Yes, Mohammad’s face is always covered,
His face is behind the veil.
When we designed the Dialogue, ART for Peace and I researched images of Mohammad’s face, I found this image but removed the veil and I knew more or less what I was doing. There is n intended insult and disrespect on my part. I can put the veil over his face again and have him stand out among the rest for his singularity, he would be the only veiled teacher in the installation.
A veil seemed inappropriate for the context, I chose to leave it out because I wanted to show 10 Master Teachers, people who historically lived and walked among us. Each master teacher is portrayed in a seated position, Mohammad on a prayer rug with the classic pomegranate motif you find in so many mosques.
What would it look like for him to be seated hidden behind a veil when the other 9 were visually identified by their features and attributes? When we have a spiritual teacher we speak with them face to face and I expect Mohammad’s face was seen by many of his believers before his revelations with God occurred.
I opted to expose his face and not paint in the veil on Mohammad because it is true he lived like other great teachers and often sat facing his students. Hopefully the portrayal would transmit his own peace as he looks out at the viewers even today. Those outside the Muslim faith must get to know this man who walked among us. BUT I have seen the response is varied, in some cases letting me know without a doubt that some Muslims are offended. I ask their forgiveness and tolerance for human ignorance.
Humanity CAN get along with diversity.
None of us need to be threaded by someone else s belief or the lack of understanding towards our own belief.
All Great thinkers teach tolerance and forgiveness… But sadly, we have not learned this truth from our synagogues, temples, mosques or sanctuaries, many people do not want to see their prince of enlightenment mixed with anyone else. Buddhist, Christian, Muslim and Jew alike.
The installation called the ‘Dialogue’ attempts
to stimulate discussions.
Getting bogged down in details and small errors is easy but grasping the essence of great teachings is work which benefits us all. These are paintings of how 10 master teachers may have appeared. Intentionally I made them each a bit inaccurate. Buddha’s feet are crossed in reverse, Christ is seldom found in robes of White and Red, Copernicus looks too young, who know what Moses or Plato would have looked like, etc. However their messages have more that is similar rather than different.
I am imperfect as the work is imperfect but lest we learn to be kind and tolerant we will be forever trapped in the desire for perfection which only exists in the minds of those who believe there is one way only.
Peace on the planet, Amen, Shalom, Paz, Shanti, etc. Other articles about Mohammad and Art for Peace can be found on the blog.