Rendering The Tradition

FD-AsianGeo-No81-Issue-42011-Cover

This article “Rendering The Tradition” was first featured in: Asian Geographic magazine, Cultures of Islam Edition. No. 81 Issue 4/2011. Pg 86.

Article written by: Faizal Somadi. • Featured calligraphy masthead design on cover by: Faizal Somadi • Photography by: Jon Ramlan/Hairol Mahsus

When the Holy Quran commands: “Read!”, I recalled the teachings of my late grandfather who taught me about the evolution of scripts through religion, culture and civilization which reflects the importance of communication in delivering knowledge to mankind. From cavemen’s illustrations on the mountain walls, to scripts written on parchments and to the world of pixels that take forms of the digital language. It is a wonder how these systems of communication evolved from the practicality of it to the fine artistry in it.

Doodling, scribbling and drawing are my natural habits as young as two years old. At eight, I adopted my grandfather’s habits of writing a dairy, admiring his handwritings even until he passed away. It was fortunate to receive my first calligraphy lesson when I was only ten in the elementary school. By eleven, apart from drawing, copying school textbooks was my simple hobby. The joy of writing bloomed further as I excel in calligraphy through which I created some monumental pieces for my high school. Despite being comfortable with it, I never want to use it for my art examination subject. Ever since then, it has become a hobby and a habit.

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Khat Workshop @ American Women’s Association [2017 MAY 17]

Khat Workshop @ American Women’s Association

Arabic Calligraphy Workshop

2017 May 17: Wednesday. 10 am. Arts & Culture, American Women’s Association. 10 Claymore Hill. Singapore.

Every workshop is different. The audience, the age groups, the backgrounds, the exposures, and the venue, the space, even the equipment, the settings, the building, the walls, the air, the colours, the tone, the language, all together, will form an identity of its own. The organiser usually plays a very important role in this. They are pretty much the primary determinant of the whole workshop. It makes the facilitator looks good or bad. And at times, the facilitator can also be the determinant to make a workshop looks good or bad. Every workshop has its own characters. And even having the same of everything twice, it will never be the same.

We are truly honoured for the invite to conduct a very cosy workshop at American Women’s Association. For less than 20 participants, it is ideally the pace and space that we are very comfortable with. And this time round we had a very brief historical session and used videos to capture their senses into the insights of khat. As you can see in the photos: demonstrations, practises, pens, inks and papers, and biscuits, cakes and coffees, all just go along on one long table together. The visual and sound aids are excellent, and it feels very much like having a joyous family activity.

Thank you Pritika Sharma and Maria Moran. The audience is truly wonderful, and we’ll be delighted to serve you again.

FS/2017/may/30

THANK YOU AMERICAN WOMEN’S ASSOCIATION.

Khat Workshop @ Esplanade [2017 APR 22-23]

Khat Workshop @ Esplanade: Tapestry of Sacred Music 

Beginners’ Arabic Calligraphy Workshop

2017 April 22-23 : Sat-Sun. 10am. Esplanade, Bay Room. Singapore.

From 2012 to 2014, we have been conducting workshops at the Esplanade. We did the “open” style, or open-workshop: open to public, free-flow seatings, first-come-first-serve seats, stay and play all you want, come and go as you wish, along with free flow of worksheets. With over 500 participants within total span of 6-8 hours, yes it was a hit. And also yes, very messy indeed. We have gatekeepers, headcount monitors, security officers, and massive queue and passing peeping traffic. Then, we moved on to “closed” style, a very controlled workshop: limited registration of seats, limited time, and a closed venue with much comfort, space and privacy for participants to breathe well with the activities.

So here it is 2017, we were called up for a comeback. We made a stronger emphasis on the objective for “beginners'” workshop. We cut off all visual aids, and we go back to the intimate basics of story-telling-demonstrations and follow-to-practise. With no gadgets involved, under limited 90 minutes, it went much better than expected. The primary objective: to foster relations between the person, the pen, the ink and the paper. Only then, they’ll be able to explore the alphabetic forms.

But seriously, we really hope for a good 120-150 minutes. It takes time for the participants to grasp the feel of the materials and the alphabet. While it’s a quiet world on the outside, it’s a world of multi-dimensional conversations on the inside.

It feels great returning to Esplanade. We discovered interesting frequencies and textures of different people. Some come being naturally curious and adventurous, and some may appear from a different whimsy wonderland. And there are those just appeared very stoic and sophisticated.

Thank you to the managers and producers for this opportunity of sharing calligraphy with the public. And thank you readers for dropping by exploring our photos. We hope to see you in our sessions!

FS/2017/May/30

THANK YOU ESPLANADE, SHIREEN & XIANGHUI.

To take a look on some of our past workshops by Faddho, feel free to explore the links here:

• KHAT WORKSHOP @ SUNDARAM TAGORE GALLERY [2017 JAN 21]

• KHAT SHARING SESSION WITH ADM STUDENTS OF NTU [2014 AUG 19]

• INTRODUCTION TO KHAT @ ESPLANADE: BITESIZE [2014 APR 13]

• KHAT WITH DOCENTS OF FOM @ ACM [2013 OCT 05]

• CHALK AND INK @ ESPLANADE [2013 APR 20-21]

Khat Workshop @ Sundaram Tagore Gallery [2017 JAN 21]

Khat Workshop @ Sundaram Tagore Gallery 

Arabic Calligraphy Lecture & Workshop

2017 Jan 21 : Saturday. 3 – 5pm. Sundaram Tagore Gallery, 5 Lock Road 01–05, Gillman Barracks. Singapore.

FDKP-HM-170121-Sundaram Tagore Khat WS-01-SR.jpg

In conjunction with the exhibition Golnaz Fathi: Contemplations, we were honoured to be invited by Sundaram Tagore Gallery to host an Arabic calligraphy workshop. Situated in a hilly area full of colonial buildings, Gillman Barracks is indeed a hidden unique area in Singapore. The atmosphere is certainly a cosy, serene, old-school space, frozen from the bustling energy just outside its 3 km radius.

 

Regardless of language, race and religion, we always welcome everyone to our Khat (Arabic Calligraphy) Workshops to experience the art of classical Arabic calligraphy. The pen, ink and paper, are simple instruments that have built civilisations through time. To share these through our workshops, it is full of pleasurable moments where we exchange ideas and thoughts with people of different culture, races, citizens and walks of life. It is exciting to be with everyone exchanging energies to refresh and rejuvenate the values of humanity within.

 

We hope you enjoy these photos. We hope through such cultural explorations, we could cultivate a beautiful form of peace and reinstate a harmonious value of humanity in all of us.

To learn more on Golnaz Fathi and Sundaram Tagore Gallery,  you can click HERE.

And to take a look on some of our past workshops by Faddho, feel free to click to the links here:

• CHALK AND INK @ ESPLANADE [2013 APR 20-21]

• KHAT WITH DOCENTS OF FOM @ ACM [2013 OCT 05]

• INTRODUCTION TO KHAT @ ESPLANADE: BITESIZE [2014 APR 13]

• KHAT SHARING SESSION WITH ADM STUDENTS OF NTU [2014 AUG 19]

Thank you for dropping by. And we hope to see you in our sessions!

FS/2017/apr/18

THANK YOU SUNDARAM TAGORE GALLERY. PHOTOS ARE COURTESY OF MR HAIROL MAHSUS & MS FATMAWATI.

Eid Mubarak 2016!


BRR.

To all Muslims around the world, we would like to wishing you a blissful Eid Mubarak! May all be blessed with the barakah of wisdom, health and wealth in our pursuits and life journeys. Let’s extend our prayers for a healthy and safe world in the future and after.
Thank you for staying with us. Feel free to browse our galleries with more updated images. Of all, a great thank you for your loyal support!

—–

The Administrator.

Faddho. 

2016/jul/04 • 1437/syawal/01

The Practise of Khat

The traditional practise of “khat” or Arabic calligraphy is physically a very solemn quiet world. Unlike the modern street or home-style calligraphy, or fusions of urban and classical calligraffiti of modern today, it can be a lively exuberant work of art that can be publicly engaging or visually interactive, especially meeting the energetic eyes of the upcoming ultra-modern generations. However, if one may observe, it’s rooted back to emotional notions of messages, mostly caged in the hearts of the streets of everyday life, cross-firings of opinions intertwined among different levels and textures of society, only with limited materials, energised by the desire to express, thence creativity of messages sprouted quietly like viruses. It took decades crossing over the intellectual red, blue and white tapes of the society before it could be accepted as part of human science. And no they are not viruses, they are simply expressions of human energy.

The world of the pen is a different realm of civilisation. Much, much different than what we think we could justify with our intelligence, by defining and redefining things over thousands and thousands of pages, through the humble companions of pen, ink and paper. And now, the keyboard and the screen.

In this article, we are featuring a 4-min documentary video on the practise of Khat. The intention of this documentary is to give an insight to the practise of Arabic calligraphy. It unveils the quiet routine drills of a khat practitioner, whereby the moments of the heart, mind and soul are working in unison, submitting to the principles, discipline and philosophy of the craft.

While physically it’s a quiet world on the outside, it may be and extremely exhaustive world on the inside. The practitioner is constantly coordinating its senses, making deals with the pen, ink and paper, talking to the letters and spaces, at times getting lost on the track, yet searching for potential viable paths of construction, all these just to compose a message. And the practitioner is not merely dealing with what we call “pen, ink and paper”, but sensitive components of fibres, molecules and grains. A lot of times facing disagreements with all these entities, and sometimes managed agreeable terms, and seldom, a practitioner is able to achieve a successful engagement to finalised a letterform into a master class of its own. And to repeat an achievement, one has to engage another deal of negotiation, which usually grew much difficult. The higher the achievement, the more difficult to climb the path. The strive to learn, to unlearn and relearn, and to shave off every single dust of complacency at any point of time, is a must.

The submission is harsh. And therefore perfection could only be a dream. The past calligraphy masters continued their dreams to the realm of eternity.

We hope you’ve gain a better insight through our short video here. And hope that you’ve achieved a better understanding on khat. And certainly, we hope you would give it a try! And for those who have been practising, keep on it.

And if you’re interested on the craft of calligraphy pen-making, checkout our article on Qalam Crafting by clicking HERE. 

Till then thank you for keeping up with us, we hope to update more things to you in the future!

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FS/2016/mar/30

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COPYRIGHT © FADDHO. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. PRODUCED BY FADDHO KHAT RESEARCH CENTRE.
ALL CREATIVES AND INFORMATION FEATURED IN THIS MEDIA ARE PRESERVED AND PROTECTED UNDER COPYRIGHT ACT. FADDHO RESERVES THE RIGHTS TO DICTATE THIS USAGE IN WHATEVER PERIMETERS IT DEEMS FIT. THEREFORE IT IS PUNISHABLE BY LAW TO USE, COPY, DRAW, DISSEMINATE OR TO RECREATE IT IN WHICHEVER POSSIBLE.

 

Where is An Artist’s Honesty?

“There is a big difference between inspired from artists’ other works and copying from. A true artist is honest with himself and his art, he has no problem mentioning from where he got the inspiration from, while dishonest artists, they do things and pass it as (if) its their original idea. These artists are unethical and unprofessional.

There is a big difference between creative inspiration (while mentioning the source) and imitation (while saying its your invention).”

 

 

by Wissam Shawkat, 2015 November 29. www.wissamshawkat.com

 

Looking into the world of your mind, through writing.

 

FSWA-2015-Looking-Into-The-World-Of-Your-Mind-1

For those who dreaded the word “write” or even the thought of it, this may not be a suitable read for you. However if you were wondering what is there to talk about writing, I would encourage everyone and anyone to read this article, or at least try reading. Hopefully it may benefit you in some ways.

This article is not a guide on how to be a professional writer, not about styles and art of writing, not even any tips on good writing skills, and far from guiding you how to produce articles, stories, journals, novels and so on. Neither it is a guide that in any way can help you earn a living, nor by any means, tips on any particular perception of “proper writing”. However, what I’m trying to share is just some observation on the act of writing, which is an attempt to understand the relationship between you and the “act of writing”. It is where the view of writing is solely upon you, for yourself and about yourself. Most importantly, an understanding of yourself.

While some people may have difficulties in verbal expression, they are able to express their thoughts well through writing. Like otherwise, some may have good verbal communication skills but goes very bad on writing.

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Read, an Art of Exploring Your Senses.

Crafts of Ingenuity

Read.

I looked up in the dictionary, and found a lot of definition that defines the term “read”. Then also, different scholars have different definitions, interpretations, or semantics of the term or word “read”. In general, the ability to read, is the ability to understand and receive a message transmitted from a written text or script. But if reading is to be perceived as an action performed by human’s senses, do animals read too? I believe so. Even plants too.

My point here is not trying to redefine the word “read” as what as it already has by human’s intelligence. However, I’m trying to create an understanding for myself on how this act of reading works with the senses given to us and how it reacts with nature.

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Qalam Crafting

The “qalam” is generally an Arabic term for “pen”, a common domestic writing instrument. However, it is notably recognised as a calligraphy pen used in “khat” another Arabic term for calligraphy, an Arabic art of beautiful writing.

To craft a reed or bamboo into a pen is generally not much of a difficulty. A sturdy, hard and straight wooden stick is good to begin with, along with a very sharp knife (the sharper the better), which is (critically) the pen’s best friend. This is considered as a form of traditional art of crafting a pen.

However, fine-tuning or detail operations in crafting of the pen for certain aesthetic and functional levels may require a good amount of time to train the eyes, hand-skills and the ability to feel the fibres of the material in order to understand how and what can it work for. This may take a good amount of 3 years, of regular carving experiments and training on different materials.

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