is what I aspire to achieve when I create — to make something that reflects even an iota of the deep reverence I feel for Allah swt, Al-Khaliq, He who created everything in existence within the Universe
How did you train to become an artist specializing in these traditional artforms?
When I began creating, the sheer will and drive to create the concepts in my mind and the actual level of artistic skill were on polar ends and so for the most part, I am self-taught through consistently trying and gloriously failing until I am able to achieve even a semblance of what I “see” in my mind’s eye for a particular artwork.
I am also incredibly grateful to the teachers of the virtual classes offered by the Art of Islamic Patterns and The Prince’s Foundation School of Traditional Arts which allow me to build upon my skills and offer a deeper understanding and appreciation of the artistic traditions.
What is your creative process like and what tools do you use?
Initially my creations were limited to acrylic paints and gold leaf, but as I brought more and more concepts to canvas, with no learnt limits as to what “should” or “shouldn’t” be traditionally done, I began experimenting with other mediums, not only watercolours and gouache but also mirror glass tiles and with an upcoming work of art, diamond dust.
Perhaps it’s due to having an academic background in science/engineering, but I find joy, not just in creating a work of art, but also in the phase of experimenting where just as in life, He has made it so that those who patiently strive without losing hope are the ones who achieve a desired result.
I also consciously practice “taqwa” (being aware of and in awe of God through everything in creation) and so I find inspiration everywhere alhamdulillah, sometimes I see a pattern and within that pattern immediately “see” the work of art I wish to create, and other times, I read something, whether a poem or a scientific fact and that sparks an idea for a work of art. In both cases I am acutely aware that I am simply a vessel and all praise is due to Him who is Al-Hayyu “The Ever-Living”, Al-Qayyum “The Sustainer of All Existence”, Al-Haqq “The Absolute Truth”
Your work has a contemporary aesthetic, how did you create this style?
I never aim for a specific aesthetic while creating, each work of art I create is an amalgamation of homogeneous ideas and concepts from multiple academic disciplines such as the sciences, mathematics, history, poetry, Scripture and I relate them to my observations of life around me, perhaps the thing that allows for the distinction of contemporary is the personal thoughts incorporated with the timeless truths
Your work is incredibly detailed and delicate, how long does it take for you to create a piece?
Each work is unique and depending on the time I am able to commit from the responsibilities of my ‘real life’ dictate the amount of time any given piece takes. Sometimes the drive to create a work of art is so strong, it’s like a ‘junoon’ and I can not do or focus on anything else until it’s created and other times, I recognize that patience is required to add all the hidden layers of meaning and though the drive to create it is as strong, I tend to plan out the steps needed to reach completion
Can you share your favourite work of art you have created so far with us and why is it your favourite? Each work of art I create holds a special place in my heart, particularly because I share my most vulnerable spiritual thoughts and feelings in creating and expressing what I aimed to make. My personal favourite, has to be a tie between the two door artworks I’ve created, the first one for the urgency and madness with which I was compelled to create it into the burst of colours it is, as soon as I saw and learnt the pattern and the other is “Bab-e-Rehma” (The Door of Mercy) as it was the first time I attempted and managed to incorporate the three elements of arabesque, geometry and calligraphy, traditionally found in Islamic art in to one work of art, and that too on delicate indigo Huun paper. It’s a paper created by artisans in the Yucatán Peninsula of Mexico using 3000 years old ancient Mayan paper-making techniques, which for perspectives’ sake, was a time when the Prophets’ Daud (A.S) and Solomon (A.S) walked and lived upon the Earth!
Growing up, which artists inspired you?
Growing up, I can say learning of the Impressionist movement, and particularly the works of Claude Monet evoked a sense of dreamlike romance and wonder of every day life scenes and inspired my initial internalizing of the concept of art as a means to evoke feelings and emotions
What are your aspirations as an artist?
I aspire to create art as a form of worship, to create works of art that not only provide comfort and hope for the seen and unseen challenges we all face in our lives as human beings, but also to make the viewer pause and reflect upon the power and mercy of The Divine One
What do you think the future of Islamic art looks like and how do you think we can continue to keep the tradition alive? I am awestruck when I see the works of art being created by the incredibly talented artists within the Islamic Art community and I try to be the first one to tell as many of them as I can so! The tradition can and will be kept alive through continuing to uplift each other, by appreciating the beauty we see with genuine, kind words and thoughts. We are all human and though a majority create out of their love of the Divine or the process, it is always heartening to know the love, care, time, effort, resources and thoughts placed in to a work resonate with another soul. Thus, I perceive that the way the beautiful artistic tradition of honouring Al-Wadud (“The Most Loving One”) can be kept alive is through each of us reflecting His very Attribute, through Love.
For more information check out @Sacrylicco on Instagram
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