Rendering The Tradition

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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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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.

 

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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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Hello Wallpapers

HELLO EVERYONE. We ARE EXTENDING OUR DUTIES TO A LITTLE SHARING WITH YOU.

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We are taking our art and crafts into the world of pixels. This is not anything new from our years of work and experiments, but is just that this time we love to share it with everyone out there. We fuse 3 things: tradition, contemporary and digitisation, and redefine details to a whole different level. So here we have, our very own art of digital wallpapers. And its ready for you.

Just our little duty to share, at no cost at all. Free for all. Free for share. Click here!

Have a lovely day.

– Faddho.

Little Lessons in Kuala Lumpur

A visit to the Islamic Art Museum Malaysia meeting calligraphy practitioner, Mr Azmir Karim and his master calligrapher teacher, Puan Citi Yousoff. Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia [2013 Dec 18-19].

 

The little trip down to Kuala Lumpur is the only space of 96 hours of break we’re left with. After that, we will be clocking back to the hectic madness of the Lion City. Meeting up with friends and relatives, help us to stretch our breaths a little more out of the grey matter. And meeting up some new friends and special people spice up the excitement a little more.

Awhile back, a visit from a Malaysian calligraphy practitioner down to Singapore wrapped up in some few fruitful hours of introduction and exchanging experiences. Now, we took this opportunity to meet up with this gentleman, and also his teacher. Azmir Karim has been practising khat (Arabic calligraphy) for more than two years now, under the tutelage of Puan Citi Yousoff, a Malaysian female master calligrapher. Puan Citi graduated with an Ijaza (Diploma) in Islamic calligraphy in Thuluth and Nasakh scripts under the tutelage of the Honourable Hassan Celebi, a great master calligrapher in Turkey. Having learning khat through Puan Citi, Azmir also receives the opportunity to learn with other great master calligraphers such as Efdaluddin Kilic, Ferhat Kurlu, Mohamed Zakariya, and also Hassan Celebi, and was very kind to share us his invaluable experiences in having lessons and sessions with them. His personal experiments in developing handmade soot inks and handmade Turkish Ahar paper are truly great insights for us in the holistic crafts that makes up the traditions of classical calligraphy. Nevertheless, some great master calligraphers are also master paper makers and master illumination artists themselves. Continue reading

Read, an Art of Exploring Your Senses.

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 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 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. Continue reading