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Art for a Cause This Ramadan

99 names of Allah

Ninety nine artisan women from Chitral in Pakistan have participated in the making of the textile artwork entitled ’99 names of Allah’ which measures almost 2 metres in width. Each woman was allocated one name. Their task was to research and interpret the name they had and what it meant to each of them, often seeking help by speaking with neighbours, family members and even the local mullah (mosque leaders).

The concept of ’99 names of Allah’ derives from the actual ninety nine names for Allah as inscribed in the Quran: the wise, the bountiful, the merciful and so on. The script is written in Urdu and each button has one word embroidered on it, thus forming a sentence explaining the meaning; what the women understand by the meanings is very poignant and it is this that makes ’99 names of Allah’ such a unique piece of art.

There are 3,200 buttons and each are individually stitched onto a plain, cream calico fabric. Each button is bone-coloured with a fire-engine red script and the art work weighs approximately 15 kilos in its entirety.On the back of the artwork is a screen print of the 99 names of Allah in Arabic and the translation of the women’s interpretation into English. One will also find the names of each woman who contributed to the making of this special piece.

The ’99 names of Allah’ is one of the three limited edition Urdu embroidered calligraphy art works, and each piece has a different colour combination. The artisans collectively decided to put some of the finances gained from ’99 names of Allah’ into the community fund that has been established in Chitral, which in turn will help subsidise the education for the children living there.

Showcase Gallery will exclusively display ’99 names of Allah’ throughout the holy month of Ramadan in August.

Open: Saturday – Thursday (9am – 6pm)
Tel: + 971 4 348 8797
Villa 679 Jumeirah Beach Road, across from Dubai Municipality Building, near Al Manara Street Junction.

Points of interest:

1. The embroidery payment is also one of the few opportunities for the women to work in this valley – most of the women live under ‘purdah’, which means that they cannot leave their neighbourhoods to work. The embroidery allows them to do flexible work in their homes and neighbourhoods, thus maintaining their culture, dignity, and many roles as mothers, daughters-in-law, wives.

2. Thirty per cent of the profits (30%) – so after everything else has been paid for – goes into the community fund. The community fund will be used to provide opportunities for education scholarships and seed money to start businesses. The fund has been established with a selection/disbursion mechanism.

3. ’99 names of Allah’ is one of a limited edition of 3 pieces and is for sale for 40,000 AED.

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