The words of the Holy Qur’an have inspired a great many calligraphers to create masterpieces of Qur’anic manuscripts that are now part of important art collections throughout the world. They are of great historical and aesthetic importance and no doubt, a spiritual uplift for the whole of humanity.
The Qur’an played a central role in the development and evolution of Arabic script. As a visual artist from the West, I became fascinated with the Arab world, with its rich culture and history, most importantly with its refined written language, reflecting its many layers of depth and sensitivity that resonates with my appreciation of the world. It is said that language is the quintessence of what it is that makes us humans, language being humanity’s unique achievement. Arabic writing of the sacred text of the Qur’an, divinely inspired with its words, is a true reverence to life.
As a strong believer in Islam’s message of peace, I traveled with my camera throughout the Middle East to capture, through my art, the essence of this message in different cultures as well as at different stages of history. Hence the images that I created enlighten different stages of Islam in its diversity, as well as its universality, which gave birth to the series Al-Kalimah . The series is comprised of more than 20 images on canvas (large formats) from Turkey, Jordan, Palestine, Egypt, Syria and the Alhambra in Spain, over which verses of the Qur’an from ancient manuscripts were superimposed, creating a great visual impact with universal messages of peace. I took pictures of ancient manuscripts in the library of McGill University.
As an artist and a humanist, my field of interest is about international relations and rapprochement between cultures and nations of the world, more specifically between the Western, the Arab and the Muslim worlds. Islam being the second-largest religion of the world, my interest in the Islamic religious tradition has been the inspiration of my artwork for, in my view, it is clearly a symbol of unity and universality in a very diverse world.
The artistic technique I created involves combining two different media – photography and painting – to produce new, unique works of art that can be best described as pintographs.
Pintography consists in photographing people, objects or landscapes in black and white images that are tinted with pigments that I create, enlarged and reproduced on canvas. Finally, the photographs on canvas are painted over in acrylic or oil paint. This process combines the timelessness and classicism of black and white photography with the modern medium of acrylic, to create images that ask us to review our existing views of the world and to challenge the current boundaries between the artistic categories of photography and painting. Pintography produces works of great visual and emotional impact.
About the Artist: Marlene-Luce Tremblay is a photographer-artist who, as a result of extensive travels throughout the Middle East, was able to offer an artistic “archaeology” of the Arab world while carefully uncovering the multi-layered history and culture of great civilizations. Her artistic project is driven by a desire to bridge the seemingly expanding gap between the Western and the Arab worlds. The goal of her artistic project is to act as a set of symbolic resources for she strongly believes that art can contribute to a cultural rapprochement between East and West.
She began this journey with explorations of Egypt and exhibited works both in Montreal and in Cairo, to celebrate the 50th anniversary of diplomatic relations between Canada and Egypt. Throughout her career, Tremblay exhibited in Montreal and Cairo, New York, Paris, London, Tunis and in Algiers in 2008. Her work can be found at the Egyptian Foreign Ministry and the Egyptian Tourist Authority in Cairo; the Egyptian Embassy in London and Ottawa; the High Commission of Canada in London; and in private and corporate collections.