“Do not feel lonely,” the legendary Sufi poet Rumi mused in the 13th Century, ”The entire universe is inside you.” Rarely does a modern abstract painting call like these words to the sense of innate potential within each of us. But, enter Imani Bilál, an American abstract artist whose Sufi spiritualism and emotional use of color open our hearts to what is possible in our inner world.
On canvas and in life, Bilál is making waves. In a male-dominated art world, this female painter is pushing the boundaries of how art can portray the abstractions of human connection and promote inner healing. Her work stops many in their tracks, literally, and reminds us to connect, reflect, perceive our true feelings, and find the beauty within ourselves and each other.
She says, “My paintings are manifestations of my meditative states, and visual representations of energy exchanges explored through color, movement, and shape.”
For Bilál, a spiritual foundation in Sufism is the platform from which she can create, grow, and explore the concepts of meditation and connectivity via abstraction. Sufism is a mystical branch of Islam that focuses on purification of the heart, unveiling a deeper identity, an essential part of self that has a more powerful awareness, creativity, and divine love, which transcends our outward personality.
Through her paintings, Imani Bilál reimagines art as spiritually informative and offers us a glimpse along this path of self-discovery. Her work echoes the river of love that runs through and between every human and speaks of our unbreakable connection to each other, to God, and to the world around us.
Bilál often paints on the floor, allowing greater access to the canvas and uses her whole body to create fluid, mesmerizing strokes, smears, and splatters that draw us in as we try to glean more of the mystery that defines her work.
The powerful, hypnotic pull of Bilál’s paintings did not go unnoticed by collectors at her first solo New York show. Hosted at the Chase Contemporary Gallery, a globally acclaimed art venue aiming to transform our understanding of the art world by promoting emerging female artists alongside established contemporary masters, the show took inspiration from the Sufi ideology of Muraqaba, or meditation. It was a phenomenal success, landing Bilál in FORBES magazine as one of the upcoming contemporary American artists to watch.
Bilál’s next solo show will be opening at the Chase Contemporary Gallery SoHo location in the summer of 2022.