Diving into the Cosmos
Dear art seekers,
There are artworks that transport you to an ethereal place, others bring you back to reality and others leave you pondering how they were humanly made. Today’s artist successfully combines all three. I would describe Ahmed Moustafa’s work as jaw-dropping. I remember sticking my face to the frame at the Jordan National Gallery of Fine Arts, trying to convince myself that his work has been produced by a machine rather than by hand.
Born in Alexandria, Egypt in 1943, the artist began his studies in 1961 in the Faculty of Fine Arts and Architecture at Alexandria University. He then established a prominent reputation as a figurative painter in Egypt, before continuing his training in London, where he mastered Arabic printmaking and calligraphy.
In his doctoral research on the scientific foundation of Arabic letters, he placed Arabic letters into context with Ibn Muqla, a ninth century vizier and scribe, whose work on the exact geometric grid underlying the Arabic script inspired him. In fact, Muqla’s grid has served as time-honoured criteria for Arabic letters that have continued for a millennium. Rooted in his deep faith and academic knowledge of the science of Arabic script, his work derives from classic Arabic poetry as well as sacred Qur'anic texts and verses that call forth divine power. At the same time, he blends the classical European painting techniques with the disciplined skills of Islamic calligraphy - a rare breadth of traditions and versatility few artists possess!
The Inception Gallery, a gallery in France, described his work as following: “Moustafa’s life-long pursuit of the Divine Perfection is reflected in his wonderful understanding of shapes, numbers and geometry in the cosmos: in his explanation of a single character, which is the fundamental element in calligraphic writing or painting, there is always a head, body and tail.” (fig.1).
There is an interesting dynamic between the fluidity of his calligraphy layered with geometric shapes. In some parts of the work the calligraphy camouflages into geometric forms and metamorphosizes into a rigid geometric calligraphy (fig.3). While in other parts, the calligraphy restores its fluidity and blends into its background (fig.4).
If ink is metaphorically compared to the water of life, then a human being can be thought of as the pen. Through our human vessel, artists possess the power to create and write life’s blessings as a way of survival. In his own words, "Western art deals with the casual, rather than what I call the immutable essence.”
He then goes on to quote Michelangelo who said, “As Michelangelo said, ‘Good painting is nothing but a copy of the Perfection of God.’”
If you’re blown away like I am by Moustafa’s work, then check out his website!