RIYADH: The spellbinding beauty of exquisitely scripted words set against white walls was almost overpowering at the Arabic Calligraphy Gallery that ran as part of Misk Art 2018 in Riyadh.
The gallery presented visitors with the dynamic curls and swirls of the written word that characterize Arabic calligraphy — some of the pieces on show featured whole verses of the Qur’an, while others were smaller, more delicate works.
The exhibit, which will close its doors on Saturday, was curated by Fahad Al-Mujahidi, a calligrapher who was mentored by a renowned calligraphy artist in Turkey, Hassan Jalabi.
“We picked the calligraphy works based on its artistic value,” Al-Mujahidi told Arab News.
“We picked the most prominent calligraphers in the world — from Turkey, Pakistan, Iraq, Syria, Egypt, Yemen and Saudi Arabia,” he added.
When asked what his favorite piece in the gallery was, he said: “They are all close to my heart, but my favorite would be the ones by Daud Baktash,” a Turkey-based artist who is widely considered a master calligrapher.
“One of the most difficult Arabic handwriting (forms) is Al-Thulth then Al-Naskh,” Al-Mujahidi said, referring to two of the many different recognized styles of Arabic calligraphy. “I am specialized in both. It is a rich art and we continue to learn its trade.”
Seventeen calligraphers showcased their masterpieces in the exhibition, including Mohammad Farouq, Muthana Al-Obaidi, Ahmad Fares and Mohammad Özçay among others.
Although Misk Art 2018 has wrapped up, art aficionados will still be able to see the final creations of the Misk International Sculpture Symposium. Curated by the Saudi sculptor Ali Al-Tokhais, the event sees 21 artists from 13 countries gather in the capital to create original art pieces out of locally sourced marble blocks over the space of three weeks.
Misk Art 2018 also featured a special exhibit curated by Jeddah-based Athr Gallery — a contemporary and modern art fair that showcased eight Saudi galleries in a diverse exhibition of local creativity.
Another section, titled Every Possible Angle, presented audiences with fresh and unexpected forms of technology-driven art.