Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Fine Art Calligraphy of Wissam Shawkat

Iraqi-born, now Dubai resident Wissam Shawkat (b. 1974) is one of the world's most talented Arabic calligraphers. His first solo exhibition in the United States, "Letters of Love", opened February 24 at New York City's Reed Space and will be on view only until March 15. If you're lucky enough to live in Manhattan, don't miss this show.

Wissam Shawkat, Love Garden 
© Wissam Shawkat

Shawkat, who holds a degree in civil engineering, is also a designer of contemporary, traditional, and zoomorphic logotypes for books, magazine, and other publications and for such well-known companies as Barclays and Bang & Olufsen; he specializes in branding. He has received numerous international awards for his fine art calligraphy, which can be found in many private and public collections around the world. He has been awarded three times the Al Burda Prize in the International Calligraphy Competition in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates (2006, 2007, 2008), and has twice won the International Calligraphy Competition in Istanbul Turkey (2002, 2005).  (The International Calligraphy Competition is organized by the International Research Centre for Islamic History, Art, and Culture.) Most recently, Shawkat has been featured in the Annual Juried Issue of Letter Arts Review.

The artist, who practices both traditional and contemporary calligraphy, taught himself the art by observing and studying Turkish calligraphy masters.

In addition to conducting calligraphy workshops, from beginning to professional level, at the Tashkeel Art Center, Shawkat juries typography and graphic design competitions and lectures (for example, in 2009, at the invitation of the Qatar Foundation and the Graphic Design Department of Virginia Commonwealth University, which has a campus in Qatar, Shawkat spoke on "Calligraphy: Tradition to Contemporary Practice").

Wissam Shawkat at Work

Some images of Shawkat's gorgeous calligraphy in the exhibition are here and here. Others may be viewed here.

Examples of Shawkat's Typography

Profile and Images at Khatt Foundation, Center for Arabic Typography

Images of Shawkat's Calligraphy and Logotypes at Living Design for Creative & Curious Minds

Wissam Shawkat on FaceBook and LinkedIn

Letter Arts Review on FaceBook


Louise Gallagher said...

His work is beautiful. I remember a calligraphy artist you introduced us to some time ago -- there was a video of him at work. Quite amazing!

S. Etole said...

what meticulous beauty ...

Jacob Woods said...

I have a caligraphy pen, I have no idea how to use it though. I just write poetry with it.

I love what can be done with it though. Lots of talent!