Untitled (Blue Bottle Lamp)

Project: Contemporary Arabic Light Lantern

Brief: I thought about Islam in the Afrikan diaspora and considered a variety of factors for the design of my lantern:. how light is a symbol for protection and positivity, the transcendental experience and how its translated through symbols, colors and objects used in Afrika and her diaspora, and how lanterns are especially used during ramadan. In the Quran, a part of sura el nur says: “Allah is the Light of the heavens and the earth. The example of His light is like a niche within which is a lamp, the lamp is within glass, the glass as if it were a pearly [white] star lit from (the oil of) a blessed olive tree, neither of the east nor of the west, whose oil would almost glow even if untouched by fire...” All those ideas put together can create a contemporary Arabic lantern, thus I decided to go with the Congolese blue bottle trees used in southern USA. The bottles were used to trap evil spirits and interestingly blue symbolizes divinity in most Islamic tribes on the Afrikan continent. I wanted to embody how the bottles look when the sun is shining on them. I constructed a smaller glass vessel with blue and white colors swirled into the transparent surface. The swirls dancing and flying across the surface reflect the spirits it has captured.

Special thanks to my MFA program at VCUQ and the Glass Hub in Bath, UK