Calligraphy, pen strokes become an art

Algiers hosts calligraphy works from around the world

01 June, 14:37

(ANSAmed) - TUNIS, JUNE 1 - There are Algerians and Tunisians as well as Egyptians and Moroccans, but also Azeris, Bengalese, Bosnians, Iranians, Pakistanis, Turks, Syrians and nationals of many other countries. All have been drawn together by a single passion: that of calligraphy, which especially in the Arab world has been raised to an art form in and of itself, in which what the mark expresses is filtered through the sensitivity of those drawing it. Until June 7 Algiers is the world capital of this art, with calligraphers from Algeria (47) and twenty other countries (37), who are taking part in the fourth edition of this ''festival''. The event is housed in the National Miniatures and calligraphy Museum, in which the most well-known styles are represented (Maghribi, Kufi and Farissi) - the most highly praised by fans of this form of expression, and by those simply made curious by its originality. The characteristic of Arab calligraphy is that, through pen strokes, it is possible to express an interior world linked to the actual meaning of the words chosen, which can be verses from the Koran or strophes from a Sufi poem. And so, through the repeating of the name of Allah or his Prophet Mohamed, true moments of celebration can be created in which the strength of the word is multiplied by a fascination with the writing of it. And the latter is at times used (taking advantage of the writing of the words) to compose an image: a man, animal, or object through which a love of God in conveyed, as well as respect for all that comes from Him. Starting with what many hold to be the first form of Arab writing from Kufa in Iraq (although recently some scholars have claimed otherwise), distinguished by dry and sharp strokes, one arrives at the current one in which equilibrium prevails, the perfection of a unity which only the eye of the uninitiated or inattentive observer could seem casual. The 28 letters of the alphabet enable admirable combinations which become images and - with them - emotions. Today the techniques have changed and calligraphers are paving new routes of experimentation, while at the same time conserving the nature of their art. Over the centuries the qalam (the piece of dry reed which was dipped in ink) has fallen into disuse and now there are those who no longer use papyrus and paper but instead opt for canvases and acrylic paint. While seemingly a contradiction, it instead bears witness to the vivacity of an art which it would be a mistake to consider destined for only a small group of people, perhaps having in common the same religion. However, in line with the principle that demands that art (because this is what we are dealing with) is not closed off and does not exclude anyone or anything, the festival of Algiers has also opened its doors to representatives of Asian calligraphy, especially the Chinese and Japanese ones (with Koshun Masunaga for the latter, currently perhaps the best calligrapher in Japan), which is also an artistic expression, an expression of humankind in its most intimate being. (ANSAmed).

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