Russian ‘calligrafitti’ artist seeks to merge the world’s languages

Updated 23 April 2019
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Russian ‘calligrafitti’ artist seeks to merge the world’s languages

DUBAI: Dubai’s Opera Gallery just unveiled its latest exhibition — a rare look at the work of up-and-coming Russian artist Pokras Lampas, who creates calligraphy with non-Arabic scripts.

Set to run until May 4 in the gallery’s Dubai International Financial Center location, the exhibit showcases the artist’s unique canvas work.

The artist, who marries calligraphy with street art techniques, spoke to Arab News about the moment he discovered the art of calligraphy, after working as a graffiti artist in Moscow.

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“I used to do a lot of work on the street with graffiti artists and one day I found that there was a new (style) of art called ‘calligrafitti.’ I was like ‘wow,’ I had never seen it before,” he said.

Lampas started researching the art form and visited museums around the world in a bid to understand more. He was particularly inspired by the likes of Niels “Shoe” Meulman, an Amsterdam-based artist whose style draws on Japanese, European and Arabic calligraphy, and Tunisia’s El Seed.

He told Arab News that the artists furthered his interest in the art form — “how it can be created… and how, at the same time, to respect the history of calligraphy.”

The artist started out as a street artist and gained fame by winning local graffiti competitions, as well as “tagging” his name on walls around Moscow.

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“I used to be a graffiti artist and work for 5-6 hours, or a few days in a row,” he said, adding that he now typically takes 30-40 hours to complete one piece of art.

“The base of my work is to research how I can deconstruct the shape of the existing language and recreate it with influence from other countries and other cultural backgrounds,” he added, explaining how his use of the Latin alphabet separates his work from traditional Arabic calligraphy.

The 27-year-old artist expanded on his use of international scripts, saying he sees a future in which international alphabets can “be merged by different countries to be more multi-cultural, different and unique.”

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His travels have taken him across the world in a bid to learn more about his chosen art form — and he is keen to make is mark by molding the future of calligraphy.

“I’m not going to travel (just) to get inspiration. I’m trying to explore the world of calligraphy and communication of different cultures and merge it together to see how calligraphy can be changed in the future.”


Where We Are Going Today: Cloud 9

Updated 19 July 2019
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Where We Are Going Today: Cloud 9

  • Cloud 9 has rapidly gained popularity in Jeddah

This is one of the most appropriately named cafes in Jeddah, because its coffee takes you to Cloud 9.

Cloud 9 has rapidly gained popularity in Jeddah, becoming the center of attention in events like the Gamers Con and XJED. The cafe itself is extremely cozy and is commonly defined as a place with good vibes and music, making it the best place for friends to spend time together.

For coffee they have trained baristas who add their own twists on the coffee, such as their salted caramel coffee, served with the rim of the cup coated in salt and caramel to add an extra punch of flavor.

They also serve amazing savory dishes such as their Fattoush Salad, Pronto Pasta. For people seeking healthier options, they have sweeter snacks such as granola with fruits.

And there is even more to the place than its amazing food and coffee — they also serve iced tea, making the cafe ideal for everyone who wants to have a fun time.