From 1986 to 1992, I practiced the recitation of the 99 names of Allah--
or the DZHIR, as well as the prayers of Islam, which I learned at the
Masjid al Farah, a Tekka in lower Manhattan.
This coincided with my particular peak of the AIDS crisis, so I soon had much
to pray about. It would not be an exaggeration to say that every step that I
took in the hospital wards where friends were dying was done to the reiteration
of these names. They entered my footsteps but they also entered my hands,
and I began to pray as I drew and draw as I prayed.
It would be absurd to claim a sanctity for these drawings as a consequence,
and I emphatically do not, but there was a concentration peculiar to making them.
They can not be resumed when put down, for example, and in those which
I have tried to do so I can detect exactly where this was done,
like a crack in the pavement..
The practice of doing drawings to the recitation of the names is
one I return to every year or so, out of fidelity to the practice:
The prayers will always be a part of me, however I depart from
(There are drawings of mine which do not have this background,
and thus have a different place in my work, so I am cataloging
the various groups according to their origin and intention.)
this series--characterized by the stippled technique--was begun in my first maturity as a draftsman..
If it is done with dots, it was probably done as a prayer. (I had resumed painting years before, in 1981).
This drawing--which is 18''x 24', was done in 1998. The first photograph illustrates it in
its entirety, the remaining photographs show its details.It is called "the 99 Names".