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CANCELED: Arab American Heritage Month | The Beautiful Hand: History, Development and Styles of Arabic Calligraphy


Wednesday April 15, 2020: 7:00pm to 8:30pm


Downtown Library: 4th Floor Meeting Room


Due to circumstances beyond our control, this event has been canceled. We apologize for the inconvenience.

Nihad Dukhan is an American-Arab artist and a professor of mechanical engineering.  As a native of Gaza, Palestine, his interest in Arabic calligraphy began when he was in the sixth grade.  In addition to traditional calligraphy, Dukhan produces designs in his free modern form.  His work has been exhibited in major US cities and sold in the US, Europe, the Middle East and Japan. Professor Dukhan is active in promoting Arabic/Islamic calligraphy and increasing people’s awareness of its cultural significance through exhibits, lectures and workshops.  His intent is not only to attract the Arabic speaking audience, but to penetrate barriers and touch other languages and cultures.

This lecture covers the history, development, techniques, training and styles of the art of Arabic calligraphy. It also touches on the philosophical aspect of it, and its intimate relationship to Arab culture. The lecture includes numerous prime examples of the different styles from different periods and different regions of the Arab World. It is concise and tailored to serve as an educational session to an audience with a considerable variation in knowledge of Arabic and calligraphy.

The lecture includes a brief description of the Arabic language and its alphabet as well as the origins of the Arabic script. This is followed by an aesthetic appreciation of the art of Arabic calligraphy and its intricate geometry, rhythm and visual impact.

The historical discussion trances the origins of Arabic calligraphy starting around the Seventh Century and talks about calligraphy in the different Arab dynasties from the seventh century, and some of the non-Arab dynasties that use the Arabic script. This part is infused with a list of major calligraphers and their impact on the art throughout the period. Special attention is given to the three founding masters during the first golden Abbasid period: ibn Muqla, ibn al-Bawwab and Yaqut al-Must’asmi. The measurement system of the letters using the rhombic dot is also presented.

The technique for Arabic calligraphy writing is shown including the tools to cut and trim the reed pen, the ink and the inkwell and the special classical Arabic calligraphy paper. The special master-pupil relationship in teaching/learning the art, as well as the calligraphic Ijazah, are both highlighted. The state of the art is presented, and the lecture ends with a visual description of my modern style and its foundations.