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Tunisian letterer Nja Mahdaoui (b.1937) earned a repute for his meticulous calligraphic design in ink on parchment and is referred to by friends as a “Choreographer of Letters.” Whereas his work is impressed by Arabic calligraphy, he considers himself an explorer of indicators. His inventive method relies on summary indicators and compositions— devoid of precise textual which means— which he refers to as Calligrams or Graphemes.

Pictures (left) © Nja Mahdaoui (proper) © Ammar Abd Rabbo

Mahdaoui is extensively recognized within the Arab world and has acquired a lot worldwide recognition, together with the World Artwork Awards in 2017, the Grand Prize of Arts and Letters from the Tunisian Ministry of Tradition in 2006, and the UNESCO Crafts Prize for the Arab States in 2005. In america, his in depth work is barely acknowledged; such is the compartmentalization of design, even within the age of the web.

Nonetheless, his visibility is to not be denied. He has been honored as speaker and jury member at Sharjah Worldwide Arabic Calligraphy Biennial, the Worldwide Arts Biennial of Tehran, the Abu Dhabi Artwork Pageant, and the Worldwide Jury of the UNESCO Prize for the Promotion of the Arts.

Mahdaoui designed monumental calligraphic works, together with home windows murals for Fb Headquarters in Menlo Park, California (2018), window facades for the ALECSO headquarters in Tunis (2015), the KAUST College Campus Mosque in Saudi Arabia (2010), the Gulf Air aircrafts (fiftieth Anniversary, 2000), the Aramco head workplace in Dharan, Saudi Arabia, and enormous scale sculptures and tapestries for the airports in Jeddah and Riyadh.

His works have additionally been featured in quite a few exhibitions and publications around the globe. This consists of Phrase into Artwork on the British Museum, The Brush dances & the Ink Indicators on the Hermitage Museum, Views: Arab & Iranian fashionable masters on the Saatchi Gallery, the Arab E book Artwork on the French Nationwide Library. You too can discover his work in main public collections around the globe, together with the British Museum in London, the Smithsonian Museum in Washington DC, Mathaf – Arab Museum of Fashionable Artwork in Doha, IMA – Institut du Monde Arabe in Paris, and The Nationwide Gallery of Kuala Lumpur.

Under is a small sampling of how he’s used his inventive mastery to invigorate his surroundings and tradition.

Ghubar, Indian ink, silver and gold on parchment, 60 x 60 cm, c. 2000.
Akmar 1, Indian ink, coloration ink and gold on linen canvas, 200 x 200 cm, 2009.
Akmar 2, Indian ink, coloration ink and gold on linen canvas, 200 x 200 cm, 2009.
KAUST MOSQUE SCREEN The Campus Mosque of King Abdullah College of Science and Expertise, Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, 2010.
(left) CALLIGRAMM ON PARCHMENT Indian ink and gold on parchment. British Museum-London.
(proper) THE DRUM’S SILENCE Indian ink on vellum. Double membrane drum. British Museum-London.

Mahdaoui is a fan and participant of up to date African music and dance, and ceaselessly performs with poets, musicians, and dancers in these musical happenings. When in use, the above drum is suspended from the shoulder by a leather-based belt and performed with two wood beaters. This massive drum is much like these performed in Jerba and Kerkenna Islands, and the diameter of any such drum varies from 40 to 70 centimeters. Non secular festivals, ceremonies, and spontaneous public occasions in Tunisia are often accompanied by musical performances which embrace each vocal and percussive components.

CALLIGRAM 5. Indian ink and gold on parchment paper, 100 x 100 cm, 1985. The British Museum, London
GULF AIR PLANES. Successful mission of the worldwide competitors for the exterior designs of 4 aircrafts to mark the Gulf Air fiftieth Anniversary, Bahrein, 2000. Creation of the exterior designs of 4 aircrafts: 1 Boeing & 3 Airbus.
MAQAM ESSAFA (MAQAMS OF PURITY). Misplaced wax bronze sculpture (22,5 carat gold leaf). Version of 4.



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