Contemporary Arabic Calligraphy
Arabic writing is directly related to the identity of Omani artists, including Salman Alhajri, and their cultural background. These artworks shows how the beauty of Arabic letters comes from its indefinite possibilities in designing calligraphic expressions, even within a single letter or word, because Arabic letters, in specific, can be stretched and transformed in various ways to create attractive compositions. As artist, Salman is interested in employing new media applications in this kind of practice to find new techniques for creating artwork based on Arabic calligraphy. Salman encourage all Omani artists to practice in this art style as Arabic calligraphy and its flexibility introduce infinite possibilities that involve further exploration and investigation.
UNIQUE PROPERTIES / PROJECT DESCRIPTION:
These artworks are examples of my contemporary Arabic Calligraphy design-based artworks which represent Arabic calligraphy as the main theme. I am fascinated by Arabic writing and calligraphic art forms which combine both spiritual meaning and aesthetic beauty. It is the main unique icon of Islamic art. Therefore, Arabic writing is related directly to my identity and my cultural background. These artworks are designed by Adobe Illustrator and Kelk (calligraphy software). The final design are limited printed in coated canvas, by a high resolution Laserjet Canon printer.
My art of contemporary Arabic calligraphy is a new form of art that faces in some Arabic cultural challenges and themes. This kind of Art is a printer art form which is an example of the intersection between Art and technology. It is an original practice of the creative artist who always searching for new media and for new novel solutions for socio-cultural problems. It starts by exploring the aesthetic features of Arabic Calligraphy as a unique icon of Islamic art. The artist explore his art profile as one of Omani artist who practice the printed art production.
OPERATION / FLOW / INTERACTION:
Alhajri is trying to introduce the beauty of Arabic letters from a new aesthetic point of view. He also aims to create unusual visual effects that viewers can easily interact with. Even though words and phrases appear in Alhajri’s artwork, they do not convey direct meanings: viewers can create their own meaning or expressions from them by appreciating the compositions, colour harmony, shapes, contrasts and lines of the artwork. His works of art show how the beauty of Arabic letters comes from the indefinite possibilities in designing calligraphic expressions, even within a single word, as letters can be stretched and transformed in various ways to create different compositions. So audience from different backgrounds can interact with the artworks.
PROJECT DURATION AND LOCATION:
To project duration was during two years 3 hours per week, most of the Arabic calligraphy was completed when I was doing a PhD research at UK, only 3 of them was in Oman. Each artwork need more than 20 hours to design and one hour to printed and produces. The project was conducted in Loughborough, UK.
FITS BEST INTO CATEGORY:
Arts, Crafts and Ready-Made Design
PRODUCTION / REALIZATION TECHNOLOGY:
Digital Graphical Artworks, produced by Adobe Illustrator CS 5 and Kelk 2010, printed in a high quality coated canvas, by a high resolution printer (Canon W7200) large / wide format color plotter 36". All Artworks are limited edition of 10 and are not reproduced
SPECIFICATIONS / TECHNICAL PROPERTIES:
Limited edition, graphical artwork, Adobe Illustrator and Kelk, printed on coated canvas, high resolution LaserJet printer
New Perspective, 2009, limited edition, graphical artwork, Adobe Illustrator and Kelk, printed on coated canvas, high resolution LaserJet printer, size 112X82 CM, Calligraphy Rhythm, 2008, Moon, desert, and poetry, 2008, The Unique Beauty, 2009, New Horizon, 2009,
Alhajri discussed the elements that constitute contemporary Arabic calligraphy and graphic art. He also provided a comparison between classical and contemporary forms of Arabic calligraphy.
According to Alhajri, contemporary Arabic calligraphy, is a form of art where artists can reflect their own identity and cultural background. As for graphic art, it reflects the artists' feelings and state of mind. When filling the white canvas, the artist can subconsciously and for a specific period of time, use or add the same set of colors in his work, based on his current environment.
Comparing between classical and contemporary Arabic calligraphy, Alhajri pointed out that the main difference lies in the degree of freedom allowed within each form. In classical form, there is less freedom to interpret art work, which limits creativity, due to the standards required, such as mathematical measures. With contemporary forms, there is more freedom to use different compositions and create new formats with letters.
Speaking about his design techniques, Alhajri demonstrated some of his artwork and explained the different compositions used and the value of each design. The use of different elements and the value of contrast between colors add to an artist's style and give a unique identity. Alhajri also pointed out the importance of experimenting with new forms of art, using new techniques and different compositions. He emphasized how he experiments with the use of laser in printing letters on glass, and how he is always seeking new ways of experimenting with art.
Alhajri concluded his lecture by urging students to research and learn the different elements of design, as it is important for artists and graphic designers to practice with an extensive knowledge. He also encouraged students to follow their intuitions and look for main shapes repeated in their artwork as a starting point to define their style.
This kind of art is new in Oman, and people thought it is a completely computers production, and the role of the artist is limited. In fact, this understanding is limited and is a challenge for the artist and it was the most difficult issue when designing the artworks. Yet it is an interesting topic for research. Dr. Salman mastered this issue by provoking a new understanding, he believes that Arabic artists in general and Omani artists specifically are fascinated by the art forms of Arabic calligraphy, which combine spiritual meaning and aesthetic beauty. Arabic writing is directly related to the identity of Omani artists and their cultural background.
TEAM MEMBERS (1) :
Dr. Salman Alhajri, 2013.