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SHAMSA comes from an Arabic word meaning the Sun. It is the name given to a circular device in Islamic art, often implemented as part of the design structure on carpets, textiles, metal objects, illuminated books and architecture.
By the sixteenth century it had become a customary illuminated device in the opening pages of royal manuscripts.
I built the design over an octagonal geometric structure using a classic grammar of elements. They were manufactured in 3mm steel by a British engineering company using state-of-the-art water-jet cutting technology.
The Shamsas in the intsallation measure 100cm in diameter; the suspended ones are powder coated, and the wall-mounted one is made of mirrored steel.
New editions of this design are now available in 1.5 mm steel with a diameter of 50cm and integrated invisible wall-fixings.
100 cm. diameter Steel shamsas installed in the Brunei Gallery, SOAS, for Geometry, Illumination and Beyond, 2009
Second-edition steel shamsa, 50cm. diameter with concealed wall-fixings.
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