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al-khayal a portfolio

abdul k. rahim


noun. [Orig: Sufism < Arabic] divine imagination

contents lunchtime face value sakyamuni au naturel reveries structures morphosis accolades

1. The food pyramids of elementary school are nonexistent in the slums of Dhaka. Many girls will be forced to maintain their daily caloric intake with a spiced soup of leafy greens and a plate of rice. Malnourishment is not a simple case of economics; deeply-embedded values against girls in a patriarchal society also contribute to the nutritional imbalance. [Dhaka, Bangladesh] 2. Eating is more than an act of nourishment. History, religion, and science all join in for dinner. The Brahmins of Tamil Nadu have a strict dietary code that restricts them from eating meat and any food made by a non-caste member. Rice and vegetables, cooked in coconut milk, are the mainstays of Tamil Brahmin cuisine. [Chennai, India] 3. One of the major diseases inflicting South Asian nations is type-2 diabetes. The recent shifts in lifestyle and diet contribute greatly to the risk of developing diabetes. However, certain customs embedded in the Indic cultures may help control the disease. Bitter gourd, a popular vegetable throughout Asia, has chemical properties known to aid in regulating metabolism. [Kolkata, India]

lunchtime 4. Canopy Omelette [Chez Rahim, USA] 2 tsp. olive oil 3 large eggs 1 red onion, finely chopped 2 garlic, minced 1 small tomato, diced 2 Tsp. yogurt Ÿ tsp. cumin Salt and Pepper to taste ½ cup fresh spinach 1) Mix together eggs, tomato, yogurt, cumin, salt and pepper. 2) Heat oil in frying pan. Add onion and garlic, cook until slightly brown. 3) Pour in egg mixture. After two minutes, add spinach on top. Cover and cook for five minutes. 4) Serve immediately with

face value

5. Yes, Your Highness. Without Shubalâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s agility, the unreachable papayas are a feast only accessible to the birds. Shubal asks for one thing in return for his weekly papaya-picking: two hours of uninterrupted TV time. [Chittagong, Bangladesh] 6. The Whole Nine Yards. In South Asia, female grace is synonymous to a sari. Whether it is goldbrocaded Benarasi silk or simple green cotton, these nine yards adorn goddesses and wandering gypsies alike. [Narayanganj, Bangladesh] 7. The faces of Chittagong make apparent its vibrant history. For centuries, the cityâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s tolerant Sufi culture attracted people as varied as the Portuguese, Persians, and Peranakans. [Chittagong, Bangladesh]

8. The Lilyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Ode Who am I to judge a Rose? I, who arose from mud and mire. Men risk thorns for her shows. But gods risk men for my desire.

[Bangkok, Thailand]

sakyamuni 9. “At Ongcor, there are ...ruins of such grandeur... that, at the first view, one is filled with profound admiration, and cannot but ask what has become of this powerful race, so civilized, so enlightened, the authors of these gigantic works?” ~Henri Mouhot, 1826-1861 [Siem Reap, Cambodia]

10. Though present-day Bangladesh is largely a Muslim country, Buddhism was a dominant force throughout Bengal’s ancient history. It was from here that Buddhism spread to Southeast Asia and Tibet. In the southeastern town of Ramu, the monks guard a secret from the reign of Emperor Asoka the Great. [Ramu, Bangladesh]

11. Oedipusâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Pseudopod Lepidoptera Sphingidae Common Name: Sphinx moth â&#x20AC;Ś and the Sphinx asked Oedipus: What goes on four legs in the morning, on two legs at noon, and on three legs in the evening? [Florida, USA]

au naturel 12. The Mullah’s Cow Mullah Nasreddin was visiting another town, and a man asked him, “What’s the word for ‘baby cow’ in your village?” Nasreddin couldn’t remember the word, so he replied, “Where I’m from, we don’t call a baby cow anything. We just wait until it grows up, and then we call it a cow. “ [Chittagong, Bangladesh] 13. Backwater Gossip It is not surprising why the Malayalis call their homeland Kerala, meaning Land of Coconuts. Since antiquity, Kerala’s trade was largely centered on coconut-based products and spices. This coco-culture still remains untouched in many parts of Kerala, particularly in the Backwaters. [Ernakulum, India]

A daydream often turned into a retreat, escaping from the mundanity of the ‘here’. Phoenix’s Persian kin, the Simurgh found its mount in a warrior, together off to find the Valley of the Red Lotus. 1. The Simorgh’s Flight (Red) Ink on Paper 2005 2. Prince of Persia Charcoal & Pencil 2005 3. Sakyamuni’s Retreat Ballpoint Pen (Blue) 2003


structures A wall or a reef, every structure is an intricate interplay of smaller building blocks. 4. Holy Waters Ink (Black and Blue) 2010 5. Bengal Countryside Ink (Blue) 2005 6. Spanish Terrace Ink 2009

The viability of a creative mind lays in its willingness to adapt; its ability to morph. A peacockâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s feathers should not just be sketched - oils, acrylic, adobe should all convene to express the brilliance of such a bird. 7. Peacocks in a Garden Orig: Colored Pencil Computer Graphics, Multimedia 2006 8. (Untitled) Oil on Canvas 2008 incomplete

morphosis 9. Akbar’s View Colored Pencil 2005 10. Akbar’s View II Mural. Acrylic. 2005

11. Memorial Design Contest 12. 13. 14. Art in Action.


Art is more than imagination. It is a medium of expression. A conveyance of values. A struggle for an ideology.

al-khayal 2011


Imagine. Divinity.