Calligraphy

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JEDDAH: Calligraphy is an ancient art form that has been practiced for thousands of years, and even today people continue to employ this medium, which evolved from a simple aesthetic way of transmitting the Arabic language, to express their own creativity.

Each artist who practices calligraphy adds something original. One of them is Saudi national Mohammed Bajubair, a 34-year-old calligrapher who has taken Arabic poems and transcribed them in a way that creates portraits of people.

Typographic art, where words are written to create images, is well suited to twisting, embellishing, and bending Arabic letters in a way that flows together.

Bajubair’s work is stunning and breathtakingly beautiful. From a distance it looks like an accurate portrait – the most famous of the Kingdom’s royals – but on closer inspection the words become clearer.

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Mazen Basaqer has used all sorts of mediums for his calligraphy, from mural painting on large walls to tote bags to sculpting perfume bottles.

“The sentences, words and poems I use are related to the person I draw. There is always a connection between the text I use and the person I have decided to represent,” said Bajubair , explaining how his work brings art and literature together.

He says he discovered this style of drawing “after learning calligraphy properly. I decided to apply the rules of typography to calligraphy and started to organize calligraphy in a way that looked like realistic portraits. I developed it in my own way to be able to distinguish myself among artists.

Bajubair said it was his wish to stand out from a crowd of highly creative people, to reach enough people with his artwork and leave a positive imprint for future generations.

The sentences, words and poems I use are related to the person I draw. There is always a link between the text I use and the person I have decided to represent.

mohamed bajubair

There are three great calligraphers who generally define the golden age of Arabic calligraphy: Ibn Muqla (886-940 AD), who is known as the inventor of the Thuluth style of calligraphy; Ibn Al-Buwwab (961-1022) who worked with the round script of the Arabic language, and Yakut Al-Musta’simi of Amasya (d. 1298) who refined the six styles of Arabic calligraphy.

The six main styles of Arabic calligraphy are Thuluth, Nesish, Muhakkak, Reyhami, Teuki and Rika.

Mazen Basaqer, a calligrapher, defines the form as “like my sanctuary”.

He said being such a big part of history makes calligraphy a sacred art. Yet to make it his own, he said he first practiced the rules of origin. “Once I mastered the calligraphy and was sure I understood the rules, I started to develop my style.”

Basaqer used all sorts of mediums for his calligraphy, from mural painting on large walls to tote bags to sculpting perfume bottles; he managed to embellish everything, to take an object and turn it into a priceless work of art.

He said calligraphy has also moved from the physical world to social media, and in this way, Arabs can reconnect with their ancient art, and people who are unfamiliar with it can discover it.

“The art of Arabic calligraphy is not (only) an ancient art (but is) present in our present lives at all times. The period we live in can also be considered a golden period because I can reach my audience with just one touch,” Basaqer said.