BYU-Idaho has a new exhibit on Sufi art. Sufism is known as the mystical dimension of Islam, but it’s often called the “art of love.”
Syed Salman Chisty is a visiting artist from Ajmer, India. His photography from travels all over the world is on display at the Sufism exhibit at the Spori Gallery on the BYU campus.
Salman Chisty said his work is a way to share the human experience with people of all faiths.
“The essence of the teachings of all the Sufis of different order, especially in India, is to serve and love everybody,” said Salman Chisty.
His photography often captures celebration, dance and prayer. He sees art as a universal language.
“When I was in Kazakhstan or Kyrgystan, they couldn’t seak English and I couldn’t speak their local language, so the best form of sharing was with visual art, visual interpretation,” said Salman Chisty.
The Sufi art merges Islam with other cultures, like intricate calligraphy verses of the Quran made from Indian vegetable dyes that give vivid color to the Arabic script.
A professor of history at BYU, David Peck, said most images we see from Islam are associated with violence or political aggression. Peck said this exhibit is a healthy way to connect the Western world and the Islamic world.
“This is a very loving, non-political aspect of Islamic religion which I believe is important for the West to come to understand. We invite everyone to take in and enjoy the beautiful expressions of love of God and love of fellow man through Sufi mystical art,” said Peck.
The Sufism exhibit runs through March 7. The gallery is on the first floor of the Spori building at the BYU campus.