Back in Mashhad in Iran, Ali Alizadeh is well known for his skill in turning a stone into a piece of art. Alizadeh, one of the few artists following the 2,000 year old art of engravings, is accompanied on his visit to Lahore by three other artists whose work has been displayed at the Alhamara Art Gallery. The exhibition has been organised by Iran Cultural Centre (ICC).
“We use a special stone called Sirpanteen which is only found in Mashhad,” he explains. “There are very few artists left who still practice this art,” Alizadeh told The Express Tribune. The exhibits include calligraphy patterns including Khat-i-Nastalique, Khat-i-Kufi and Khat-i-Sulus engraved on dark grey stone. He said a piece normally takes 15 to 20 days to complete and sells for about $250 to $400. He said that stone engraving was not taught at any school in Iran and could only be learnt from practicing artists.
Calligrapher Ahmad Qaim Qaimi said that he used handmade brushes called paroi on larger canvases. “Not every calligrapher can do this,” he said.
Qaimi said that some of the calligraphy patterns he had brought were 400 years old. “Allama Iqbal’s poetry is very popular among calligraphers in Iran.” Qaimi’s art pieces cost around $2,000 each.
Calligrapher Hossein Salashor works with wood, commonly taught in Iran. His pieces start at around $200 each. Zeeshanul Hasan, the ICC media coordinator said that the exhibition was organised every year in Ramazan. It will continue till August 21.
Published in The Express Tribune, August 18th, 2011.