08 - Victorious (Al-'Aziz)

08 – Victorious (Al-‘Aziz)

Photography by Hawkinson Photography

Victory means many things, and seems to imply something martial – winning through struggle or conflict.  My imagination was filled with images of water being victorious; rather than a rapid flood of water bursting through a wall of earth, my mind was filled with thoughts of water erosion from rain, or the slow meandering of a stream as it painstakingly carves its way into a riverbed.  The water “wins”, but does so over time and without sudden, violent force.

I was also considering the lasting impact of tiny, subtle things.  A very simple story in the New Testament refers to a widow lighting a candle and cleaning her house, another briefly mentions placing a candle where others will see it.  “Let your light shine” is a common phrase which grows directly from these two simple stories and fills the air when we offer support and encouragement to those trying to do worthwhile things, and to bolster the confidence of those struggling with issues of self worth.  Al-‘Aziz, Victorious, is a Name which carries, I believe, both the martial and subtle nuances of these ideas.  The strength of a Friend serving as champion, coupled with the certain victory of patience, time, and constant support.

The tetrahedron (four-sided pyramid) is the Platonic solid representing fire, and this sculpture is made with two of these shapes sharing a center.  Fire can be overcome by the hissing and sputtering, violent injection of water, or fire can be smothered and killed by the sudden introduction of earth; however, it seemed more appropriate to represent the Divine power over such a frightening element with more sedate and calming depictions of these two elements.  The transformation of fire into cooling, refreshing nature of water is represented with the blue tetrahedron, and its conjoined partner represents the transformation of fire into nurturing, abundant green earth.  But victory over fire isn’t just in the vanquishing of it, but also in the welcoming of fire’s positive, strengthening qualities.

In the center is a tiny lamp with a softly flickering flame.  With the display of power over destructive elements in the main body of the sculpture, it felt as if the tiny flame was welcomed and sheltered within.  My thoughts revolved around the idea that sometimes victory comes when the weak and wispy flame of hope is sheltered, strengthened, and becomes a beacon.  The light of every person, as weak and simple as it sometimes appears, can grow into a bonfire for others from which they may draw support, courage, and find their way – when, that is, that light is given the protection and nourishment necessary to overcome the many threats to its survival.

All those thoughts were bubbling and churning in my head as the sculpture was being built.  The designs on the surface were built of abstract vegetal patterns, to remind the viewer of the gardens in Paradise; thinking of this certainly helped calm the churning.  Victory rarely happens on a battlefield, but is a constant struggle in the tiny spaces in our chests and heads – regardless of circumstances, our position is relative to how we view the situation.  True victory comes through the decisions we make, how we help those around us, and whether we decide to listen to the tiny voice whispering to us.  The still, small voice which comes from the Being Who can command the very flames to do His will.

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