Traditional Islamic calligraphy exhibition opens at Lok Virsa
ISLAMABAD: An exhibition of traditional Islamic calligraphy “Mesmerising Colours of Peace and Tradition” by eminent artist Muhammad Azeem Iqbal and others opened at Lok Virsa on Tuesday.
The exhibition features over 150 masterpieces portraying unique calligraphic art styles, in connection with the holy month of Ramazan. It attracted a number of visitors.
The inaugural ceremony was held at the Pakistan National Museum of Ethnology, popularly known as Heritage Museum. Ministry of Information, Broadcasting and National Heritage Joint Secretary Mashhood Ahmed Mirza was the chief guest on the occasion.
In his address, Mirza appreciated the artworks and said, “Pakistan has a deep and historical background of calligraphic traditions which have been beautifully showcased by Azeem Iqbal in his masterpieces.”
He also commended the services of Lok Virsa and its Chief Executive Khalid Javaid for promoting the cultural heritage of Pakistan, especially Islamic traditions such as calligraphic art. He assured support from his ministry for every initiative aimed at projection and promotion of Pakistani culture and the practitioners associated with them.
Earlier, in his welcoming remarks, Lok Virsa’s Executive Director Khalid Javaid introduced the artist and shed light on his contribution in promotion of Islamic calligraphy in the country.
He said Muhammad Azeem Iqbal is into Islamic art and calligraphy for the last twenty-five years and has introduced a unique identity in his art and many artists have also endorsed his calligraphic style. Instead of traditional calligraphy, he replicated the classical styles of calligraphy from the early days of Islam by using similar materials and resources of that era.
Azeem Iqbal addresses evolution of Islamic art and calligraphy in his work and added a new dimension in this field that may be called as portrayal of Islamic history and evolution of Quranic calligraphy. Most of his work focuses on the chronological evolution of calligraphy in Islamic art. His work also symbolises the cultural identity of entire Islamic world, he added.
He collaged various indigenous resources and traditional material such as bones, wood, leather, deer’s skin, gold and silver leaves in his art.
He also pioneered the tradition of using Aab-e-Zam Zam (sacred Zam Zam water of Makkah) to dilute the colours that are used to write verses of the holy Quran. His work has been showcased across Pakistan and abroad. Recently, he has created a series of Quranic calligraphy to promote the message of peace and humanity through art.
Calligraphy, the art that combines visual image and written word, is perhaps at its most brilliance in the arts of Islam.
Islamic calligraphy traditionally took its inspiration from the Muslim belief in the divine origin of Arabic writing, the medium through which the Quranic revelation to Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) was recorded.
In early Islam, the sanctity of Arabic writing was accepted among Arabs and non-Arabs alike, and its use in sacred and official texts gave rise to a wonderful profusion of scripts, and a calligraphic tradition which has flourished for over a thousand years – not only in manuscript decoration in architecture, ceramics and painting.
Arabic is written from right to left and consists of characters which, with the additions of dots placed above or below certain of them, provide the letters of the Arabic and many other modified letters in languages throughout the Islamic world.
Certain characters may be joined to their neighbours, while others stand alone.
When they stand alone or occur at the end of a word, they ordinarily terminate in a bold stroke; when they appear in the middle of a word, they are ordinarily joined to the letter following by a small, upward curved stroke.
With the exception of six letters, which can be joined only to the preceding ones, the initial and medial letters are much abbreviated, while the final form consists of the initial form with a triumphant flourish.
These features give the script its particular character. A line of Arabic suggests an urgent progress of the characters from right to left.
The balance between the vertical shafts above and the open curves below the middle register induces a sense of harmony. For writing, the calligrapher employs a reed pen (qalam) with the working point cut at an angle.