The mystical dimension: When traditional calligraphy meets modern techniques

Internationally-acclaimed artists present “Huroof” at Satrang Gallery.


A piece from the exhibition. PHOTO: MYRA IQBAL

ISLAMABAD:


When traditional calligraphy meets modern techniques, expect a masterpiece. Working along these lines, eight artists showcased their work at Satrang Gallery on Monday. Titled “Huroof,” the collection revisited the Quranic script in stylised patterns, lending a mystical dimension to the art.


Celebrated for his craft the world over, Rasheed Butt finds lyrical rhythm in the divine writ. To him, the art form takes on a metaphysical meaning, a way to connect with a higher being.

“Calligraphy is music for the eyes, and I feel very blessed to be making it,” he said. In his work, the gold-painted Quranic verses on a pitch-black surface leaves the viewer in awe. His work has been showcased at international museums and to heads of states in Saudi Arabia.

“We are honoured to have Rasheed Butt for this exhibition. At an event last year, he painted the script of Bismillah within 30 seconds,” the gallery’s curator Asma Rashid Khan recalled.

Sana Arjumand, artist and visitor at the exhibition, commented that the artist’s work draws one in, even before they notice the actual script. “It is like light in the dark and the light is God,” she said.



Originally an artist of miniature, Bin Qulandar has eased his way into calligraphy. He works in the Diwani style, merging script with symbols. The visual patterns on large canvases bring out the eclectic details in his work. “His work is very different from traditional calligraphers in the sense that he uses vibrant colours like red and orange. It is also very intricate,” said Fariha Tariq, a guest. Calligraphy is a part of our culture so we must treasure it, she added.

Tajammul Hussain’s work has geometric patterns nuanced with verses. The blend of a traditional and contemporary approach is very pronounced in his paintings. His work has been showcased at international museums. Similarly, Bushra Habib has a leaning towards geometric style that merges with Arabic letters.

Ahmed Khan, a seasoned artist, traces the complexities of script with red, gold and green canvases. Scenic in approach, his work shows sunlight cracking through clouds and reaching the earth, in a mediation of sorts.

Arif Khan’s work makes a bold statement, with thick strokes of red, intertwined with delicate script.

Professor Khurshid Alam Gohar Qalam is famous for the combination of large sweeping strokes and fine detailing over translucent backgrounds. Bold colours dominate his palette. His work has been showcased at the British Museum in London and Ashmolean in Oxford.

Recollecting the rich history of female calligraphers, Mussarat Arif creates delicate patterns. Painting in Kufic method, she employs radiant colours to offset the thick black lines of her writings.

The Australian High Commissioner Peter Heyward inaugurated the exhibition. The American Ambassador Richard G Olson and Serena Hotel Chief Executive Officer Aziz Bolani were among the prominent personalities at the event.

Published in The Express Tribune, July 31st, 2013. 

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