RHM is a life-size fiberglass based painted sculpture that I contributed to Caravan’s Amen a Prayer for the World in 2014. I was invited by the organizer, Reverend Paul-Gordon Chandler to exhibit with 47 other artists, many from Egypt, most from the East Coast USA. The exhibit started in Cairo with the Egyptian artists, whose works were shipped to the US and joined by the rest of us, to exhibit first at the National Cathedral in Washington, D.C., followed by St. John the Divine in NYC.
Two of the most beloved of the Most Beautiful Names of Allah, Al-Rahman and Al-Rahim, are derived from the triconsonant root RHM, meaning womb or place of origin. I have calligraphed the root RHM in several art works. The root’s feminine slant appeals to me as a woman and more importantly it contradicts the tendency to anthropomorphize the Divine as male.
RHM holds a bowl to receive requests for prayer. The phrases on the black yoke of the figure connect the Old Testament and the Koran, and are meant to unsettle the misconception that YWH and Allah are two separate deities. On the figure’s right is a verse from I Kings 18:39, translated from the Hebrew by Rabbi Ted Falcon as “The Transcendent One awakens in All.” The verse on the figure’s left is from the Koran, Sura 2:115, translated by Imam Jamal Rahman as “Everywhere you turn is the face of Allah.”