Clash of two worlds: Calligraffiti by Abdulrahman Al-Nugamshi

1 / 6
2 / 6
3 / 6
4 / 6
5 / 6
6 / 6
Updated 23 June 2014
0

Clash of two worlds: Calligraffiti by Abdulrahman Al-Nugamshi

The art world is a diverse world full of expectations, surprises, collaborations and ingenuity as well as a heady mix between ancient and modern. There are no limits when it comes to producing pieces of expressionism that define what the artist is trying to portray. What defines an artist is not only his work, it’s also his passion in the pieces he produces and the personal touches that make his piece what it is. Calligraphy is one of the oldest known arts of the Islamic world as well as other cultures such as the Japanese, the Indians and old European too. Calligraphy has since seen a major shift in progressing movement, specifically Arabic calligraphy. With veterans of old Arabic and Islamic calligraphy such as Ibn Muqlah in Iraq during the Abbasi Caliphate or Isaac bin Hamaad in the Syria Region in the early years of the Abbasi Caliphate as well, considered to be the peak period of experimenting and perfecting the Arabic Islamic font. Fonts in the Islamic world have not seen much change except for additions to the number of Arabic fonts until recent times when experimentation has been upgraded to a whole other level.
Many who venture into the world of typography and fonts are introduced to a variety of methods and tools that help them create a font line that portrays their level of creativity, that does not mean that one must find a complex creation for it to be great work. Some of the simplest lines and strokes can be beautiful pieces like in the Japanese or Chinese fonts. One of the bold artists to venture into this world is Abdulrahman Al-Nugamshi, a Saudi calligraffiti artist who by no means found his love for calligraphy from a young age during his elementary school years. “One of my first calligraphy teachers was very passionate about it and for some reason he kept encouraging me and pushed harder with my assignments and school work regarding calligraphy, I didn’t understand his passion at first but now I do,” says Abdulrahman. His interest then expanded into more foreign arts. “I was always fascinated by the Japanese and their use of drawings like their manga and their calligraphy and how smooth and silky it looked, it was very appealing and attracted me at a profound level. I’ve never studied Japanese art form or calligraphy but I was a fond reader and admirer and educated myself through reading and understanding their methods and reasons why they use such materials.”
Though without a university degree, Abdulrahman was able to get into the branding business and then moved on to discovering the strange art of graffiti, and combining it with calligraphy. “I discovered my love for Arabic calligraphy about seven years ago and found that it’s not being used by many in this day and age, it’s been misused and put aside. So I made it my mission to use Arabic in my work because that is what makes me who I am, it makes my work what it is.”
Throughout the discovery time that Abdulrahman was engrossed in, he found it a bit restricted when it comes to use of materials, he wanted to expand and wanted more diversity. It was then that he met what he calls “the godfathers” that influenced many of his ideas, Yoji Shinkawa, Hassan Massoudy, Mouneer El Shaaeani and their influence helped him find what it was he was looking for, thus starting his career into the world of Arabic calligraphy. He was then introduced to Neils Shoe online, the creator of the word “calligraffiti” and method. There was a shift in his style then and there. “I was fascinated with his use of materials, so I started to experiment, starting with a broom on the outside walls of my home. The lines that are produced from a broom have interesting patterns, I trained in using it for three months with frustrating results at first, until slowly I started to understand the use of it and how to manipulate the brush strokes of the broom to get the results I want. It was an accomplishment that I found myself keenly interested in. That was my introduction into the world of calligraffiti,” said Abdulrahman.
“A real artist creates his own material,” is what Abdulrahman believes because of his experiments using different materials such as pieces of silk or fabric in a broom or brush to elongate the paint. Abdulrahman’s work hasn’t gone unnoticed, his work has been the talk of many workshops and designer meets in Saudi Arabia, Dubai, Abu Dhabi and many more places. His work is very personal and yet very much out there for everyone to see and appreciate, you can truly see the beauty of the Arabic language in the unprecedented strokes provided in his work. It is his commitment to the Arabic language that makes it more than special, it makes it unique.
Be sure to follow Abdulrahman’s work on is Instagram and YouTube under the name of Nugamshi. Stay tuned to more of his projects coming up in the next few months.

Email: [email protected]


With Saudi roots and an Indian heart, Al-Kazi is an act the stage will never forget

Ebrahim Al-Kazi. (Social media)
Updated 21 February 2019
0

With Saudi roots and an Indian heart, Al-Kazi is an act the stage will never forget

  • Though an icon in India, few people know about Al-Kazi’s Saudi roots

JEDDAH: India has always been a hub of art and culture. Over the last century, movies emerged as the most expressive cultural medium, and the Indian film industry — commonly known as Bollywood — has since become a powerhouse of world cinema.

One can never do its history justice without mentioning Ebrahim Al-Kazi.

A renowned director and drama teacher, he worked as the director of the prestigious New Delhi-based National School of Drama (NSD) from 1962 to 1977, teaching many well-known future actors and fellow directors, including Om Puri, Naseeruddin Shah and Rohini Hattangadi. He also founded the Art Heritage Gallery in New Delhi.

Though an Indian icon, however, few people know about Al-Kazi’s Saudi roots. His father, Hamad bin Ali Al-Kazi, was a trader from Unaiza in the Kingdom’s Qassim region, who subsequently settled in Pune, India, where Ebrahim was born in 1925. 

Early on in his career, Al-Kazi worked with the Bombay Progressive Artists Group, which included M.F. Husain, F.N. Souza, S.H. Raza, Akbar Padamsee and Tyeb Mehta, who would all later contribute to the design of his sets.

He worked in India, the US and Europe before becoming the director of the NSD, and later of the Asian Theater Institute, and is credited with staging more than 50 plays in his lifetime. He also contributes to the preservation of Indian cultural history through his Al-Kazi Foundation for the Arts.

In February 2015, Al-Kazi was honored at the second Saudi Film Festival in Dammam. He was later quoted in Arab media sources on his Saudi upbringing: “Our father was a firm believer in our cultural roots that went back to Saudi Arabia, and we spoke only Arabic at home. We had a teacher of Arabic and Islamic studies who came from Saudi Arabia, and lived as part of our family.

“Arab families (in India) did not mix very much with others, but my father had close ties with people other than Arabs,” he added.

Al-Kazi has also won many prestigious Indian awards. He was the first recipient of Roopwedh Pratishthan’s Tanvir Award in 2004 for his contribution to Indian theater, and in 1966 received the Padma Shri award. He won the Padma Bhushan award in 1991, and was given India’s second highest civilian award, the Padma Vibhushan, in 2010.