Having definitely shaped Islamic Art, the light of the East constitutes both the subject matter and name of Elena Syraka’s collection of artistic jewelry. Drawing inspiration from this source of animating light in which the birthplaces of some of the world’s greatest civilizations have basked, Syraka’s creations move past the ornamental, declaring – in their sculpted forms – not only the encounters of people and civilizations throughout Eastern Mediterranean history, but their very birthplace; weathered whilst being very much current and contemporary, these are pieces from no single point in time.
Respectfully and intelligently drawing from the material remains of Islamic civilization displayed at the Benaki Museum of Islamic Art, the artist’s intuitive collection also reflects her very own artistic narrative of the region’s history.
Focusing on the naturalist motifs and geometric patterns seen in the museum’s silk and glass artworks, the artist was inspired by the armors, helmets, swords and weaponry which not only depict military bravery and excellence, but the army’s godly mission. Her study of the manuscript miniatures and Arabic script are also evident in her autonomous re-interpretation which, in its simplicity, reflects a strong expressive quality. In Syraka’s work, decorative detail is distinguished as an aesthetic whole.
The raw materials, 18K gold often paired with precious and semi-precious stones, lend the collection an overriding sense of clarity, radiance and luxury whilst reflecting an inherent element of spirituality. All of the collection’s 45 art jewelry pieces are numbered with their certificate of authenticity.
The Nour collection was first exhibited at the Benaki Museum of Islamic Art in February 2012.
In Cairo, Egypt, at El Hanager Arts Center at the Opera House Yard and in Alexandria at El Horreya in May 2013.
In New York, at the Hellenis jewelry store at the Olympic Tower, in March 2014.
In Doha, Qatar at the Katara Cultural Village, in March 2016.