|is for a no-show|
Just like P, there is no V in Arabic! And yet Vega is the name of a star which has come from Arabic roots, go figure!
It’s a contraction of the original Arabic name An Nasr Al Waqi (the Falling/Diving Eagle). When the name was transliterated into Latin maybe couple millennia ago, the W got replaced with a V, because Latin did not possess any W until the Middle Ages. Fun fact, yeah? Okay, now for the serious bit -
Voices – I witnessed some come out of the Arab Spring that year of 2011. Note that the first two are practically unknown, independent bands/artistes creating these powerful protest songs with minimal resources and massive dedication. Both of these bands existed before 2011, but shot to prominence through the Egyptian Revolution, Cairokee particularly so with this number which had more than a million views in a few days after they uploaded it to YouTube. Ana Mawgood (I exist) and Sout al Horreya (The Voice of Freedom) are especial favourites of mine.
The Arab Spring, whatever its merits or flaws, or outcomes, spiked so much creativity in so many ways, it’s given rise to a cultural bonanza – in street art and music and theatre and photography, perhaps in fine arts and literature as well. And it broke the taboo on the arts being used for social and political activism for that period.
Mohammed Mounir is an established artiste of some three decades' solid standing, known as ‘The King’ after his film ‘El Malik Huwa El Malik’ (The King is the King). Here is his Ezzay? (How come?)
And, last but not the least, Vegetal designs – because Islam forbade the depiction of the human form as idolatrous, Arab designers came up with new ways of decorating stuff, a set of motifs culled from preceding cultures and re-purposed to suit Islamic principles, based on flowers and vines and trees. These are called Vegetal designs.
Detail of vegetal design. Nasrid Palace.
14th century. Alhambra, Granada, Spain.
They also developed a highly refined set of designs based on the geometry of the circle. These started off with a central shape and radiated out, and could be repeated infinitely to cover a surface no matter how large. I can tell you there were some serious Maths nerds among the early Arab scholars, and their formidable grasp of the subject must have kept the designing rolling along pretty nicely.
|Vegetal designs at the back entrance of Al Azhar Mosque, |
10th century. Cairo.
These styles of decorations were known as Arabesques, their origins made plain in the term itself, though now the word is largely outdated.
|Antique style gramophone horn with vegetal motifs. Coppersmiths' |
market. 2012. Sharia Muizz. Khan el Khalili. Cairo.
|Vegetal designs around rim of basin. Central fountain (sabil) |
in the Barquq Complex. 14th century. Cairo.
|Detail of design on the inside of an arch. |
Al-Ghuri Mosque. 16th century. Cairo.
|Detail of ceramic tile inset on contemporary |
building facade, combining geometric and
vegetal elements. 2014. Nizwa. Oman.
These motifs remain part of the Arab design portfolio, many contemporary buildings also use them suitably updated. Have you seen any - on buildings, or book covers, coffee mugs, photo frames, where you are?
Posted for the A-Z Challenge 2017