Above clip: First it starts with a flute solo followed by the other instruments supporting the flute melodies, observe how visual artists watch, listen and paint on canvas inspired by ‘The Magic of the East’.

‘THE MAGIC OF THE EAST” By Waseem Kotoub
With abstract artists Rubbena Aurangzeb-Tariq and Lisa Harker

The word ‘Expression’ in music literally means ‘everything’ – the overall subject of music performance.  When playing live, the style period shows, along with the kinds of instruments that are playing as well as with emotion, colour, communication, loudness/softness, changes in speed, sharing ideas etc.

In this project EXPRESSION II, both professional artists Rubbena Aurangzeb-Tariq (Deaf) and Lisa Harker (hearing) were told of the story behind the music.   They learned that it was composed by Waseem Kotoub, a composer living in the Gulf.  The title ‘The Magic of the East’ is written for flute, violin, viola and cello, and is based on Arabic themes and ideas. They learned that the flute starts with a solo indicating the rising sun of the East, and a magic carpet scene lifting off, followed by strings supporting the flute ideas for the rest of the time.  The music changes quite a lot injecting Arabic and the Spanish tango influences.  

It was interesting for me to see, if feeding the artist’s minds with information about the music affects the way they come up with a painting relating to the music ideas and scenes? Here are the outcomes below.

painting by Lisa Harker

Artist Lisa Harker says that when she was listening to the music, she was mainly responding to the ‘feel’ and the energy of the piece to create her work.  From watching the film, I can see that Lisa began pasting the background in purple as the first thing to do. Her strokes using a flat rectangular plastic spatula were brushing in time to the music.  It has a wonderful swipe of energy and the thick/thinness to each line.  Next she added splashes of blue, dark purples .  The gold swirly lines represent royalty, it was warm with feelings of ‘importance’ and togetherness.  Her overall composition looks like a rug which is commonly found in Arabic cultures hanging up on display.

By Rubbena Aurangzeb-Tariq

For artist Rubbena, her colour choices were based on four individual instruments which were the flute, violin, viola and cello – the reds, greens, blues and yellows.  The large thick line denotes strong sounds, and I think the yellows are the lightness coming from the singing flute.  In the middle there is a noticeably dark round circular rings to show that she felt the music was going round and round, and being repeated.  She was absolutely right to detect this and convey that into her painting.  In the film I watched that she could make small parallel lines play in time to the music.  On the whole, there is a sense of lightness in the composition, as if energies are light, free and flying around. 

Rubbena said she felt the music was more meaningful having to know the story, and it is interesting to realise that by giving information, it has the power to help with decision making in creating an art form.  The event was filmed to show what the music sounded like and how the artists responded to the works.