“Verily in the remembrance of God do hearts find rest.” (Quran 13:28)
Al-Quloob translates to “the heart” in Arabic, which at its most basic level is a vital organ. However, even more so vital may be the emotional capacity of the heart, as it is the center for human empathy. Whether having clogged arteries or losing a sense of humanity, the heart may be healthy or diseased both literally and figuratively.
In "Al-Quloob", the painting, Hassan Qureshi yearns to demonstrate that dichotomy, suggesting that the true nature of the human heart is a tendency towards good.
The flowers emerging from the cardiac vessels represent the heart’s desire to be righteous. Should we choose to stay true to that innate instinct, the flowers would continue to bloom and grow into something beautiful. However, should we stray towards the opposite risking a hardened heart and a loss of empathy, the flowers would shrivel and weaken over time. Just as the artist asks himself questions regarding his own moral compass, he urges the viewer to do the same…
How does one continue to hold on to empathy? How does one continue to practice empathy?