The Met’s Islamic collection reopens!

Met Islamic Collection

The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City opened a newly reinstalled exhibit this week for their Islamic art collection, called the New Galleries for the Art of the Arab Lands, Turkey, Iran, Central Asia, and Later South Asia.

The exhibit is a treasure trove for calligraphy. From the New York Times’ art review:

The written word is omnipresent. Whether in the form of love poems, proverbs or passages from Islam’s holy book, the Koran, calligraphy spreads like a fine net over everything, creating an art that almost literally speaks.

Learn more on the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s website.

Calligraphy Lecture at the Victoria and Albert Museum

If you live in or near London, you may want to check out this upcoming lecture at the Victoria and Albert Museum, the details of which are as follows:

Arabic Calligraphy Throughout the Ages
Free Lunchtime Lecture
Wednesday 20 July 2011

Join Mourad Boutros, author of Arabic For Designers and Talking About Arabic (Dot Font), to hear about developments in Arabic calligraphy and typography and the rise in global awareness of Arab cultures.

Hochhauser Auditorium, Sackler Centre, V&A
FREE, no booking required

For further information please visit:

Seminar on Arabic Calligraphy | Dubai Arabic Calligraphy Centre

Interested parties are invited to the following event at the Dubai Arabic Calligraphy Centre:

Open call for calligraphy, ikonoMenasa TV

I was recently contacted by a content curator at ikonoTV about a unique opportunity for calligraphers interested in exhibiting their work. Ikono has an art channel running 24/7 called ikonoMenasa in the Middle East-North Africa-South Asia region, which shows art with no commercial breaks, no added narrative or sound— “a pure visual experience with no geographical or language barriers.”

If you are interested in participating, see the Open Call below, or visit the ikonoTV website.

Open Call
Submission Deadline: April 30, 2011
ikonoTV is inviting artists from all over the world to propose material for ikonoMenasa based on our current theme:

A number of cultures throughout the world draw upon calligraphy as a prominent source of artistic practice from ancient times to most recent contemporary styles and movements. A contemporary definition of calligraphic practice is “the art of giving form to signs in an expressive, harmonious and skillful manner” (Mediavilla 1996: 18). Calligraphy has also arguably become the most venerated form of Islamic art. Arabic, Persian and Ottoman Turkish calligraphy is associated with abstract arabesque motives on the walls and ceilings of mosques as well as on the page. Contemporary artists in the Islamic world draw on the heritage of calligraphy to use calligraphic inscriptions or abstractions in their work.

The ikonoMenasa Open Call invites people from around the world to present their work inspired by or drawing directly upon calligraphic elements.

IkonoTV offers the opportunity of increasing visibility and awareness of the Menasa culture and artists from within this region. We will broadcast your work on HDTV via satellite on Arabsat. Arabsat offers a unique platform for artistic exchange reaching more than 16.5 million households in Northern Africa, the Middle East and parts of Europe.

If you would like to participate, please send a link of your work to

Preconditions and Requisites

We are looking for:

  • Video Art under ten minutes
  • High resolution images (JPG or TIFF format) for us to produce short films from
  • Animations
  • Motion graphics

We are not looking for:

  • Documentaries
  • Narrative videos
  • Commercial content
  • Total or partial nudity
  • Religious scenes

All material must be accompanied by the following production information:

  • Applicant’s Name
  • Country
  • Contact Information
  • Year of Production

Full credit information and links to be shown on
Ideally, a short explanatory text will accompany your submission. The art works must be your property and you must own the full copyright. This applies to all visual and audio content.

Letters of Love by Wissam Shawkat

Letters of Love, the U.S. debut exhibition of Wissam Shawkat, will open on February 24th, 2011 at the reed space gallery in New York City. This is an event not to be missed!

NYT: Tracing Islamic History Through Its Scripts

The New York Times did a nice write-up of the newest exhibit at the Sakıp Sabancı museum in Istanbul, “Treasures of the Aga Khan Museum: Arts of the Book & Calligraphy.”

The exhibition, designed by the Czech architect Boris Micka, traces the transition of Islamic writings from animal-skin parchment to paper, and from blocky, time-consuming print to a quicker cursive script and colorful illustrated texts. Examples appear on materials including wood, metal, ceramics and textiles from North Africa to Iran and the Far East.

The exhibit will be up at the Sakıp Sabancı through February 27, 2011, and you can find more details about the items on display on the museum’s website.

Islamic Art Collection at the Met is now online

The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City has recently announced the completion of their online database, which includes their entire Islamic Art Collection. A keyword search for calligraphy brings up 3 pages of interesting manuscripts that are definitely worth checking out.

Poetry and Prayer

Islamic Manuscripts from the Walters

In May, the Walters Art Museum in Baltimore launched a new online exhibit entitled, “Poetry and Prayer: Islamic Manuscripts from the Walters.” The Walters is in the process of digitizing all their Islamic manuscripts, and this website demonstrates the amazing progress they’re making. Check out the calligraphy section—the images are beautiful, and illustrate the wide range of manuscripts that are part of the Walters’ collection.

Check it out at

Poetry and Prayer website

Poetry and Prayer

The Mashq | an event at the Dubai Arabic Calligraphy Centre

This just in from Dubai:

The Dubai Arabic Calligraphy Centre invites you to the opening ceremony of The Arabic Calligraphy Exhibition, “Al Mashq.” See the invitation below.

Istanbul, Part Three: Sakıp Sabancı

I apologize for my long absence from this blog. Time to get back to it!

While I was in Istanbul this past March, I had the great fortune to be able to visit the Sakıp Sabancı Müzesi (Museum) in Emirgan, on the European side of the Bosphorus. If you’re ever in Istanbul and interested in the history of calligraphy, this is the place to go.

Though there aren’t an extraordinary number of pieces at the Sakıp Sabancı museum, each one is particularly well chosen, giving the visitor a cohesive overview of calligraphy during the Ottoman empire. The Collection is displayed in the upper storey of the Atlı Köşk mansion, and is part of the permanent collection. Visit the museum’s website for more details about the collection and how to get there. You can also view pieces from their collection on this website’s gallery page; search for “Sakıp Sabancı” to find items from the collection.


You can also view pieces from their collection on this website’s gallery page; search for “Sakıp Sabancı” to find items from the collection.