Islamic calligraphy that would inspire even sceptics
By: Anil Datta
Karachi: Come the holy month of Ramazan and the city’s art galleries are awash with inspirational shows of Islamic calligraphy and paintings. This year’s no exception.
Grandeur Art Gallery in Defence put up an engrossing show of the craft. The 39 calligraphic works lining the walls of the gallery are real pieces of art that would make even sceptics overawed by the divine element.
By far the most imposing ones are by Asif Ali Nayyar. Four of his works are really inspirational. Two of these are the names of the Almighty Allah and the other two the names of the Holy Prophet (PBUH).
The names are superimposed on white circles and the circles in turn are embellished with exquisitely designed borders, all in soothingly matching colours which are bright yet sober enough for a work of that divine nature. Another exquisite painting of Nayyar’s is Ayat-ul-Kursi.
Nayyar, a fulltime artist, said he previously specialised in painting abstracts but then when he chanced to get into Islamic calligraphy, his interest in other forms of art waned and he just didn’t feel like trying his hand at anything else, so inspired and enthralled was he by the divine element in Islamic calligraphy.
“I felt it a sacred duty and an immense pleasure in the art form. I felt an inner satisfaction and it made me feel that I was duty-bound to spread my faith through this art. I just don’t feel any thrill or pleasure in the other art forms now,” said the artist with a look of deep-seated pleasure radiating from his eyes.
Another interesting exhibit by a non-Muslim, Chitra Preetam, comprised three paintings of verses from the Holy Quran.
These are very fine, almost microscopic pen-on-paper works. Despite being from a different faith, his portrayal of the Islamic scripture is prolific.
Then there are Mariam Khan’s four small, square tablets, two of which have Ayat-ul-Kursi and Al-Aqsa Mosque painted on them in miniature in very soothing colour schemes.
The exhibition, in short, showcases not just the artistic talent but the inspiration that faith provides and is indicative of the divine element present in all of us, whether we are aware of it or not.