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Artist recalls impact of UAE’s 41 years on calligraphy

Many people now come to the UAE to present their art work from different countries, says calligrapher

  • By Noor Nazzal, Special to Gulf News
  • Published: 21:30 November 26, 2012
  • Gulf News

  • Image Credit: Pankaj Sharma/Gulf News
  • Calligraphy artist Al Jallaf explains his work during the exhibition of Islamic calligraphy being held at DIFC.

Dubai: A calligraphy artist says the impact of the UAE’s 41 years of giving has succeeded in transforming the UAE into a worldwide hub where calligraphy artists from all over the world meet to showcase their work.

Calligraphy artist and consultant at Quality Control at Dubai Health Authority, Khalid Al Jallaf, spoke to Gulf News about the experience he had being a calligraphy artist in the UAE 33 years ago, at an art exhibition, Silent Prayers.

“I started learning calligraphy in 1979 at the age of 15. Back then we did not have UAE-based calligraphy masters, neither did we have books about calligraphy as there was no concentration on calligraphy. The only resource that I used to learn calligraphy was the headlines of the only newspaper available back then which was Al Ittihad.”

Al Jallaf also depended on calligraphy masters who came from Iraq to teach him about the basics of calligraphy. “We started calling on some masters from all over the world to come to Dubai then we started conducting workshops and exhibitions. The government also started showing their interest through launching exhibitions and competitions as they have learnt that calligraphy is not only art, it contributes to our roots, history and heritage. We are now the main producers of calligraphy in the world [and] many people now come to the UAE to present their art work from different countries,” he added.

As for the 15 pieces that are exhibited in the Silent Prayer exhibition by Al Jallaf, some are compromised of pure calligraphy while others incorporate Islamic architecture with calligraphy to show the relationship between calligraphy and other Islamic art. They also incorporate a mosaic pattern to reflect Al Jallaf’s view on life.

The exhibition also showcases work by Pakistani calligraphy master Ahmad Khan where his pieces deal with abstract forms.

The Silent Prayer exhibition will showcase 30 paintings and will run from November 24-28, at the DIFC Atrium.

— Noor Nazzal is an intern at Gulf News

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