Well known contemporary calligrapher Mohammad Bozorgi wants to convey a sense of hope amidst the darkness of the conflicts in the region through his beautiful paintings and silk screen prints in his latest exhibition, Dance in the Dark. The Iranian artist has used bright colours and delicate line work, done with traditional calligraphy tools, to transform text into fluid forms that celebrate the beauty of the universe and the tranquility and magnificence of nature as manifestations of divine creation.
Bozorgi has a degree in biomedical engineering but his love for art led him to study and master various forms of calligraphy. He is recognised as a leading figure among a new generation of calligraphers who seeks to contemporise this traditional art form through experimental formalism. In keeping with the aesthetic principles of Islamic art, his compositions are based on precise mathematical structures and symmetry, and despite his innovations in the script, he never deviates from the meaning of the words.
In his new paintings, the artist has used the principles of geometry to create abstract illusions of depth and space, and played with the letters to create texts that are infused with energy and positivism and seem to move across the canvas, radiating from and returning to the centre like the cyclical rhythms of nature.
By using many different colours, textures and words in his layered compositions, he has beautifully expressed philosophical and spiritual concepts about creation, collective consciousness, the eternal journey of the soul, and transcendence. “Today, we are surrounded by the darkness of war, destruction and great human suffering. I believe that an artist must create work that brings some hope, happiness and light into viewers lives. So I have used colours such as violet, gold and green, that signify divinity, light, and nature, and even used special paints that glow in the dark. The texts in my paintings include various names of God, and uplifting words from the Koran, and from Persian poems that remind us of the beauty of the universe, and the benevolence of God, and urge us to maintain our faith and strive to find the light within us,” Bozorgi says.
The artist has also experimented for the first time with silk screen printing to explore new ways of aligning traditional calligraphy with contemporary visual culture. “I had to create my own silkscreen tools, and develop new printmaking techniques to print my complex compositions, but this new medium has given me the freedom to use more colours and new forms to express myself,” he says.
Jyoti Kalsi is an arts-enthusiast based in Dubai.
Dance in the Dark will run at Ayyam Gallery, DIFC until August 30.