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Our Earth Artist Statement

 April 2021

Salma Arastu "Our Earth: Embracing All Communities"

My project, Our Earth: Embracing All Communities, is inspired by a verse from the Quran-“There is not an animal in the earth, nor a flying creature flying on two wings, but they are communities like you” (Al-Anaam 6:38). Understanding this verse serves as a Divine invitation to follow the concerns of ecologists in our present times. We have been informed and warned again and again that we must honor and preserve and not abuse Nature. According to Dr. Fred Denny, “The verse presents a paradigm of interconnectedness. Communities necessarily interact with one another, and we are enjoined by the Qur’an to view the animal world not merely as parallels to us and organized into communities but signals interconnectedness between their existence and well-being and our own. As no community on earth exists in isolation of others and what affects one community ultimately affects other communities.”

 Ecological living is about protecting and preserving the environment of planet Earth, through recognizing the uniqueness of its various eco-systems and species. Every individual habitat supports all manner of life.  Awakening of a wider ecological consciousness requires the acknowledgement and celebration of our reciprocal relationship with the rest of the living world. For only we can hear the language of other beings as we can understand the generosity of the earth and learning to give our own gifts in return.

Earth was given as a gift for humanity and the human being was created and established on this earth as vicegerent. My heart pains to see that earth has become a commodity, land or real estate, or capital of natural resources, in today’s material world. What we are witnessing in our world is the failure of humanity to maintain the balance. The Quran declares: "Corruption has appeared on the land and in the sea because of what the hands of humans have earned” (Ar-Room 30:41).  Having created us, and then through the institution of religion oriented us towards Him, our Creator then situated us in a delicate, intricate system where our success, and indeed the perpetuation of that system, rests in maintaining a balance between all things.

The paintings in this exhibition are inspired from the verses of Quran. It is my humble effort to amplify awareness of the imbalance that humans have created in nature, and to encourage people to care for the Earth and live-in harmony with other living things. And ultimately to reinforce the scientific concept of the ‘chain of life’ the concept that each species depends on another and connection between nature and humanity will bring joy forever.