Art of the Word: Egyptian envoy for promoting Pakistani art

Works of master calligraphers, upcoming artists on display at Satrang

A number of pieces by established as well as amateur artists have been put on display at the Satrang Art Gallery. PHOTOS: HUMA CHOUDHARY/EXPRESS

ISLAMABAD: A calligraphy exhibition opened at Satrang gallery on Wednesday. Keeping its annual Ramazan tradition, Satrang showcases works of master calligraphers Rasheed Butt and Gohar Qalam as well as upcoming artists Bin Qulandar and Arif Khan.

Egyptian Ambassador Said Hindam, who inaugurated the exhibition said, “It is exceedingly important for us to promote Pakistani art so that it becomes well known all over the world.”

He said that as part of that endeavour, institutions such as Satrang could help make younger artists of Pakistan known in the world, which was how they would make a future in the field of art.

“Four years ago, I helped with the creation of this gallery by showcasing calligraphic art on the Egyptian national day,” he added.

Titled “Hurouf” (letters in Arabic), the exhibition thematically was common though, each of the artists’ works carried a distinct style.

Bin Qulandar’s works in bold red and blues were perhaps very striking. He creates intricate visual patterns with traditional Arabesque, spiral like patterns, which are reminiscent of the Fibonacci sequence.

“My work is my communication with the Almighty. As I studied especially about the Arabic calligraphic alphabets, I learnt that each word has its own identity and anatomy, so I decided to accept the challenge of trying to achieve the hidden truth of art in calligraphy,” says Qulandar.

Works of Rasheed Butt, a world-renowned calligrapher, on display are minimalistic yet bold. His plain black canvases are the perfect backdrops for the thick, gold-painted Quranic verses.

“It gives me much pride to know that my hand is an instrument in creating delightful expression of this divine message,” Butt says.

“Rasheed Butt’s paintings, in which he has written a thousand ayats (verses), is so close to his heart that he is unsure about selling it,” says Asma Rashid Khan, curator and director of the gallery.

Gohar Qalam presents traditional and perfectly balanced calligraphy pieces. Visually his paintings reflect the splendour and are passionate in their praise of God.

Arif Khan has created beautifully crafted delicate scripts using energetic and thick swipes of raw paint.

Published in The Express Tribune, July 10th, 2015.