Our contributor Maria Pavel’s interview with Diaa Allam
– Your calligraphy style has a mathematical quality, and your artworks give the impression of puzzle pieces falling into place.
Did any specific aspect of your educational background impact your art aesthetics?
– Before I became a professional calligrapher, I was an urban planner. I have always been passionate about mathematics, especially about geometry, it just has a mesmerizing quality to it.
Actually, I used to like maths so much as a kid that I dropped out of the school’s basketball team to make sure I wasn’t skipping any math class. It is a funny story; I still remember the coach’s shock when I announced it. Most kids joined for the exact opposite reason, you know?
– I really love your collaborations with various fashion brands. The pieces are truly exceptional.
You ever think of having your own signature fashion brand with a permanent collection?
– Thank you. I love to see my art come to life in different ways. Fashion is a form of art, and a widely spread medium at that. I am always happy to know that the designs are living their own lives, and I’d like to think that wearing them bring people confidence.
We have a lot in the works, fashion is definitely one area that I’d love to explore further in the future.
– You have a broad experience with the new technologies and also a NFT account. But what you think about AI? Will replace or help the artists in the future? Because as of now it’s a bit confusing…
– It is no secret that I love using new technologies in my practice. New technologies have a way of reaching a wider audience and sending a clearer message. I can make my art move and transform, the limits are boundless.
For example, my current solo exhibition at the Mondoir gallery called “INFINITE” is an exploration of the limitlessness of art through different styles and mediums. Each physical piece is accompanied by its own digital counterpart, and it brings the message to a whole new new dimension, something you couldn’t possibly imagine with only the physical piece.
In terms of AI, I find that it’s such an interesting concept. I can’t speak for the future, but as of now AI still needs human input. I think that rather than taking over the art world, it will push artists to be even more creative and come up with new ideas. I am excited to see how we all evolve in the future, and I am happy to be part of the digital revolution.
– As a multidisciplinar artist I’m sure you’ve been asked before about sculpture.
Are any future prospects to create large scale sculptures in your style?
– I definitely have interest in sculptures and installations, but I like to take things slow. I always strive to go above and beyond with my practice, so I want to master the canvas even more for now. I already have ideas that I want to bring to life in sculptures, but I need to make sure I execute them properly, I am not in a rush.
– Besides calligraphy, what other forms of art do you enjoy observing? Do you have any favorite museums, artistic styles, eras, or international artists (not specifically related to calligraphy)?
– I keep my eyes always on the creativity of humans that comes in any shape or form. The kind of creativity that keeps me always inspired and motivated.
– Dubai Calligraphy Biennale is very rich this year, and you are participating in 3 events and a live performance at Firetti.
What are your tips for the artists who want to embrace live art?
Practice is one of the most important elements of doing a great live art performance. Always maintain your focus and your calmness and never fear to improvise.
– UAE is home to a diverse range of nationalities and cultures, providing an interesting and opportunity-filled environment.
What are the common values shared between the UAE and your art? What do you stand for, and what are the most frequently used words in calligraphy?
– Innovation, ambition and preservation of traditions and valus is what I feel in common with the UAE and my art … and the words I use the most are the words that are related to creativity, kindness and inspiration
About Diaa Allam
Celebrated for revolutionizing the traditional art form of Arabic calligraphy, Diaa Allam combines ancient techniques with innovative approaches to bridge the gap between History and the Future.
Although his calligraphy can be described as freestyle, Diaa Allam’s experience as an architect and urban planner gives his lettering style a uniquely distinctive feel, structuring sizes, forms, and shadows in a viscerally pleasing aesthetic.
As a multi-disciplinary artist, Diaa Allam has spent over a decade perfecting his expertise in Arabic calligraphy, Mural painting, 3D calligraphy, and Digital design. Additionally, by using new technologies such as NFTs, Metaverse, AI, and Augmented/Virtual reality, Diaa Allam aspires to spread the beauty of Arabic calligraphy and maintain Arabic culture’s influence in the inevitably digital future of art.
Winner of the 2016 Al Dar Calligraphy competition, Diaa Allam has since participated in many international events and collaborated with some of the world’s most prestigious brands, including Rolls Royce, BMW, Dior, Cartier, Tiffany&Co, Google, Apple, HSBC, Harrods and many more. Alongside his international clientèle, Diaa’s work has also caught the eye of many notable entities in the Middle East, such as Emaar, Mubadala, ADNOC, etc. making him one of the most prominent artists in the region.
His artwork has been featured in World-altering events such as the Expo 2020 Dubai, where he was a key artist in the center dome show, as well as commissioned to be gifted to His Holiness Pope Francis by the Grand Imam in 2021.
Throughout the years, Diaa Allam has also received significant exposure from reputable publications such as GQ Middle East and Vogue Arabia, as well as gathered an enthusiastic social media following of 220k+ on TikTok and Instagram.
Thanks to his eye-catching style and versatile practice, Diaa has received support from distinguished collectors, all of which are part of his exclusive membership, a unique initiative that aims to develop a unique community of Diaa Allam art collectors with special benefits and privileges.
You can read more about Diaa Allam and his art in our articles ‘INFINITE’: A Fusion of Arabic Calligraphy and Modern Tech and Dubai Calligraphy Biennale: Breaking Boundaries II.