My 2nd year MA project is a “reflection” of my personal life journey. While I continued to link and reflect myself in both the spiritual and phenomenal worlds, my “ego” slowly diminished throughout the whole artmaking process and these paintings transformed from my personal experience into a story to be shared by all.
I have been battling an eating disorder for over a decade, and I decided last year to embark on a journey to recovery, which has been a relentless trial for me physically and mentally. I decided to record this life journey as my MA degree work. All pieces were inspired by the traditional Persian miniature painting techniques, with natural pigments ground from various minerals and plants as well as shell gold, platinum and silver, painted on self-tinted, burnished and sized papers.
The six major pieces narrate my recovery journey, which consists of the concepts of “embarcation”, “conversation”, “suffering”, “voyage”, “self-compassion” and “self-love”.
The first piece, Gate--the opening of an islimi-decorated gate--is a symbol of a new start. Behind the gate is the unknown – yet it beams with hope. The garden in front of the gate is full of vitality which symbolises possibilities and thriving.
The second piece, Conversation, depicts a dialogue between my inner voices. The purplish and mysterious mountains are symbols of the depth and knowledge of the spiritual world.
In the third piece, Suffering, the flames from the ashes express the pain and suffering from the whole recovery process, both mentally and physically. The halo symbolises self-commitment and faith that protect me from the raging flames.
The fourth piece, Voyage, is a dynamic piece that displays the challenging and recursive process of recovery. The floating castle is a treasure trove in the sky. The horse is my companion along this journey, while the phoenix evokes rebirth.
The fifth piece, Self-compassion, shows that an act of compassion to our own soul leads to inner peace. The still pond is reminiscent of tranquillity and the nearly symmetrical trees embody harmony.
The sixth piece, Self-love Wonders, illustrates a fantastic inner world that is revealed after reaching the state of Self-love and the discovery of Self-worth.
“Non-being is a mirror, the world an image, and man is the eye of the image, in which the person is hidden.” - Mahmud Shabistari
“Beauty never perishes, it is eternal, and it is represented for moments in the world… Beauty is shining strongly or darkly through all objects” - Robert Abdul-Hayy Darr
The practice of painting in the ancient tradition is a process of diminishing the ego. Miniature paintings ignore perspective as they are depicting an imaginal world, not a human world. As an artist, I am being commissioned to hold a mirror that reflects pure light and eternal beauty from the divine world.
Amal Lin (née Ho-Hsuan Huang) is a fine artist based in Canada. Her works are inspired by Persian miniature art and Islamic manuscript illumination art. Her art is an ongoing exploration of harmony and balance between the divine and human nature.