‘The food of one person is enough for two, the food of two is enough for four, and the food of four is enough for eight.’
This is the English translation of the saying in Arabic that Hague designer and artist Qasim Arif inscribed on a bowl commissioned by Kunstmuseum Den Haag. The museum asked Arif to reflect on its Arts of the Islamic World collection. Inspired by the idea of eating together and sharing, he painted this universal message in modern calligraphy. His bowl will be displayed alongside three Iranian bowls from the ceramics centres of Kashan and Nishapur, dating from circa 900 to 1200. He has also painted a large calligraphic mural on the wall.
Arif drew inspiration from the month of Ramadan, where the focus is on fasting and eating together. The blue of the inscription which he painted himself on the white glaze was inspired by Delftware. He used a lustre glaze on the back, a metallic finish typically found on antique ceramics from countries such as Egypt, Iraq, Iran, Syria and Spain.
The bowl will be shown at Kunstmuseum Den Haag, opposite the permanent Delftware Wonderware exhibition. Qasim has also painted a large calligraphic mural on the wall. His bowl will be displayed alongside three Iranian bowls from the ceramics centres of Kashan and Nishapur, dating from circa 900 to 1200. Qasim’s bowl was inspired by the museum’s collection, and by conversations with art historian Anissa Foukalne. A 12-minute film showing the entire process
Qasim Arif (ILLM) - Delen is Vermenigvuldigen
Qasim Arif (b. 1988) works under the name ILLM (which refers to ilm, Arabic for knowledge, and ill, which means ‘cool’ in hiphop culture). He says that his work is a reflection of himself. His love of Arabic art and calligraphy and of hiphop is always present in his work, which sometimes also features the colours of The Hague, the city where he grew up. For its Splendour and Bliss – Arts of the Islamic World exhibition in 2018, Kunstmuseum Den Haag commissioned a mural from Arif which read ‘Welcome to The Hague’, to welcome visitors to the museum.
Thanks to ceramicist and museum docent Elanor van der Zwet, who collaborated on the creation of the bowl, and Vrije School of The Hague for the use of its ceramics workshop.