Merveille

“Merveilles” 24×18 acrylic on canvas © 2020 Aïda Touré

“Die before you die” ~Prophet Muhammad (pbuh)

“Merveille” is part of the series “Exalted”. This painting depicts the embrace of pure peace, warmth and abundance that submerses the soul… We can become aware of it through ego dissolution, love and meditation.

~ Merveille (Marvel) ~

Oscillating in and out of myself,
I end up awakening
to your shimmering presence~
Jewels just drop off of you,
wo! I lose the sense of definition
between your hands and mine~
Merveille! Merveille! Merveille!
I wonder why I ever thought
you were so far whereas
you’re closer to me than “I”…

© 2020 Aïda Touré

Omnipresence

Omnipresence 24″x18″ © 2020 Aida Toure

“Wherever you turn, you are always in the presence of God.” ~2:115 Qur’an

Description: “Omnipresence” is part of the series “E x a l t e d”. This painting is about the solace that can surge during difficulties when we remember that the Divine Presence surrounds us, unconditionally~

~ Omnipresence ~

With every breath,
fashion me as you will!
Your command is Music:
Come to me!” you whisper
and I fall from my curves,
laying there between the spheres
as light deploys its circular wings,
the sun and the moon appear
simultaneously to bear witness
that Unity is all there is~
We all are taken care of
in ways we cannot fathom.
Soul full of bliss,
I revolve around you…

© 2020 Aïda Touré

The Persecuted Widow

Allah! You be the witness that I consider any violation of the rights of orphan and woman as an enormity entailing serious consequences!”
~ Prophet Muhammad (saw)

Description: this painting denounces the mistreatment of grieving widows and children. Unfortunately this practice is rampant in many African countries. Ill-intended relatives and in-laws seem to rejoice when the head of the household passes away because for them it represents an opportunity to not only prey upon the deceased man’s children and wife but also to scheme in order to embezzle whatever property the deceased owned and to steal the money the community donated for the deceased man’s children. Often times these oppressed children and widows end up being homeless and destitute as a result of the persecution they endure at the hands of relatives. Working on this painting and going through its intensity was a profound experience for me because even though it depicts the harm ill-intended family members inflict upon helpless widows and orphans, it more so shows the triumph of Divine Mercy, Love and Justice. The Persecuted Widow poem can be read below.

~ The Persecuted Widow ~

The Beloved : “O My servant, return to Me!”
Lo! A father’s soul gently slips out of his body.
Ill-intended family members immediately prey
upon the departed soul’s widow and orphans,
violating their rights; it is but a plot
to destitute them.
Woe to the ones who covet
the spiritual and material inheritance
a late father leaves to his children.
You see, Light exposes all obscure intent
aimed at the helpless as such deliberate
oppression reaches the unseen worlds,
it unleashes forces to establish Justice.
In death, there is Life magnified as Love itself.
Remember the best of the Creation (saw) when he said:
” O Allah (swt), You be the Witness that I consider
any violation of the rights of orphan and woman
as an enormity entailing serious consequences!”
No authentic tradition on Earth advocates
the victimization of the vulnerable
Divine Mercy governs the Universe;
The Beloved is the Light of the Heavens and the Earth.

© 2007 Aida Toure.

Lotus of the Limit © 2008 Aida Toure

Description: 22″x28″ acrylic on canvas. In the Islamic tradition, The Lotus of The Limit is a gigantic celestial Tree that represents the point beyond which no one passes but the beloved (saw) of The Divine. This painting was inspired from a reality that is beyond the seven heavens and which was experienced by Prophet Muhammad (saw) during his nocturnal Miraj’ or Ascension. The poem that offered this painting was Sidrat Al Muntaha, The Lotus of The Limit.

~ Sidrat-al-Muntaha: Lotus of The Limit ~

Everywhere I look
it circles and circles!
My heart curves

to the calligraphy
of your Love.
Muted by Sound

and shapelessness,
ego falls off itself
and bows with joy,

all of being now
surrendered as if the letters
printed of the Scriptures.

Each page, an immaculate cloak
around the gentle soul
who whirls to the tone

of the Return.
Bewildered by the Book
of the Universe,

your inner being leaps
from worlds to worlds
wild yet wise, it reads Nature

Jesus (as) appears upon the Word
Moses (as) nearby
and Muhammad (saw) passes

the Lotus of the Limit
to unite with the Light
that made him.

There is some universal prayer
which the prophets (as) lead,
all in unity; lo! Sura Al Kahf

strolls by the eye
and right then Aida’s
brush dries out!

2007 copyrights Aida Toure.

Emerald Verses

Description: “Emerald Verses” was inspired from this poem. Working on it felt like an unending calligraphic promenade that relates of our collective journeying from and toward The Creator of the Worlds.

Love is the fragrance that invites mankind to The Divine One’s apostles (as), their Revelations awaken us to the Way all human souls innately know.

~ Emerald Verses ~

Illuminated is the Heart
that chants the glories

of The Sublime’s throne.
Blessed be the soul

who embraces Injil
through the Holy Qur’an

like earth embraces truths
through the galaxies’ currents.

The Word commands “read!”
Lo! The inner eye opens:

Djibril (as) on his emerald seat,
Jesus (as) walking upon the sea,

Noah (as) gathers the light of humanity
and prophet Muhammad (saw)

crowns the collective being
with the altitudes of humility.

You see, Love is this gentleness
that governs the Muslim Universe,

while the moon transcribes to us:
“… unto Him is the journeying!”

© 2007 Aida Toure

Description: 18″x14″ acrylic on canvas panel. This painting celebrates the lovers’ aspirations to follow the prophets (as) in their unity. The center of the piece here represents the inner/outer Kabba/Center where the prophets (as) of The Divine converged, leaving their luminous footprints for us to trace and follow with grace and love. “The Prophets Footprints” started from this poem.

 

~ The Prophets’ Footprints ~

Look at what you started!
Love has knocked again…
A kiss on your hand’s scent
and the soul collapses, every time
with the wish to no longer be.

Who will attenuate this tender
teasing that only you can do?
You drop red gold nuggets
on the believers’ prayer mat,
Love nurses their fragments

and the royally wretched
ego walks out but to follow
the prophets (as) footprints.
We delight in not-being
and in laying at your feet,

alternately.
There is the flirtation
we wanted: continuous,
lingering long enough
to silence the bells

of grief, of temporality.
Your kindness has left
our shy hearts confounded
wondering how we are
worthy of all this Mercy.

2007 copyrights Aida Toure.

Sama

(SOLD)

Description: “Sama” is encompassed by the notion of Sound that propels the soul toward The Beloved. This piece represents the innermost fulfillment of Longing, it also demonstrates the cosmic whirling we all participate to, consciously or not, it is in our nature to revolve. One of the most beautiful visions of Surrender is the whirling dervishes who are mirrors of the spheres and divine praising. The poem that conveyed “Sama” visuals can be found here.

~ Sama ~

Chords, loves and signs
there is some sound
in the soul’s eye

silent yet loud
blue tambourines then
floating red harps now;

all as one, circularly
enchanted as the globes’ Zikr
our prophets (as) repeated.

Hands and lips smacked
by Tenderness itself,
we play invisible violins

and cosmic Neys
by the lovers’ ear
and lo! they sob of all

their emotions’ grace,
following the course
of longing and depth,

they shed themselves
to wear the subtle Cloth;
cloaked in its glow,

they dance and chant
in the language Djibril (as)
taught the saints (as).

© 2007 Aida Toure.

Hidden Treasure

Description: 20″x24″ acrylic on canvas. This painting was inspired from a divine Islamic tradition that always lingers with me: “I was a Hidden Treasure and I longed to be known therefore I created the spheres so that I may be know.” (Hadith Qudsi). This piece’s creative process took me in so many directions, it seemed to bewilder me every time I picked up the brush… I must say with all the surprise dances it stirred, this painting taught me much about the different stations of Islam/Surrender.

~ Hidden Treasure ~

Bismillah,
Eye in eye,
intermingling loud
and clear with the Key
you exist in,
your being is a cry for
the excellence of Sound;
you long to harmonize
with the divine praises
chanted by the Night,
you seek the Love of Love,
the lover’s heart knows
it’s not the form
but its songs’ Song
that it wants,
its constant flirtation
with Suras so that
eventually, it becomes
particles of such scent
just like the prophet (as)
was the Qur’an itself.

A pause,
a tear,
then:

“Allah (swt) is The Light
of the unseen and the seen,
the Light of Isa (as)
and Muhammad (as),
the Light of the worlds
unfurling on the prayer
mat of gravity.
Allah (swt) is the Unmanifest
of the manifest, Nature praises Him
in ways we may ignore
yet He is The Beloved all
prophets (as) spoke of,
The globes’ Sustainer,
The tender force that enrobes us
The Healer of grieving hearts,
The Hidden Treasure
The Hidden Treasure
The Hidden Treasure…”

© 2006 Aida Toure.

Soninké Symphony

Description: 28″x22″ acrylic on canvas. This painting is a celebration of my Soninké roots. The poem Soninké Symphony inspired the piece; transcribing its verses upon canvas was an awesome experience filled with pleasant sounds and scents. The colors selected are intimately linked to Kayes, my beloved father’s birthplace.

~ Soninké Symphony ~

Bewildered by the beauties
scattered on the spheres
I lost speech for weeks,

lips sealed by Sound itself,
I dissolved on the curves
of Love, abandoned in Sajdah

as if the quiet lovers gathered
in those dancy lines,
soul wrapped around the other

they lay on each verse,
beds for my tired eye.
Now colors are slipping through:

“We do this in the name of Hu,
all as one revolving like stars do
when the heart recites Suras.

We unfold with Kalima,
notice all saints evolve
upon their prayermats,

so they revolve with the skies,
existence screaming with grace;
no one we know could help it!

We are wild canals for Ruh,
intertwined in tenderness
to shower you with the

divine sense again.
We are the music between
the pages of the Glorious Qur’an,

we are the scent on Joseph’s (as) shirt
we wander your chest to reintroduce you
to The Rabb of the worlds.”

At this melodious mercy,
the ego sobbs, reclines
and suddenly longs for prostration!

2007 copyrights Aida Toure.

Al Khidr, the Green One

Description: 10″x10″ acrylic on canvas panel. This painting was created from the poem below entitled “Al Khidr, the Green One” which I think is the best explanation for the piece. In the Islamic tradition, Al Khidr (as) is an invisible messenger who imparts sublime Knowledge (by the Will of The Divine), he is the manifestation by excellence of Wisdom. Al Khidr (as) appeared to prophet Moses (as) for this purpose. The intent in painting this piece was to encourage those who think themselves isolated, without any teacher or presence to help them on the Way.

~ Al Khidr, the Green One ~

In our obscurity you are
wearing your tone,

subtle yet vibrant,
a teacher to the soul,

you walked in
Ibn Arabi’s chest

and lo! he spoke
of mysteries and secrets;

the unknown variations
that gentle souls befriend.

You blow within the flute
each believer becomes

when you flood
their hearts with

melodies from the Throne,
wandering by the edge

of the universal state,
you guard the pure

and then you initiate,
defying the visible

and the conform way,
you impart Knowledge.

You are the master
that leads the way

of earthly masters
and you whirl of

all your leaflike color
in cyclones of peace

and tenderness,
you awakened Moses (as);

rewarded and comforted
but when there was silence,

speechless yet you speak
colorful yet Green,

you exist unseen
to flirt with the hearts

that sob in entreaty
of Allah (swt) Most High,

you are the scented tambourine,
the revolving beads within,

the inner planets in orbit,
the hidden one shy poets

insanely run to in order to flirt
with your sumptuous,

fresh, continuous wilderness.
And you lay on the lips

of the sages with secrets
kept throughout the ages,

transcending religious
institutions and hierarchy!

O Al Khidr, the saints’
Cheikh no physical eye sees,

knock on this pulse’s door
and strike it with the sword

of Love until all forms
dissolve into The Humiliator.

© 2007  Aida Toure