JULIA ABRAHAM
NICOLE CLOUGH
LAUREN DZENIS
KIRA KASTNER
DUAA MANSOUR
artist statement work cv
ALEXANDRA SANDISON
DIANNE SHAWCROSS
MACY SIU
JOL THOMSON
RACHEL WALLACE

artist statement

"Calligraphy is the art of beautiful or elegant handwriting as exhibited by the correct formation of characters, the ordering of the various parts, and harmony of proportions."

Since my early childhood I have always been interested in how arabic letters looked on the letters my mother wrote and Quranic verses my dad read and specially in the artwork on the walls I found inside my local mosque. My work has involved the creation of conceptually based traditional abstract calligraphy. In 2006 I came up with my own Arabic fonts, ones that were very organically personalized to all what I have been influenced by while growing up. Text and language has become a very prominent feature in my work and I continue to use the various fonts I have came up with in all my work . My work, addresses Arabic calligraphy as an art form to modern readers it shows them how to identify, understand and appreciate its varied styles and modes. My work also offers a standardized terminology for describing various styles of Islamic calligraphy. It also helps Westerners appreciate why Arabic calligraphy has long been so important in Islamic civilization. It also highlights the influence of the contemporary artists in the Islamic world and how they draw on the heritage of calligraphy to use calligraphic inscriptions or abstractions.

My theme is aimed to portray arabic calligraphy as a primary form of art for Islamic visual expression and originality. Throughout the vast geography of the arabic and Islamic world, arabic calligraphy is a representation to unity, beauty, and power. The aesthetic principles of it reflects the cultural values of the Muslim world one that is thorough, and points out the differences between Arabic and non-Arabic calligraphy, where it might provide an approach for understanding the essential spirit of each and every culture.

Khat-Type

Language distinguishes one culture from another. It has proven to be a barrier between differing cultures as well – as a species, we rely heavily on language as our primary mode of communication. Incidentally, the English language is spoken universally across the business realm. Many Asian and Middle Eastern cultures, for instance, stress the importance of English as a means to venture out into international territory. For some cultures, the English language has become synonymous with the United States (a known superpower), privilege, and success, which is somewhat ironic, considering the language itself is quite watered down and simplified, drawing much of its vocabulary from its ancient and more highly sophisticated counterparts (Latin, Greek).

This piece is intended to be more interactive. It is a way for me to promote my co-existing identities as an English-speaking student deeply rooted in my culture. The business card format of this piece obviously alludes to self-promotion; the front of the card features my name written in the font that I have created specifically for this piece. The back of the card features the font itself - it is the English language alphabet comprised of Arabic letters and elements. When utilized to form a word - any word - the effect makes it somewhat illegible at first, only because it looks like it has been written in another language. This business card then becomes an innovative means to decode this new “language” as well as a way to promote the language into the mainstream.

Khati on Posters

Seven movie posters are mounted very simply, between a black mounting board and glass. This adds to the movie poster effect of the entire aesthetic, like posters on display behind glass cases in commercial movie houses. Incidentally, the images on these posters are stills taken from North American blockbuster hits (i.e. Syriana, The Kingdom). I have chosen to go through these movies, painstakingly extracting stills that I feel will fit the Middle Eastern aesthetic. I have stripped the Hollywood influence of these North American blockbuster hits by omitting the “gloss and glam” that usually accompanies these movie advertisements. The end result reflects vintage Middle Eastern graphics – obscure figures reduced to shades of grey float amidst a very blank and neutral background, all evidence of three-dimensionality obliterated. The typography, though typical of Middle Eastern calligraphy, is in fact, the English alphabet made up of Arabic letters and elements.

Noted Hollywood celebrities have been stripped of their surface identity through various digital filters and effects. Some semblance of familiarity still lingers, only upon closer examination. In some ways, these posters are a parody of sorts. While there is most certainly a noble intention behind the need to produce movies based on the serious conflicts within the Middle East, when stripped down, the project is essentially backed behind a huge money-making conglomerate intent on entertaining the more politically-driven demographic. By taking a barebones, minimalist approach to the graphics, as well as implementing a distinctly Middle-Eastern style to these posters, the cultural aesthetic is allowed to shine in the foreground, unmarred by the glitz and glam surrounding big-name Hollywood actors.

art of giving form to symbols

I wanted to create a room that reflects my self as a visual artist. I have chosen languages that utilize calligraphy as their written language, because calligraphy is what I work with – it is what I have spent a huge part of my artistic life on. Symbol calligraphy is the art of moulding writing in the form of a symbol; the end result is fluid, full of motion in its apparent fixedness, and rapt in meaning. The art of calligraphy is also very much rooted in cultural and scholarly wealth. Each letter is amplified to a higher level of sophistication, thereby attributing much of its aesthetic beauty in the aforementioned.

It is within this room that I am presenting a sample of my artistic identity. This room is covered in various calligraphic renditions of the word “life”. I have chosen cultures that utilize calligraphy specifically as their written form of language. It is only fitting that I use the word ‘life’, because to me, these letters emanate with such vibrancy and beauty, [these words] of which are synonymous with the word ‘life’ itself. To view them scattered and splashed amongst this humble space in random fashion, is to view a strange type of beauty. These symbols are cryptic and unfamiliar for the most part, but as a whole, especially when placed together, these symbols reverberate with unexpected life.

 

 

work

The Kingdom Rendition

 

cv

EDUCATION

2007 – Present HBA in Visual Studies, University of Toronto, Canada
2008 – Present Diploma in Interior Design, Humber College, Canada
2005 – 2007 Major in Graphic Design, American University of Kuwait

INDIVIDUAL EXHIBITIONS

2007 Gallery L’Caire – “Graph It”
2008 Gallery L’Caire – “Khatii- Rabii”

SELECTED GROUP EXHIBITIONS

2007 “Painting and Abstract” Eyeball
2007 “Bookcover Series” Eyeball
2007 “Melt” Eyeball
2008 "Post-Poster" Eyeball
2008 "Sublime" - video piece Eyeball
2009 "For What Is Not Said"
2009 University College "Reflect" Show
2009 "Trinity Art Show"

AWARDS

2006 Deans List
2007 Award of Best VIsual Piece
2007 Award for the Architectural Staircase and 3D model

WORK / EXPERIENCE

2006 Junior Graphic Designer, Euphoria
2006 – 2007 Freelance Graphic Designer
2006 – 2007 Graphic Design Assistant, Student Career Centre
September 2006 – June 2007 Graphic Design Tutor
September 2006 – June 200 Newspaper – Logo Designer
2008 – 2009 F-Word Magazine Layout Design