The layout and design of the painting have been put together as a prayer or a Hamsa. The Hamsa Hand is an ancient Middle Eastern amulet symbolizing the Hand of God. In all faiths it is a protective sign. It brings its owner happiness, luck, health, and good fortune. The hand, the eye, and the number 5 figure are significant in Arabic and Berber traditions. The Hamsa is related to the warding off the evil eye. Here, the Hamsa is called the Hand of Fatima after Fatima Zahra, daughter of the Prophet Muhammed. The 5 fingers of the hand are further associated with the 5 pillars of Islam. The collage design at the top of the painting is called The Sound of Heaven. This design is commonly found in the ceilings of temples in Iran. Fire, of course, is purification, or the igniting of inspiration in the hearts of many who hear and learn what Filastine and Nova create and how they act as a compass or guide in culture mapping today's modern day garden of earthly delights. When I learned that Filastine and Nova would be taking their sound to the sea, I knew they would encounter more than just the wild life of the ocean but pirates and lack of resources in addition. These challenges would call for a Hamsa. I wish them safe passage on their journey. With this painting, I feel inspired by what they create and bring into the world. In their words:
Filastine is the handle of Barcelona-based composer and video artist Grey Filastine. A former taxi driver from the United States, Filastine studied percussion with the coke-fueled carnival batucadas of Brazil and mystical brotherhoods in Morocco. In 1999 he founded the Infernal Noise Brigade marching band, putting these rhythms to use in a live soundtrack for the Seattle WTO revolt and the globalization protests that followed. DJ/Rupture discovered and released Filastine’s premiere album,Burn It! (2006), launching a decade of critically-acclaimed albums and world tours. One of those tours brought him to Jakarta where he met vocalist Nova Ruth, rhyming in Indonesia’s seminal rap group Twin Sista. Nova’s deep musical roots add much to Filastine’s sound; she was raised singing pentecostal spirituals with her priest grandfather, reciting Quran, and playing Javanese gamelan percussion. Beyond music, Nova’s continues her “day job” building networks among Southeast Asia’s video activists and hackers. Together they create unique and fearless interventions: an official mixtape for The Act of Killing documentary, a sound swarm at the Paris Climate Summit, a performance in the Calais Jungle migrant camp. Their latest effort, Abandon, is a video series profiling dances of emancipation from work, filmed in locations from coal mines in Borneo to office cubicles in America. The songs of Abandon and a grip of other new tracks will come out this year on the duo’s first full album together, Drapetomania, colliding psychedelic trap, tropical post-folk and a punk ethos into a compelling audio thesis.