Islamic calligraphy involves the skill of writing Qur’anic verses and Ayaat in an artistic manner. It has a special significance for Muslims, especially in the Holy month of Ramadan. In the spirit of this month, a well thought-out exhibition titled Hurouf opened on 6th June, 2017 at Satrang Art Gallery, in collaboration with the Turkish Embassy. The show was inaugurated by the Ambassador of Turkey, H.E. S. Babur Girgin and his wife, and was followed by a light course of iftar for the guests.
The exhibition showcased the work of two master calligraphers: Rasheed Butt from Pakistan and Ferhat Kurlu from Turkey. Such collaborative events, featuring artists from different countries, provide a unique exposure to the art community residing in the capital.
“In the context of this exhibition, ‘Hurouf’ means the ‘Art of Letters’. The artists have a distinct signature or manner in their artworks. Ferhat Kurlu, a master calligrapher from Turkey, is the recipient of several prestigious international accolades, while Rasheed Butt is the foremost calligrapher from Pakistan, who has dedicated his life to this practice”, explained Asma Rashid Khan, the director of Satrang Art Gallery.
Ferhat Kurlu was born in Turkey in 1976. He was trained by Dr. Muzaffer Ecevit, who not only helped him improve his writing skills, but also provided him with vital knowledge about the art of Islamic calligraphy. This became a turning point in his life and developed his passion to follow this path.
The spiritual value of his artwork emerges not only from the context, but also from the lyrical form of the letters. The materials he has worked with are ink and real gold on handmade paper. Most of his artworks follow a minimalistic approach. Some consist not only of manuscripts but also illuminated borders, enhancing the beauty of the final presentation. The colour palette features subtle combinations that are soothing to the human eye, with centralized compositions that form the basic characteristics of calligraphy.
On the other hand, Rasheed Butt, a well-known calligrapher of Pakistan, has been on this artistic journey since 1961. As he says, “My work in Islamic calligraphy is my fate and destiny to which I have dedicated my life.”
His paintings focus mainly on Qur’anic verses and Sunnah. His colour palette is exquisite, emphasizing the spiritual message of God. The paintings featuring ‘Ayat-al-Kursi’, and the series on ‘99 Names of Allah’ reveal the expertise of the artist. While explaining his motivations, Rasheed Butt says, “I am fascinated by the timeless and captivating message of the Holy Qur’an and Sunnah. It gives me much pride to know that my hand is an instrument in creating the delightful expression of this Divine message. I feel honoured that the Almighty has bestowed upon me this opportunity to spread this Divine message to audiences worldwide.”
Artists like Rasheed Butt and Ferhat Kurlu have taken on the responsibility to spread the message of Islam through art. The efforts of Satrang Art Gallery to promote such talent are commendable, and the exhibition is definitely worth a visit.
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