Artist Statement

Celebration of Lyrical Line My journey into the realm of unknown begins with the line as it is the ray of light for me. I am celebrating energy and movement of line in my paintings, drawings and sculptures. I have always followed inner rhythm and by listening to it I draw with continuous line sometimes forming figural compositions with connected figures and other times abstract formations. Since my exposure to Arabic Calligraphy during my stay in Middle East, I feel my line has become more lyrical and melodious. I find myself yearning to find infinite possibilities of the lyrical line itself on large canvases. I just want to plunge myself into the pleasure of contemplating the abstract flow of the swelling lines, and form compositions of lines and fields within given space and enjoy the celebration of calligraphy through lyrical visions. The energy and movement of Arabic Calligraphy, powered by the positive messages from the sacred text has inspired me to create these new paintings. I use the same stroke of the brush for Arabic letters as I do for suggesting human forms. Both are fluid as if temporary expressions of the eternal universal vibration and energy. There is a vague suggestion of hide-and-seek, where figures and space bond to show volume and deny it all at the same time. It is the line that performs both as a mark and as contour that charges space. These paintings are visually flowing, undulating spiral through space in hushed and deep tones connecting figures and ground in a spiritual union, a synthesis of contour, color and space. My work is created through an ongoing process of introspection that involves action and reaction to a variety of materials. My method is physical and meditative in a process that fills each canvas with moving lines and multi-layered colors. For me creating art means getting physically involved with the piece; scratching, sanding, and layering, adding details in pen and ink or materials like paper, modeling paste, paper Mache or copper plate can all be used to create paintings that incorporate my cultural and spiritual viewpoint to interpret contemporary social issues. Present series of Arabic Calligraphy are completed on large un-stretched canvases with transparent layers of Acrylic paints that hang like tapestries.

Artist Bio

Salma Arastu Painter, Sculptor and Poet A native of India's Rajasthan, has been creating and exhibiting her paintings internationally since the 1970s after acquiring Masters Degree from Maharaja Sayaji Rao University, Baroda, India in 1975. Her work with continuous and lyrical line is influenced by her native culture and her residence after marriage in Iran and Kuwait before coming to the US in 1987. Born into the Sindhi, Hindu tradition in her native India, she later embraced Islam through her marriage. Her art works, whether paintings, sculptures or poetry speak of human universality. Her art form and techniques are greatly inter-woven with Arabic Calligraphy, Miniature Arts and Folk patterns, her major influences through her travels. She has almost 40 solo shows to her credit, won several awards including East Bay Community's fund for artists in 2012, three works in public places and three books published with her poems and paintings. She is the author of three books: “ Dard Ki Seedhiyan” in Hindi (1981) "The Lyrical Line: Embracing All and Flowing" ( Half Full Press, Oakland Publishers, 2008)and "Turning Rumi: Singing Verses of Love Unity and Freedom" (2012). She has been invited to Germany twice, first on artist residency in 2000 and in spring of 2011, Westphalia Wilhelm University in Münster, Germany invited to publish her paper “Art Informed by Spirituality” in the publication on the International Symposium: ‘God Loves Beauty: Post Modern Views on Religion and Art.’ Shortly after arriving in the United States, Salma became an entrepreneur with the creation of Your True Greetings, a successful greeting card company that uses her paintings and calligraphy to serve the needs of Muslim communities in the United States, Canada, Japan and Great Britain.


SELECTED SOLO SHOWS Triton Museum of Art, Santa Clara, CA, September-November 2014 Robert Graves Gallery, Wenatchee Valley College, Wenatchee, WA, Feb-March 2014 Art @ the Y, University of Illinois, Champaign, IL, March-April, 2013 Expressions Gallery, Berkeley, CA , January, 2013 Dominican University Gallery, San Rafael, CA 2012 King Gallery, Unitarian Universalist at San Francisco, San Francisco, CA 2012 A temporary exhibition, Art in Embassies, US Department of State, US Embassy Rangoon, Burma.2011-2013 Commonwealth Club, San Francisco, CA 2011 CIIS-California Institute of Integral Studies Art Gallery, San Francisco, CA 2009 Chandler Fine Art Gallery, San Francisco, CA 2007 ArtJaz Gallery, Philadelphia, PA 2006   The Hope Horn Gallery, Scranton University, Scranton, PA 2005 Monsoon Galleries, Bethlehem, PA 2005 Fayberger Gallery, Penn State University, Reading, PA 2005 Radford University Art Museum, Radford University, Radford, VA 2005   SELECTED GROUP SHOWS Our American Stories by Asian American Artists at San Francisco City College, San Francisco, CA April-September 2014 Sacred Voices: Canton Museum of Art, Canton, OH December 2013- April 2014 Under Currents: SomArts Cultural Center, San Francisco, CA May,2013 Echo of Islam: Triton Museum of Art, Santa Clara, CA February,2013 Honoring Women Rights: The National Steinb3ck Center, Salinas Valley, CA 2012 Invoking Peace: Euphart Art Museum, De Anza College, Cupertino, CA 2012 Muslim Eye: Marin Community Foundation, Novato, CA 2012 Offerings: Town of Danville Art Gallery, Danville, CA 2011 Visions of Paradise: Art & The Power of Faith at Sonoma Valley Museum of Art, Sonoma, CA 2010 Picturing the word: The Visuality of Text at Doug Adams Gallery, Graduate Theological Union, Berkeley, CA 2010 The Art Gallery at Cleveland University, Cleveland OH 2010 Exaltation of the Insignificants: Terra Galleria, Santa Monica, CA 2009 Beaux & Eros: Peninsula Museum of Art, Belmont, CA 2008 Expanding Circles: Delaware Contemporary Center for Arts, Wilmington, 2007 Stanford Art Spaces, Stanford University, Palo Alto, CA 2007 Four shows sponsored by Pennsylvania Council on the Arts in State College, Harrisburg, Pittsburg and Philadelphia, PA 2006 Spring show, Lehigh University, Bethlehem, PA 2005   PUBLIC ART Public sculpture- Eight feet tall and four feet wide water-jet-cut Steel and Copper “Dancing With the Stars” installed at Port of San Diego in October-2010 Public sculpture - Ten feet tall and 6 feet wide laser-cut Aluminum sculpture “ The Celebration of Arts” installed at Steel Stacks. in Bethlehem PA in April 2011 Finalist for public art proposal Wellness and Recreation Center at San Angelo university, San Angelo, Texas, November 2011 Dancing with the stars- exhibition at Geyserville, CA November 2011-October 2012. Dancing with the Stars- exhibition at San Rafael City Hall, CA ,October 2012-May2013. Five large painting murals for Beirut Restaurant, Allentown PA. Each mural 8’ X 14’ -1991   AWARDS East Bay Community Foundation’s “ Fund for Artists”, Oakland, CA 2012 First Place, Northeastern Regional Art Show, Marywood University, Scranton, PA in 2004. First Place, Lehigh Art Alliance Annual Show, Bethlehem, PA in 2004 Honorable Mention-Berks Art Alliance Show, Reading Art Museum, Reading, PA, 2001 Honorable Mention-Harrisburg Art Museum, Harrisburg, PA in 2001 Vermont Studio Center: won residency fellowship for two weeks in October 2002 In the summer of 2000 Salma won a (6) week Artist-in-Residence Award. She lived and worked and held exhibition of her works in Swabisch Gumund, southern Germany. Second Prize in Works on Paper, Soho, New York, NY in 1995 Talks and Presentations In April 2013. Leonardo Art Science Evening Rendezyous (LASER) she presented a talk on Celebration of Calligraphy and Journeys of Love. In October 2012, Stanford University International Club Invited her to present her talk and slide show about her works “ My Journey Towards My God” On 20th January 2013, Mythos Art Gallery, Berkeley, CA invited her to present her paintings and recite Rumi Poems from her series” Turning Rumi: Singing Verses of Love, Unity and Freedom”. In June of 2011, Westphalian Wilhelms-University in Münster Germany invited Salma Arastu to read her paper “ Art informed by Spirituality” in their International Symposium: God Loves Beauty: Post Modern Views on Religion and Art. In August of 2011, Commonwealth Club of San Francisco invited her to present her paper on “Sacred Heritage: A blending of Hindu and Islamic Traditions.   PUBLIC AND PRIVATE COLLECTIONS Permanent Collection in Islamic Art Museum of Australia in Melbourne St. Lukes Hospital, Bethlehem, Pennsylvania Counseling and Wellness Center at University of Florida, Gainsville, Florida Alameda County Arts Commission, Oakland, California State Museum of the Arts, Harrisburg, Pennsylvania Museum of Modern Art, Hyderabad, India Salarjung Museum, Hyderabad, India National Gallery of Art, New Delhi, India Lehigh Valley Hospital, Allentown, Pennsylvania Pennsylvania Power & Light, Allentown, Pennsylvania Spring Health Clinic, Bethlehem, Pennsylvania In the US and Canada, more than 200 paintings in private collections.   EDUCATION Masters degree in Fine Arts from Maharaja Sayaji Rao University in Baroda, India, 1974 Associate degree in Graphic Arts from Northampton Community College, Bethlehem, PA 2088 Certification in Public Art from Public Art Academy in East Bay in January 2010.


  • Visual Arts
  • San Francisco Bay Area
  • South Asian
  • Abstract
  • Drawing
  • Figurative
  • Painting
  • Poetry
  • Sculpture