ARTIST Molly Zalani Mohammad always speaks fondly of three mosques that occupy a special place in her heart and mind.
They are the Sultan Salahuddin Abdul Aziz Shah Mosque in Shah Alam, the National Mosque and the Federal Territory Mosque, both in Kuala Lumpur.
Her connection with the Sultan Salahuddin Abdul Aziz Shah Mosque began when she first arrived from Kuala Terengganu to study at a preparatory college in Shah Alam.
“A teenager far away from home, I was lonely and homesick. To take a break from studying, I would go for walks at the Shah Alam Lake Garden and it was there that the awesome view of the state mosque struck me.
“The beauty of the huge blue domes of the mosque never failed to impress me, especially when set against a clear blue sky.
“The sight filled me with a sense of peace and serenity,” said Molly, who later furthered her studies at the School of Accountancy in Denver, United States.
She has many photographs of herself and friends with the blue-domed mosque in the background as mementos of her college days.
Molly is one of the 21 artists whose paintings are now on show at the Inspiration-Imagination-Interpretation Mosques of Malaysia exhibition which runs until Dec 11 at the Islamic Arts Museum, Kuala Lumpur.
The exhibition was launched by Sultan of Selangor Sultan Sharafuddin Idris Shah.
Also present at the launch were the Sultan’s consort Tengku Permaisuri Selangor Tengku Permaisuri Norashikin and Association of Peace and Conscience and Reason (PCORE) president Datuk Halimah Mohd Said.
Molly submitted three batik-themed mosque paintings for the exhibition.
One is of the Shah Alam mosque, the second, a geometric abstract of the National Mosque’s umbrella- shaped roof and third, the Federal Territory Mosque.
The National Mosque or Masjid Negara was where Molly and her youngest sister performed their prayers and sought refuge after getting off the bus from Kuala Terengganu at 5.30am in Puduraya during her student days.
As for the Federal Territory Mosque, it was where her marriage was solemnised.
In this collection, Molly retains her signature batik style with dual colour roses and rhombus patterns.
She uses the one-stroke painting technique for her blooms, a recurrent feature in her works. Different colours are picked up from a palette on either side of a flat brush to produce a different hued effect.
“I don’t usually do sketches, but for this collection, I had to capture the architectural details on my handphone to ensure accuracy,” said Molly.
However, she was quick to point out that her pieces were not mere copies but combinations of each mosque’s main architectural characteristics to produce a unique art piece.
A series of measurements were used as a guide to establish parameters so she could deliver precision in the geometric shapes and centralise the main subjects.
Molly, who is able to draw a perfect circle and straight line without a ruler or compass, said the subjects were drawn freehand using these measurement parameters.