Main Article Content
Islamic art is a subgenre of contemporary art popular in Muslim-majority Southeast Asian countries such as Malaysia and Indonesia. Due to Islamic art's unique position within this genre, it is widely assumed that the aesthetic challenge of Islamic art can be traced back to a fundamental Islamic precept. However, as several academics have pointed out, there is no agreement on what the term "Islamic arts" means. In this study, we hope to describe Islamic art and show how its aesthetic qualities (its "spirituality") reflect the dominant worldviews at the time it was created (its "zeitgeist"). Some Malaysian and Indonesian artists' works depict culturally significant symbols as visual representations of their ideas as well as the aesthetic and cultural values of their time and place. Our findings from the content analysis show that the visual manifestation of the Islamic religion (Tawheed) is a synthesis of Islamic aesthetic principles and Western creative abilities. When Tawheed is at the heart of the creative process, every attempt to decipher the work's meaning becomes a quest for absolute truth. We conclude that the Tawheed philosophy embodies knowledge of the essential nature of things through the concept of Mujarad and is reflected in the artist's visual representation by elucidating the spirituality that connects religious faith to the field of visual art. We can offer a novel interpretation of the characteristics of Islamic art from Malaysia and Indonesia by understanding art from an Islamic aesthetic standpoint based on culturally meaningful symbols.
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