SHAMS NADIR is the pseudonym of Tunisian poet and novelist Mohammed Aziza, born in 1940. Mohammed Aziza started out as a director of Tunisian Radio-TV, and subsequently became an international civil servant with UNESCO in Paris. His writing has been appreciated for its depth and originality by leading men of letters worldwide such as Julio Cortasar and Léopold Sédor Senghor, which earned him the post of Rector of the Euro-Arab Itinerant University. Through the guise of a pseudonym, Aziza wishes to create a dividing line between his work as poet and novelist and his aesthetic essays on the status of art in Arab-Islamic civilization. The latter include at least six essays in which he re-examines the problem of ‘Muslim iconoclasm’ and highlights the richness and variety of Islamic plastic arts. The author’s inspiration is not the quest of origins but the quest of origin, ‘the first breath’ of mankind.