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AN INDEPENDENT STUDENT NEWSPAPER SERVING THE GW COMMUNITY SINCE 1904

The GW Hatchet

Serving the GW Community since 1904

The GW Hatchet

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Officials to begin HVAC, roof repairs this weekend
By Jenna Lee, Assistant News Editor • July 12, 2024

MSA teaches ancient art

Members of the Muslim Student Association shared the ancient art of glass painting with other students last week.

Anisah Bagasra, a member of the MSA, said she began painting four years ago.

Glass painting is a very religiously oriented activity, Bagasra said. The topics of the painting are nearly always related to the Muslim religion.

Students sat around plastic covered tables painting Islamic phrases and words on plates for God such as, Allah, in the name of God, most merciful, most compassionate.

I am really enjoying this, said Marisa Stroup, who is in her first year of Arabic studies, as she put the finishing touches on the lettering of her work.

MSA members guided the attendees through the process, which involves taking a glass plate and leading or outlining the design on the plate.

Bagasra also talked about the traditions associated with the process.

Because the painting is subject to Islamic law, the painting never has the subjects of God’s creations, she said.

There are no faces, flowers or mountain scenes. Instead the glass painting is done in intricate geometric shapes, bright colors and calligraphy of Islamic words, she said.

MSA members offered stencils, which had been prepared to trace through the glass. Some students wrote their own words, asking students fluent in Islam to check to make sure the letters were formed correctly.

The goal of (the event) is to have fun, and to learn an art form that is very ancient and beautiful, Bagasra said. There are no real rules in creativity, and you can really see that here.

Students said MSA members met their goal of teaching others about the Muslim religion and its customs.

I went with (the MSA) to the Smithsonian to see all the ancient pieces, Milik Irlo said. It is incredible that they could do this type of small, exact painting without a computer, and without tracing like tonight.

Irlo painted Light, one Allah’s 99 names, on his plate. He added blue around the word.

The blue is for the sky, like a light in the sky, he said.

Irlo asked where to sign his plate, and was told that in Islamic art rarely includes signatures.

The process is far less individual and the personal relation to the work is not see very often, Bagasra said.

The paint dried quickly and corrections were easily made on the smooth surface of the glass.

Bagasra said she is working on a series of mirrored plates painted with all the names of God.

We are planning to have an Islamic center somewhere in the D.C. area, and I hope to donate them all when I am finished, she said.

The series of plates will face Mecca, the direction Muslims face while praying.

The 99 names of Allah are a common topic for such paintings, said Bagasra, as she showed the group a picture of a tiled Pakistani mosque adorned with elaborate glass tiles.

In ancient Islamic traditions the artist must see that `God makes all beautiful, and everything is beautiful,’ she said.

Other MSA events scheduled for the semester include interfaith dinners with the Bangladeshi and Korean student organizations and a cooking program. Students will also participate in a day of silence Nov. 14 for people in Iraq, who MSA members say are victims of sanctions.

This is only one of several MSA events that we have for the GW community, said Samiya Mohiuddin, MSA social committee chair. We are looking to educate the GW community on our organization and our culture.

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