The names of the medieval craftsmen who created the monuments of classical Islamic art which have come down to us are for the most part forgotten. There remain intriguing traces of the medieval Islamic craft guilds, organisations which, in some cases, through a master-disciple relationship aimed at integrating practical and spiritual instruction into a single way of life. Seeking inspiration from the example of the craft-guilds and the historical links between these guilds and sufi orders, Dr Katya Nosyreva examines her creative practice with the aim of finding the place of her own work vis à vis these traditions. She asks how contemporary artistic practice can combine both theoretical and practical knowledge and at the same time be rooted within a spiritual framework. How the exploration of the heritage of sacred Islamic architecture and written documents, such as manuals and scrolls on practical geometry, can inform one’s creative practice and contribute to to the renewal of a living visual tradition.
Dr Katya Nosyreva reflects on these questions through the lens of her artistic work and engagement with the art and craft of traditional geometry. Geometry is the structure through which different design elements can be created and related to one another, but is also a visual language communicating meanings linked to the higher order of things and a harmonious understanding of the universe to the viewer. The presentation will explore her artwork side by side with the insights gained in the process of engaging with traditional Islamic forms. This relationship can be understood as supplying a source of dialogue between traditional design methods and her own work, with geometry acting as the common language between the two, in order to find a way that is true both to tradition and to her own practice as a studio-based artist.