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Earth Measure – Design TO Festival 2023
January 11 @ 9:00 am - February 2 @ 9:00 pm
Earth Measure presents a body of work which dismantles the Traditional/Contemporary dichotomy, offering proof that these two concepts need not be oppositional or even in tension with each other. Utilising the ancient tools of Compass and Straight-Edge, Gillian Turnham constructs and paints by hand classic Islamic geometric patterns, which have decorated the walls of palaces and mosques for centuries. Developed as a distillation of universal mathematical principles, these patterns remain relevant in every era as they are constant and unchanging reflections of the basic substructures upon which our physical and psychical reality is built. This ancient design tradition aims to beautify the urban environment in a manner reminiscent of the beauty of the natural world, and in doing so, uplift and align the human spirit with our original nature – a goal no less relevant today than it’s ever been.
Gillian Turnham is an Ontario artist working within the tradition of Islamic geometric design. She studied sculpture and metal smithing at NSCAD University before honing her practice in Andalucia, Spain. She embraced Islamic geometric design as a natural consequence of discovering Islam, and has spent the past few years studying with some of the world’s top educators in the field. Alongside her commissioned works, Gillian has published writings on Islamic geometry and produced a radio series on Islamic art.