Exhibition Dates: 14th October - 13th November 2021
Artists: Hamid Elkharbouchi, Abdelhak Assermouh, Mohamed Daif & Mohammed Kheroub
Curators: HUB Collective and Poppy Lam
P21 Gallery is delighted to present Fusion – an online group exhibition by artists from Morocco. The exhibition is curated by HUB Collective with assistance from Poppy Lam and will be live between 14th October and 13th November 2021.
Arabic calligraphy has been linked in the Arabic civilisation to various fields such as religion, art, architecture, education, and craftsmanship, which in return, have played an important role in the advancement of calligraphy. The pens used for Arabic calligraphy vary from other calligraphy forms, such as Latin. The tools used for calligraphy are different assortments of pens and calligraphy ink. The most common calligraphy pen used is Qalam.
Moroccan calligraphy is the artistic practice of handwriting and calligraphy based on the Moroccan alphabet. The Moroccan calligraphy, also called as Maghrebi, has its links to Arabic. It has a rather rounded letter form with a pointed tip. The initial introduction of Arabic scripts to Morocco dates to the conquest of the country by the Arabs. The first conqueror Uqba ibn Nafi from the Arabian Peninsula used the Kufic script which has significantly influenced the Moroccan script. The Kufic Script was usually used to write the Quran during those times and its influence naturally blended into Moroccan calligraphy.
Calligraphy can be generally defined as the design and execution of handwriting/lettering. Regarding Arabic calligraphy, at its earliest, it is found in the beautifully written manuscripts of the Quran. Arabic calligraphy is known to represent the Islamic culture. Just as The Quran denotes spirituality, the calligraphy that is associated with its script is also seen as spiritual. The first scribes that wrote the verses, used black ink and gold leaves; they wrote on parchment and used an angled alphabet called the Kuffi, to reproduce pages of the Quran. However, although most Islamic calligraphy is in Arabic and most Arabic calligraphy is Islamic, the two are not inextricably linked. For instance, Coptic or other Christian manuscripts in Arabic have made use of calligraphy. In further development of Arabic calligraphy, in the 12th century the Naskh alphabet was invented. Which led to the transition of angled lined alphabets to curved line alphabets.
Arabic calligraphy has made its way into the streets of the Arab world (particularly in Jordan and Lebanon) in the form of street art/murals. It can be said that the street art reveals the value that artists in the region place on their heritage. El Seed, is a Tunisian French artist who is very well known for his Arabic Street art. He fuses Arabic letters with the modern art of graffiti; an art form he likes to call ‘calligraffiti’. Through his work he spreads messages of peace, unity and also underlines the commonalities of the human experience. His artwork although mostly located in the Middle East, can be found all over the world; consistently aiming to unify communities and readdressing stereotypes. This intent is expressed in Seed’s quote about his work, referring to it as ‘a tool to build bridges all over the world’. He uses both quotes and illustrations made out of calligraphy to express his ‘key principles of love, respect and tolerance’.
About the Artists
Mohamed Daif's journey with calligraphy began when he was very young and joined the mosque with his grandfather. His grandfather had produced some beautiful writings in the nineties, Daif then tried to imitate this automatically and his passion for calligraphy began. In 2014, he began properly researching into Arabic calligraphy, especially Moroccan calligraphy and has continued his practice throughout the years. He has had many achievements within the calligraphy world including; being winner of the International First Prize in Moroccan Calligraphy Type in 2018 and having participated in many national exhibitions, to name a few.
Mohamed Kherroub is a calligrapher with a baccalaureate degree in literature. Kherroub has been an active role within the calligraphy industry, participating in multiple national and international meetings in the Maghreb region. He has achieved many awards for his calligraphy. Kherroub has also worked as an art teacher of Moroccan calligraphy in the multimedia library of Khouribga. He had participated in workshops and artworks that involves all styles of the Moroccan Calligraphy. He holds a proficiency license (IJAZAH) from the professor Hamid Kharbouchi in the category of "Al-Jawhar Al-Jalil". Currently he is working on a project of drafting calligraphy works on silver holders.
Abdelhak Assermouh is interested in promoting Moroccan identity around the world, he is in his final year of a bachelor degree in English studies. Assermouh is an emerging artist who has studied calligraphy under the calligrapher master, Hamid Kharbouchi. He has executed many works of calligraphic art on paper and wood, and has participated in many national exhibitions. Assermouh is the president of a multi-activity national association that offers permanent workshops for young audiences in calligraphy.
The fourth artist in this group exhibition is Moroccan artist calligrapher- Hamid Kharbouchi. Who, thanks to his artistic talents, was able to succeed in transforming a type of Moroccan calligraphy from a script for copying, to a space of aesthetic painting- called Aljawhar-Aljalil. He did this by creating rules and structures that did not exist before.
About the Curator
Poppy Lam is an illustrator entering the final year of university in Norwich. She was fortunate to have been given the opportunity by P21 Gallery to be assistant curator on this exhibition, ‘Fusion’. She has found it really rewarding and insightful, not only to curate an exhibition but also learning about calligraphy and widening her knowledge on Arab art and culture.
For all media enquiries please contact the curator Poppy Lam on: firstname.lastname@example.org or P21 Gallery: email@example.com, Tel. +44 20 7121 6190
Exhibition is in partnership with Association Saada for Development (Morocco) and supported by Arts Council England and HUB Collective