Islamic Art: Mirror of the Invisible World

Islamic Art: Mirror of the Invisible World


I am posting belatedly about a film aired on PBS on July 6th, 2012, entitled Islamic Art: Mirror of the Invisible World. The documentary film was narrated by Susan Sarandon, and includes some fabulous footage and interviews with the calligrapher Mohamed Zakariya.

You can view clips of the film on the website, or purchase a DVD of the film on

Introducing Arabic Calligraphy Stock Video!

I’m pleased to announce that Elinor Aishah Holland and I are collaborating on a series of stock video clips featuring Arabic calligraphy. Our first collection—Arabic Calligraphy Letterforms—features Ms. Holland writing each of the eighteen basic shapes in the Arabic alphabet.

The video clips are available for purchase through We plan to create other clips and collections in the future, so leave a comment below if you have a specific Arabic word you’d like to see written in calligraphy (and captured on video.)

Dynasty Maps

The Georgian National Museum has created a great tool for those studying the history of Islamic Art. Their online Dynasty Maps allow users to choose a dynasty such as the Umayyad Caliphate, and then to see the reach of that dynasty geographically portrayed on a map.

Music of the Eye

Earlier this year I had the opportunity to meet Sanaa Boutayeb Naim, a Moroccan filmmaker who lives here in Washington, DC. In the fall of 2008 she produced a documentary feature about master calligrapher Mohamed Zakariya, and kindly allowed me to feature the video on the blog. In this 11-minute documentary, Mohamed Zakariya offers insight into the art of Arabic script calligraphy. I’m sure you’ll enjoy watching.

Portrait of Mohamed Zakariya

A Turkish TV station called “Ebru” created this 27-minute video portrait of the American calligraphy artist Mohamed Zakariya. In this piece, Zakariya talks about how he became interested in calligraphy, the Ottoman calligraphy tradition, the process of creating a U.S. Postal Service stamp for the Muslim holiday of Eid, and why calligraphy is important. Several of Zakariya’s students are also interviewed.


I found this interesting experimental video called “Iqra’a” on YouTube the other day. The creator of the video says that he wanted to create a short animated piece that generated awareness among children about the beauty and importance of calligraphy and the Arabic language. The name “Iqra’a” is taken from the first word spoken to the Prophet Mohammed — “read!” 

While the piece definitely highlights the importance of the written word in Islamic culture, I also liked its lightheartedness.