Shawkat’s exhibition offers a unique perspective, emphasizing emotional expression and beauty of calligraphic letterforms, revealing their intricate complexity and interplay in the absence of colours. The artist pushes the boundaries with his artistry, through the intention of a monochromatic palette. Highlighting the delicately orchestrated dance between positive and negative spaces, offering viewers an exploration of proportion, depth, weight, and style. The intentional simplicity of escaping colour is far from ordinary. The juxtaposing use of black and white ink showcases the strength of black and the purity of white, creating a captivating graphic symbolism; especially against various beige background tones, creating an enchanting and elegant visual experience.
Black & White: A rhythmic monochromatic elegance that Journeys into the Essence of Calligraphy, featuring 111 artworks. The artist’s palette amplifies the prominence of contrast and balance, removing all visual noises. The artworks are crafted on handmade paper, treated to exquisitely blend soot pigment ink, creating a striking distinction of balance that focuses on fundamental elements of form, line thickness, depth, dimensions, and structure. Through “Black & White,” Shawkat invites us to understand and appreciate calligraphy’s flow and most importantly, its spirit.
It feels to me a universal truth that master calligraphers do not first see colour, we see form; we do not study at length tonal contrasts, before first analyzing the relationship between our letterforms, their rhythm, and the space they occupy.Wissam Shawkat
Despite the reduced scale and limited colour palette, Wissam’s artistic brilliance shines through in each piece, where he masterfully composes various forms of contour lines, breathing endless possibilities of shapes and letters. This exhibition provides an exceptional opportunity for art enthusiasts to discover the heart of modern calligraphy art, witnessing Wissam’s mesmerizing ingenuity in his gentle strokes conveying a play between light and dark on beautiful beige background, in his recognizable calligraphy styles, including “Al Wissam” and “Calligraforms”, to the constraints of contrast and smaller artworks in its most subtle and elegant form, making the pieces truly affordable collectible art treasures.
Exhibition: Black & White by Wissam Shawkat
Dates: Saturday 11th November to 12th December 2023
Location: Mestaria Gallery Alserkal Avenue, Dubai
Timings: Open daily from 10am-7pm
About Wissam Shawkat
Wissam Shawkat, born in Basra, Iraq in 1974, is an award-winning calligraphy artist and designer, fascinated by letter forms. His artistic endeavour began at the age of 10, guided by an inspiring schoolteacher. Wissam’s journey is a testament to the unyielding spirit of a self-taught master. His profound love for Arabic letters exceeds the ordinary, where he views each letter as a form instilled with an inner vitality. Based in Dubai, Wissam is a full-time artist, designer, and Arabic typographer. His work especially stands out as an inspiration of creativity and originality in the field of calligraphy. Reshaping the way we perceive Arabic calligraphy, he created his own fusion of traditional calligraphy and modern aesthetics, reflecting a dynamic interaction between geometric abstraction and the graceful fluidity of Arabic scripts. His distinctive styles, including the “Al Wissam Script” and “Calligraforms,” set him apart as an avant-garde calligrapher in the contemporary Middle East. Shawkat’s work challenges the traditional constraints of Arabic calligraphy, unlocking new dimensions of visual expression. His art is a complexion of the infinite possibilities within each brushstroke letter and a testament to his continual dedication to pushing the boundaries of this ancient art form.
About Mestaria Gallery
Mestaria Gallery is a contemporary, affordable, non-intimidating art space located in the heart of the dynamic Alserkal Avenue Art District in Al Quoz, Dubai, UAE. First established as a gallery space in the UAE in the 1990’s, it is now one of the region’s foremost contemporary art spaces, specialising in works from accomplished regional and global talent, with a specific focus on work of an Arabic, African and Asian origin.