Posted on March 30, 2016
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!
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 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
Posted on May 23, 2013
Waiting for Friday to end, I was looking forward to my very own play-space in the world of alphabets. This is the second time I’m running a public workshop on Arabic calligraphy at Esplanade. Last year in 2012, my debut was a fresh scene apart from usual classes scene, roadshows or showcases that I’ve done with various organisations. At Esplanade, this festival “Tapestry of Sacred Music” is like a cross-celebration of arts and cultural performances. There are music, visuals, displays, and variety of textures and depths of showmanships; from mysticism, to stoicism, to romanticism and even things with elements that raises the eyebrows or could harmonise some giggles. Gratefully, I am part of this. The flow of people were mostly tourists and local visitors from all walks of life. Read More