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Group art exhibition illustrates versatility, potential of Arabic calligraphy

By Mays Ibrahim Mustafa - Apr 04,2023 - Last updated at Apr 04,2023

Calligraphy works on display at the Foresight32 Art Gallery in Amman (Photo courtesy of Foresight32 Art Gallery)

AMMAN — Two generations of Arab artists are celebrating Arabic calligraphy, through 25 paintings, featuring both classical patterns and contemporary interpretations. 

Their artworks are displayed in an art exhibition titled “Ramadan Spiritualities”. It opened last Tuesday at the Foresight32 Art Gallery in Amman.  

“The elements present in displayed paintings align with the holy month of Ramadan, which is a time for spiritual renewal and self-reflection,” Foresight32 founder Suad Issawi told The Jordan Times. 

The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) added Arabic calligraphy to its Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity list in December, 2021.

"Arabic calligraphy is the artistic practice of handwriting Arabic script in a fluid manner to convey harmony, grace and beauty," UNESCO said in a statement issued following the decision.  

"The fluidity of Arabic script offers infinite possibilities, even within a single word, as letters can be stretched and transformed in numerous ways to create different motifs,” it added. 

Jordanian formative artist and critic Mohammad Alameri said that the exhibition provides visitors with the opportunity to look at different patterns of Arabic calligraphy through both modern and classical lenses. 

“The richness and diversity of displayed paintings highlights the versatility and infinite artistic potential of Arabic calligraphy,” he told The Jordan Times. 

A statement by Foresight32, made available to The Jordan Times, noted that the exhibition’s artworks vary between abstract and traditional paintings, some of which incorporate Islamic elements. 

The gallery, for example, describes the works of Iraqi artist Jasim Mohammad as an attempt to “liberate Arabic letters from their conventional moulds”.

The artist is employing modern formative techniques to show the beauty of Arabic calligraphy; this is partly achieved by using brightly coloured gradients to create a scene of “organised chaos” that allows letters to float in free open spaces, it stated. 

Other participating artists include Adnan Yahya from Jordan, Zaman Jassim from Saudi Arabia and Mohammad Ghannoum from Syria in addition to Turky Abd Alamier, Omar Farouk Alathame, Abd Al Hasan Al Rekabe, Ali Al Ebadi, Hashim Baghdadi and Hareth Al Hudaithi from Iraq. 

The exhibition runs until May 4, welcoming visitors every day, except Friday, from 10am to 5pm.

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