Imagining Islamic Aesthetics #45 – Islamic Stars in our Daily Life

This article is just a casual look into Geometric shapes, particularly Islamic stars and motifs, and its role in the daily life as aesthetics. These pics were all taken by me, in the time frame of  between Ramadan and the early weeks of Shawal and the Eid.(Although I have to considerably resize all the photos to a fraction of the original size just because WordPress doesn’t allow a 12mp picture to be posted. My bad.)

A biscuit I was munching on after Iftaar (breaking the fast). Actually it was two biscuits sandwiching a lump of coarse, sticky pineapple jam, the other one with the lump of jam was already in its way to the digestive system of my body. A little close inspection and you would realize that the shape resembles a 12-pointed star. Get me another bunch of these and I will make you an edible wall covering.

A fabric on sale in a Mall here in Brunei. It was intended for making a women’s dress. I was just passing by the stall that is selling it with my parents and I immediately stopped and thought, Zellige! So I stayed a few minutes since my mum was also looking at something else. I thought, I should post this on my blog. The colours, though in my opinion a little bit somber, but the splash of orange was a nice touch and gives it a modern look. Just saying.

A small key-chain bag I bought as a souvenir when I was in Bali, Indonesia.  It is a small bag suitable for keys and loose change chained to a key ring and wrapped in Batik fabric. I took it because it looks nice and the colours are good enough for a guy like me to tote around and wait…isn’t that the ubiquitous Eight-pointed stars and cross pattern so much loved in the world of Islamic art? I guess people tend to notice the snowflakes design before the geometric pattern.

I had a rather crazy idea of making lamp shades when I saw a few modern light pieces with Islamic design influence online. This one is an utter failure, but it still casts pretty shadows off my walls in the night. I replaced the IKEA lampshade with my own creation made using perforated with star designs construction paper (!) laminated with plastic. I need to concentrate and take it slow, because this was made in just a day!

In Brunei, Malaysia and Singapore (not sure about the Indonesians), During Eid or Hari Raya Aidilfitri in Malay kids were given green (or in this case yellow, since these days it comes in a myriad of colours already) packets filled with money called Angpow/Angpao– a tradition taken from the Chinese where they would give children and unmarried girls and boys red Angpao during the Chinese New Year. I received these when I was a child and stopped around my early teenage years (my nephew who is 14 this year still received it, no fair!). this is the pack I was going to give to my nephews and nieces and I noticed the beautiful panel of Arabesques and Islamic geometric star.

All that is done, I would like to convey a deep sympathy for the family of two girls who died in a freak accident ; a tragic incident here that causes a wide stir among the Bruneian population. Just a few days ago an unfortunate accident happened in the Primary School in Mabohai, Brunei where two preschoolers died  when a teacher of the school reversed her car and ran onto the children. I don’t have any ideas about how  the unfortunate mishap happened other than this, and since the local news were also unreliable, it is only safe to say that only the poor victims knew what really happened. I would like to say deep condolences to the families affected…May Allah guide their souls.


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