Salma Arastu: An Artistic Journey of Unity and Inspiration

Salma Arastu: Bridging Cultures, Fostering Harmony through Art

Salma Arastu, a name synonymous with harmony in diversity, has transcended cultural boundaries and artistic norms to create a legacy that resonates globally. Born in 1950 in Rajasthan, India, she embarked on a creative journey that encapsulates her rich heritage, diverse experiences, and a profound commitment to fostering unity.

Artistic Roots and Cultural Fusion of Salma Arastu

Salma Arastu’s artistic roots trace back to her formal education in Fine Arts at Maharaja Sayajirao University in Baroda, India. Raised in the Sindhi and Hindu traditions, her journey took a transformative turn when she embraced Islam and later migrated to the USA in 1986, where she currently resides in California.

As a woman, artist, and mother, Arastu’s creative endeavors serve as a testament to her commitment to harmony. Through paintings, sculpture, calligraphy, and poetry, she channels her unique global perspective, weaving a narrative that transcends borders and cultural divides.

A Tapestry of Exhibitions and Recognition

With over forty-five years of artistic expression, Arastu has exhibited her works internationally in India, Iran, Kuwait, Germany, and the United States. Her portfolio boasts more than sixty solo and group exhibitions, showcasing her versatility in various art forms.

Her artworks find a home in esteemed museums worldwide, including the State Museum of Art in Harrisburg, PA, the Museum Of Modern Art in Hyderabad, India, and the 9/11 Memorial Museum in New York, NY. Salma Arastu’s exhibitions have graced prestigious venues such as Stanford Art Spaces, Stanford University, and the Art Museum at Radford University.

The accolades she has received, including awards like the 2020 East Bay Community Foundation’s “Fund for Artists” and the 2016 City of Berkeley Individual artist grant, underscore the impact and recognition of her artistic contributions.

Artistic Style and Inspirations

Salma Arastu’s art is a reflection of her diverse cultural background and spiritual journey. Influenced by the imagery, sculpture, and writings of both her Indian heritage and Islamic spirituality, her works resonate with a universal appeal. Living and working in Iran and Kuwait exposed her to Islamic arts and Arabic calligraphy, leaving an indelible mark on her artistic style.

Exhibitions and Invitations

Arastu’s artistic achievements have not only garnered attention in exhibitions but also led to invitations from prestigious institutions and events. She has presented her work and delivered talks at Stanford University, Commonwealth of San Francisco, Seattle University, Graduate Theological Union at Berkeley, and the Museum of Contemporary Religious Art in St. Louis, Missouri.

International recognition followed with invitations to Germany, where she served as a Resident Artist in Schwabisch Gmund in 2000 and later by the Westphalia Wilhelm University in Münster in 2011. In March 2018, Salma Arastu participated in a one-month Artist Residency Program in Morocco, hosted by the Green Olives art Gallery.

Awards and Legacy

Salma Arastu’s dedication to her craft has been acknowledged through various awards, including the 2004 First Place in the Northeastern Regional Art Show and the 2012 East Bay Community Foundation’s “Fund for Artists.” Her legacy extends beyond canvases and sculptures, with five published books encompassing her art and poetry.

Works and Themes

Arastu’s works delve into themes of unity in diversity, hope, connection, celebration of the earth and women, and seeking oneness among humanity, soil, and soul. Her ecological consciousness shines through series like “Mycelial Flow” and “Tiny Creatures: Our Invisible Sustainers,” exploring the intricate relationships between organisms and emphasizing the vital role of microbes in sustaining the ecosystem.

The Artistic Process

Arastu’s artistic process is a blend of the physical and the meditative. She utilizes various materials like paper, rope, modeling paste, paper-mache, copper plate, pen, and ink to create mesmerizing compositions with subliminal images. Her studio becomes a realm where mysteries are revealed daily, and she fearlessly delves into the unknown, seeking new visions on her canvas.

Publications and Ecological Consciousness

Beyond visual art, Salma Arastu is an accomplished writer with five published books, including “Our Earth: Embracing All Communities.” Her dedication to creativity and love for creation, coupled with an ecological consciousness drawn from Quranic verses, reflects her deep connection with humanity and the world around her.

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