Group calligraphy exhibition features self-taught artists.

Byline: Farman Ali

ISLAMABAD -- A group show of calligraphy by four artists opened at Nomad Gallery on Saturday with 21 pieces on display, showcasing the spiritual association with the centuries-old art of decorative and ornamental handwriting.

Most of the pieces on display are by Azeem Iqbal, a self-taught calligrapher from Mian Chunnu. He has used the traditional Kufi style, as well as the Sulus or Thuluth style invested by Ibn Muqla Shirazi in the early 10th century.

In the early period of Islam, the Quran was written on leather and leaves, using many writing styles. Calligraphy, which has now become one of the most popular forms of art in the Muslim world, is adorned on the ceiling, exterior, and domes of mosques, shrines, buildings, and monuments of religious importance.

The calligraphic work of the four artists are fabulous and unique as they have not learned the art from a formal institute, said Nageen Hyatt, the curator and director of Nomad Gallery.

Mr Iqbal's pieces on display included 'Qul' in mixed medium and collage on deer skin with gold leaf, 'Surah Fateha' in gold leaf manuscript size in watercolour, 'Ayatul Kursi' on handmade paper with gold leaf and watercolour,wasli beads collage tucked with pearl, quartz and lapis lazuli, 'Ka'aba' in wasli beads in watercolour, the first and opening pages of the Quran in wasli beads and 'Surah Rehman' in tea washes and watercolour.

'I studied extensively the history of the early period of Islam before starting calligraphy,' Mr Iqbal, the only artist who was present at the exhibition, told Dawn. He went on to say that he has been following the traditional style with a contemporary touch.

The use of traditional lines in mixed medium and collage by Mr Iqbal, the monochromatic colour by Zubair Mughal and the vibrant colours used by Mohsin Raza are amazing, commented Syeda Nadia Raza, an art teacher and coordinator of the International...

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