“Spirit can’t be seen with the eyes but can be felt by the heart,” Noor says while walking around a cluster of super-sized paintings displayed at many vantage points in the beautifully designed and recently opened Silicon Central Mall in Dubai Silicon Oasis.
Art Noor is a well-known abstract expressionist painter who has been based in the UAE since 2002. He arrived in Dubai on a scuba diving excursion in Oman and decided to quit his established career in advertising and technology and follow his heart into the uncertain future career of a full-time artist.
Noor’s creative talent and spiritual quest led him to create art that was spiritual, and abstract expressionism became the genre of his choice because he felt it allowed him to express the unseen but felt emotions and deliberations of the divine.
UAE’s art scene was emerging in the early part of the century, and there were not many art galleries that had spaces to showcase large galleries. These circumstances led to Noor exhibiting in public spaces like the World Trade Center, Dubai Mall, and high-profile hotels. He has had more than a dozen solo large-scale exhibitions ever since and has live-painted monumental canvases, enduring the grueling schedule of painting while fasting for many hours a day during the month of Ramadan. The result has been spectacular, and this “spiritualized” collection has been on display at Nakheel Mall, Dubai Festival City Mall, and now the Silicon Central Mall as well.
In 2012, a small book of his paintings was published and given away as a gift to many lucky recipients. Tens of thousands of copies of this book have been reprinted many times ever since and have found their way to many as a Ramadan gift. The last few hundred copies are to be given away during his ‘Salam99’ event at the Silicon Central Mall during Ramadan 2023. After which he will be working on the new edition, which will be released later this year. “I am looking forward to releasing this new book both as an online and hard copy edition internationally and taking my exhibition and art to other countries as well.”
Noor believes the source of true art and spirituality is one, and it comes from the intangible world that can only be felt and not seen with physical eyes. “I don’t focus on depicting the unseen because it isn’t possible. I just follow my heart and the thoughts that arise in the contemplative silence within me. And the strokes that arise, as a result, become the art you see. And if that connects you to the spiritual in you, then it’s spiritual art,” he says, and one can’t help feeling convinced of the mysterious paradigm and its relationship with art.
Wassily Kandinsky was one of the leading artists of the abstract expressionism genre, and his book, “Concerning the Spiritual in Art,” is considered a guiding light to many artists who practice this.
He wrote, “To those that are not accustomed to it, the inner beauty appears as ugliness because humanity in general inclines to the outer and knows nothing of the inner. That is beautiful which springs from an inner need that springs from the soul.”
When asked about his opinion of Wassily Kandinsky’s book, Noor replied, “Wassily was not the only one to connect spirituality and contemporary art.” Artists have worked with that consciousness through the ages and will probably will do even more in future because technology and artificial intelligence lacks that aspect, even if it far exceeds humans in areas of knowledge and precision.
An ardent follower and fan of Rumi, whom Noor says has been a guiding light through many trying times in his life with his timeless and inspiring poetry. He quotes Rumi’s verses as a rejoinder in the conversation. “Rumi connects with us both to the heart and soul with his words, like no other. His single line, ‘Let yourself be drawn by the stronger pull of that which you truly love’, helped me make up my mind about the mid-career change and is still a great reminder of the importance of loving what you do, irrespective of the material gains.”
Noor can contacted on insta : @art_noor or email : firstname.lastname@example.org