My obsession is Arabic Calligraphy
Like most people, I started drawing at an early age and always dreamt of going to art school. Luckily, I never stopped dreaming (or drawing). Well, due to circumstances, my life took some very different paths, but I finally managed to get myself into an art class in my late 20's.
I was fortunate to be able to study Arabic in Syria between 2002-2003. It was at the Abu Nour University in Damascus, where our Khatt (arabic calligraphy) teacher, Professor Adham Fadi Al-Ja'fari would give us basic lessons in the Riq'a script. We were awestruck by his Diwani style calligrams he drew on he chalkboard which often caused the class noise to drop immediately. After some years of returning back home, I had a burning desire to dive deeper into the art of Arabic Calligraphy.
My father then suggested I sit with a friend of his, Dr Sulaiman Nordien whose passion and love for the art of calligraphy and poetry was infectious. Dr Sulaiman was a surgeon and his handling and pen manipulation techniques were impressive due to many years of practice, initially being self taught and eventually taught by master calligraphers from Egypt, Turkey and Iran. At the time (somewhere in 2009), he worked close by and offered to teach at my home. We agreed on a time each week but due to his work commitments, we could not continue for very long. He introduced me to the works of Ibn Al-Faaridh whose Qaseeda Al-khamriyya became my daily mashq/practice.
My journey of Khatt-Al-Arabiy has led me to exciting things. In November 2017, at the request and invitation of local artist Nisa Gaibie, I held my first Arabic Calligraphy introduction course. The class was full, but more full of joy and excitement as I met amazing people and made new friends, Alhamdulillah. The 1 month crash course became popular and ever since, many people have completed the course whilst some achieved certificates for completing the 100 day challenge.
In 2018, I joined SAFIA (South African Foundation for Islamic Art) where I was part of some exhibitions which was organised by the foundation, as well as external ones like the Cape Town Art Fair, and Cape Town Ramadan for all event at the Castle of Goodhope. In 2019, I left SAFIA as I decided to focus more on the development of Arabic calligraphy in SA and founded the Arabic Calligraphers South Africa (ACSA website www.acsa.org.za ) which is the first guild for Arabic calligraphy and its supporting book arts like Ebru, paper making, guilding, and illumination design (floral, vegetative and geometric). We are supported by AWQAFSA and guided by master calligraphers. Like our facebook page https://web.facebook.com/Arabic-Calligraphers-South-Africa-557544671434568/ to keep up to date with events and relevant content.
In December 2019, Arabic Calligraphers SA held its inaugural exhibition called Seas of Ink, in conjunction with Jam'eyyatul Qurra institute. Master calligraphers Hj Noor Deen, Hj Fatima Cao Yiying, Muhammad Hobe, Refik Carikci, and Sh Abdul Hamid exhibited their artworks to the public.
Over the past few years I have done mostly commissioned work for friends, family and their networks, and most of these paintings were not photographed due to privacy. I hope to be documenting more of my work on this website so that it would encourage me to improve my knowledge and skills.
Last but not least, I would like to mention that I do have another passion which is a different form of art. It is the Malay Martial Art called Seni Silat or Pencak Silat. You can hop over to our website www.senisilatcapetown.co.za if this interests you :)