Posted on September 22, 2017
Salam Maal Hijrah 1439!
To all Muslims around the world, we would like to wish you a blissful New Islamic Year! Let us all move into a new beginning, learn and reflect our past, pave a new space for a beautiful life ahead. Let’s work hard, clean our beliefs, stay strong and righteous to our duties. May all be blessed with the barakah of wisdom, health and wealth in all 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!
2017/sep/22 • 1439/muharram/01
Posted on September 9, 2014
When all the students have finally gathered, Dr Gul went to the computer to warm up the class for the calligraphy session. Earlier, she was seen preparing a page from the YouTube site. The cover of the video seemed to be an image of a worn-out page of an archaic Quran, written in Hijazi or Neo-Nabatean script. When she clicked play, the title which appeared to be like “Yasin Suresi” was finally found, and she opened another window in the computer screen which she had prepared the Romanised transcription of that Surah Yasin. So she played a short opening recitation of the first 10 verses of the Surah Yasin, along with the Roman transcripts to guide the students. Indeed it was a beautiful way to begin. Dr Gul then proceeded with few revision slides and some Persian poems that enlighten the philosophies of “The Pen” before handing over to us.
Looking at a class full of designers, inevitably, it is within this wishful thoughts that everyone of them could have probably be good calligraphers if they want to. Nevertheless the old culture of graphic design goes back to classical practise of manuscripts, calligraphy and illuminations, way before keyboards and mouses started to dominate. Not only because they’re designers but, they do really follow the worksheets well, and copied well. However actually, to sit and join them together in their course seems to be much more exciting than presenting scripts to them.
So we had about a good 3 hours of calligraphy session. Apart from trying out the basic fundamentals and guides, we had the students trying out tiny bits of important scripts like Kufi Mushafi, Nasakh, Thuluth, Ta’liq, Riq’ah and Diwani. The idea to introduce them the system of Checkered Kufi was an initial intention, however, we would need another good 2 hours just to have fun with that. Of all, special thanks to Dr Gul Inanc and Prof Peer Mohideen Sathikh for the kind invite. It was truly an honour and a pleasure. We would be pleased to have these sessions again.
Category: Events Here! Tagged: arabic calligraphy, bamboo pen, calligraphy lecture, calligraphy practise, calligraphy workshop, design students, Gul Inanc, history of scripts, ink, ink well, khat, khat workshop, Nanyang Technological University, Peer Mohideen Sathikh, School of Art Design and Media, sharing session
Posted on May 28, 2014
We were looking at a figure of 30 participants or optimally, 25 at its maximum. Personally 15, is the best figure. However, of course Esplanade would like to cover even more participants if it could. In the past 2 years (2012-2013), our free open workshop-cum-trial booth for Arabic calligraphy has been a successful hit of an estimated 500 over participants over 3 days within limited hours. Since it was an open session, we had participants rooted to their seats for more than 3 hours, some stood around for a good 40 minutes, some dropped by for quick minutes of trials, some just picked up a handful of worksheets for their family and friends, and some passed by and passed by again. It was fantastic. We met artists, teachers, tourists, not to mentioned, religious people and few calligraphers themselves apart from the locals. Fellow calligraphy enthusiasts hanged around having fun with pen and ink and crafting letters. This year, Esplanade decided to have a closed session under its Bitesize programme. For a session of only 2 hours, we truly hope we could give the best.
So they opened it up for 50 maximum participants on tickets. Within the first month out of the 3-month publicity, they called us to spread more words on this programme cause they managed only to hit around 20. We felt that it was good enough to keep that way as we were concerned on managing and giving a substantial amount of attention to the participants individually and as a whole. We had booklets, worksheets and visual slides all prepared. In less than half month before the event, we hit 50. Full house.
Our hope for extension of hours could probably give more fruitful attention to the participants. That didn’t happen. The space provided was in a rehearsal studio, full of tall-glass-wall windows, at the top-most of the building, giving a cosmic feel to practicing calligraphy. Probably, a dream of every calligrapher to afford that kind of (expensive) atmosphere to have an intimate session with the pen crafting sacred verses. But in real history, calligraphers danced their hearts through their pen and ink, crouching solemnly in a quiet corner of walls full of books, away from people, away from the world. Then, the teacher attended to students one at a time. But here, its a duty to share and uphold it to the public.
We hoped for a better projection on our visual lesson slides to amplify the content to participants spread out to about over two basketball courts of space. We could see how much a participant yearned to feel the pen during the demonstration where 49 others crowded over one person demonstrating letters over a piece of A3 paper. And if we could, we would love to be able to equally attend to at least 10 individual participants at a time whenever they raised their hands for help and questions. One hour of theoretical history and visual lessons, and one hour of practice. Unfortunately, but fortunately, that’s all we could afford.
Learning calligraphy doesn’t work like technical software crash courses. Most of fresh students we knew, could never get over understanding the pen and its first dot even over their first two weeks practice. Nowadays, the culture of clicking and sliding with fingers is more overwhelming than the art and grace of handling pen and letters. Time spent for economical productivity is different from time spent for spiritual productivity. Nevertheless, the people in Esplanade has created great efforts to support traditional arts such as calligraphy for the betterment of the society.
Be it a dot, or long strokes, we hope this effort would be a blessing to everyone. Thank you for acknowledging our presence. We hope to see you all again.
Posted on October 13, 2013
It was on a relaxed Saturday morning at the Asian Civilisations Museum (ACM) where we gathered for another exciting session. It was truly a humbling opportunity to have a calligraphy session with a special group of people who are docents from Friends of the Museums (FOM). This private workshop is an exclusive session which begins with a visual lecture of exploring the history of Arabic scripts from semantics, concepts to theories of evolutions and reformations of letterforms which encompasses within a time span of more than 2000 years. Visual characteristics of the scripts were explored through visual specimens of The Holy Quran and various folios from different time and parts of the world.
The practical session followed on with an introduction to the pen, paper and ink; creating the first dot. The first dot, or technically creating the perfect rhombus is an essential fundamental step in developing a letterform. This includes the discipline and handling habits of a calligraphy practitioner. After trying out a series of practicing dots and lines, participants were introduced to try out the basic alphabetic bodies of Nasakh script. The momentum of constant dipping of the reed or bamboo pen into the ink well and writing continued through experiencing the practitioner’s drill. Here, participants will make an attempt to copy simple words such as “Salam”, “Hoob” and “Hikmah”, over and over again until it is close to clone perfection. The last practice was trying out the word “Salam” in 3 different scripts, namely: Riqah, Diwani and Kufi Mushafi. Through these, participants explored the various styles of writing techniques being used on different scripts to write the same word.
So there it goes, a fruitful Saturday morning, with wonderful theoretical sparring exchange and discussions with such a special audience. Thank you Arundhati Sundar for such a wonderful opportunity. We will be pleased to have more of these again!
Category: Events Here! Tagged: arabic calligraphy, Arundhati Sundar, Asian Civilisations Museum, calligraphy lecture, calligraphy practise, calligraphy workshop, Docent Ongoing Training, Friends of the Museums, history of scripts, ink, khat, khat workshop, perfect dot, practitioner's drill, public workshop