Arabic Calligraphy and Typography: The next generation's imagery

Arabic Calligraphy and Typography: The next generation's imagery

3 min read  —  Mar 05, 2022

by Zeineb Ouertatani

Being a kid , I always used to admire the different architecture of our mosques but what had yet to bring my eyes to glow was the Quran calligraphic walls, which were sublime, divine and every synonym that rhymed.

With every look I used to curiously unhook the keys to this magical world, a world of communicative lines and reinforcing bends, vibrant ink and recognizable points, hidden signs and different language rhymes, a world that not just represents a pillar of the arts, it actually raises the bar by distinctly managing to flash out a cultural shift in heritage preservation and a bigger visionary revelation beyond the surface of trends.

A revelation that informs us about the numerous challenges Arabic Calligraphy has faced in recent years in its quest to maintain cultural recognition and modernization. Since the Tunisian script of Calligraphy contributed to the establishment of the Quran during Islamic rule (which we recognise and sanctify), we have slightly remained attached to old patterns, ergo the desire to renovate this art and explore its different aspects and lengths.

Thus, the Next Generation shift!

A shift that inspired a Public Renaissance in the Arabic Calligraphy industry, one that challenges norms and exceeds expectations, one that is much bigger than a “gotcha” moment for the visually challenged.

 It is in fact, a lot more, because it represents the unraveling truth that can silently influence and strive to be a mark of sophistication for readers which inspires them to have an opinion which nowadays led to them creating instagram pages that mirror that truth, accounts where they post calligraphic street walls that support this shift (Jordanian Khatt instagram page) or accounts where they hold down their virtual labs in, through which they put their touch on the wall of this rising shift (TYPE labStudiowakebSafa el samadSaja CalligraphyQalbsaleem | Calligraphy) and we also have El Seed whose latest collaboration with Louis Vuitton has marked a history page in our generation, one where you’ll also find Nja Mahdaoui’s name written down due to his work in the Facebook Headquarters.

Mural art by Saja Calligraphy

El Seed X Louis Vuitton

By including the variety of social media and technology in this shift, people are starting to realize that Calligraphy isn’t just applied to draw out the name of ALLAH or “Quranic ayat”, it’s actually bound to be a lot more, and that MORE we have yet to discover.

Yes we opened the door to innovation by giving more freedom to calligraphists, which allowed them to take it to new and daring heights, raising the ambitions of the document to tell a story or explain a phenomenon whilst also celebrating the new trendsetting and provocative typeface.

More specifically, we induced a new cultural immersion in the Arabic script, by grasping it from its latin routes and giving it a new sense of modern history.  

But that’s just a tip of the iceberg, what most people here have difficulties to understand is that Calligraphy is not just an era to be passed and reminisced upon, it’s rather one of the most eternal arts of the ages.

From rocks and stones, to gold and walls and finally to fabric and paper.

Every generation has had its hand in this evolution, which is what makes Calligraphy so unique and familiar, like it’s the talent every generation inherits from the one before it. Inspiring this ever-expanding design community by developing Calligraphy into Fashion; countless in-house brands are incorporating calligraphic.

Now, however, the new generation  is embracing this shift and motions into everything from streetwear to statement dresses (HobbYa Habibi Market / Canava.designRima Karimeh)

Therefore, influencing THE NEXT GENERATION to consider the layered meanings of Arabic words and Arabic calligraphy as an empowering and unifying artistic expression, as well as a personal reflection of traditions and cultural roots which will be an accessible dose of culture to non-Arab consumers, therefore creating for the common consumer the best cultural immersion experience ever.

Souk Ya Habibi Dad Hat

Finally, coming down to the end of this article , I would like to leave you with one thought which is that Calligraphy is an en Vogue forever Art that rawly reflects our mood, attitude, confidence, performance and psychological state.

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