Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Arabic Calligraphy

Original design in 1978
Same work redone In 2009
In September 1978 I was asked to design a calligraphy work for a cover of a quarterly magazine titled "Islamic Thought" that was published in Tamil in the Institution I was studying. I had no proper training in calligraphy then, but used to do some basic works imitating what I found in magazines and books from our library. It was suggested that the calligraphy should depict a verse from the Holy Quran that is also the Motto of our Institution which reads in English "And be pious to Allah, and Allah will teach you!" I did some sketches and made a design in Indian ink writing the verse in Kufic style in the shape of our Mosque in the campus ( that was my idea then, I do not know whether it looked like our mosque or not) and submitted the design. I was scheduled, with 2 of my colleagues and two lecturers, to travel to Cairo in October for undergraduate studies. The magazine with my calligraphy(?) on the cover was issued in early 1979 (with a surprise, yes one of my poems was also published inside).
In Cairo with my University studies, I was fortunate to get a chance to enroll to Arabic Calligraphy School and obtain a Diploma after 4 years course.
In October 2009 during my vacation I found a copy of the magazine while I was looking for a book at home. When I saw the cover design I was laughing aloud, I made this design(?) ….it looked so unprofessional and the style was far from "Kufic". So, I thought why do not I redo it in proper "Kufic Calligraphy" and this was the outcome. The time lap between the two is more than 30 years and I had proper training and practice between those years.

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