Meet the seven visual artists who have made walls across the world speak in Arabic prose with spiralling and moving symbols and meanings.
When Islam came into existence over 14 centuries ago, it came in the form of words. And because art has a habit of borrowing from its environment, an artistic phenomenon flourished over the centuries that followed, taking those words beyond their meanings and transforming them into stunning visual creations, known as Arabic calligraphy art. Another artistic movement that existed since the dawn of history, dating back to Ancient Egypt and Greece, is mural art, which is simply writing or drawing on walls or other vertical surfaces. Over time, people used graffiti art to express themselves, and make statements about society, politics, and religion, or simply to create beautiful and inspiring imagery, making it one of the few forms of artistic expression that don't necessarily require a high level of skills or formation.
The world's transformation into a global village - with the rise of the internet and globalisation in the late twentieth century - signalled the birth of Calligraffiti art, a new artistic movement that combines elements of Arabic Calligraphy and graffiti. Calligraffiti became a global art phenomenon that flourished well beyond the Middle East, attracting artists and admirers from different parts of the world. Together they led to the evolution of this unique form of artistic expression into a full blown contemporary art movement, which expresses much more than what meets the eye. As a contribution to the movement, we put together a list of some the world's best Calligraffiti artists.
A Russian calligraphy artist who is known for his work on a style that merges ancient calligraphy and street art. He combines work on different design projects with street-art festivals and exhibitions
Born in Paris in 1981, the French/Tunisian artist is known for transforming urban landscapes with his intricate compositions. Last April, eL Seed gained fame in Egypt after revealing his stunning anamorphic graffiti Perception across the walls of 50 buildings in Manshyet Nasser, one of Cairo's poorest areas.
Egypt's first light calligrapher, in the scene since 2013. Ghawas incorporates calligraphy art into light installations, creating a vivid explosion of meaning and colour.
Born in Mexico in 1983, Dokins worked on everything from curatorial projects related to urban arts to political commentary. His work has been shown nationally and internationally in countries like Spain, Germany, Holland, and the United Kingdom.
Since 2006, Zoghbi, a Lebanese Typography professor, has been on a mission to create an astonishing collection of modern Arabic typography design projects, creating contemporary Arabic fonts for prominent Middle Eastern newspapers and urban projects.
Born in 1993, Yazan Halwani is considered one of the youngest graffiti artists in his hometown Lebanon and the Middle East. Halwani became interested in calligraphy at a young age and successfully combined calligraphy, oriental geometry, patterning and portraiture in unprecedented authentic art creations.
Ruh is a London-born British artist and designer, who moved to Egypt in 2003 to pursue his lifelong dream of learning the traditional art of penmanship and Arabic calligraphy. Ruh has since worked on large local and international project for the likes of Sony, Channel 4, BBC, National Portrait Gallery and luxury brands in the Middle East.