On my art table: The Mazaar

What influences your painting process?

For me, it’s often the music that I choose to listen to while I paint. Happy, upbeat music, for example, lends itself very well to fun mark making. Hand pans help me get into a more happy, floaty, flow-like painting state.

Needless to say, I’m always experimenting with the music that I listen to while I paint.

When I started this particular painting, I was listening to a Coke Studio playlist on Spotify. When Bismillah by Salim – Sulaiman, featuring Kailash Kher and Munawar Masoom came on, it captivated me and inspired the piece I was working on.

Listening to the song on repeat, I simply let the words and the emotions of the song inform the colors and lines on the page. The deep devotion, the reverence, combined with thoughts of rising intolerance, Islamophobia, and othering.

There is a rawness to this music that amplified the sorrow and despair within me. There is hope in this music, which inspired the colors and the line work, and the overall piece.

As I was painting, the word Mazaar kept reverberating in my head. The idea of a sacred place, in quiet disrepair.

Mazaar, meaning shrine or tomb according to Rekhta Foundation.

A shrine and also a tomb. A place of reverence and also of anguish. The feelings this brings up feel too vast to contain in words. The silent scream too loud in my head.

Abstract painting - The Mazaar

So I let it be this: An old building. Peeling paint. Flowers growing wild outside. A setting sun painting the sides of the building gold.

The Mazaar, where hope and despair live together. Dreaming of a better, more just tomorrow.

11.5×15 inches
Acrylics and charcoal on paper
Available for purchase

I’m curious: What do you see in this piece?

Posted in On My Art Table.

I’m an artist and art educator, podcaster, tarot reader, and writer. I share my discoveries along the path to inspire you to live a more creative, soul-centered life. Receive my love letters for more of my musings on life and creativity. P.S. I love Instagram - join me there?


  1. I too love listening upbeat music when I draw. It could be any music as long as it makes my heart dance to its beat!
    I loved your painting, Shinjini!
    To answer your question, I see an old structure that has witnessed a lot, heard a lot of stories, watched people and their lives evolve, get destroyed, even, and move on. This place sure has a lot of stories to tell, provided someone is ready to listen, really listen!

    • Yes – heart dance to its beat! I love how that dancing heart somehow peeks through our artwork.

      That’s a beautiful picture you see, thank you for sharing it with me 🙂 That’s very close to how I imagine the mazaar too.

  2. I love the background you have made for stroking the building over- the happy maze of colors lets the simple lines feel very rich and layered. Exactly how a scared place is like – its is simple and serene in its core but it enveloped in so much hope, happiness and love. This deserves a Rumi quote to mark it further 🙂

  3. I could visualise you with the paint brush and the soul-stirring rendition playing in the background.
    This is such a heartening post to read and some where it lends the reader with a sense of catharsis.

    I love playing classical when I am writing. Pavarotti or Andrea Bocelli sometimes Bach, Beethoven.

    Thank you for joining #WordlessWednesday/WednesdayWisdom with this wonderful post Shinj.

    God bless.

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