Calligraphy means “beautiful writing” and Arabic calligraphy (or more properly, Islamic calligraphy) is considered a high art form in the Arab world and is increasingly gaining recognition and appreciation worldwide.
Mohammed Charkaoui is an Islamic calligrapher who was first introduced to this art in primary school. Every day a half hour was devoted to art and then one day his teacher brought in the reed pens, ink and paper to teach Islamic calligraphy. Mohammed took to it straight away. His teacher encouraged him and even created an exhibition of his early efforts.
But Mohammed didn’t follow his natural proclivity for calligraphy right away. He went on to study mathematics and science. Although he always had an interest in beautiful handwriting, it wasn’t until he was about 20 years old before he picked up his pen in earnest and began decorative writing again. A group of friends formed a calligraphy club and slowly began to teach one another the proper positions for writing — how to sit, how to hold the pen, how to turn the paper. They exchanged tips on how best to create the forms and settle the mind in order to create the ornamental and decorative strokes that characterize Islamic calligraphy.
Mohammed’s background in mathematics has served him well for the planning of his calligraphy can take longer than the execution of it. He sees the entire finished product in his mind’s eye before putting pen to paper, or brush to wall when he’s creating a mural. He knows precisely where to place each form and how to fill the space before he applies the first stroke of his pen or brush.
Today, Mohammed is a teacher of Arabic and you one can imagine the beautiful handwriting his students must be learning. But all this is just fodder for his passion and Mohammed loves Islamic calligraphy. His own house is filled with it and he has been commissioned to decorate the walls of businesses and homes in Fes. His work is absolutely stunning.
Mohammed conducts calligraphy workshops to share his passion with others. With his years of study, practice and deep reverence for Islamic calligraphy, Mohammed is able to transmit an essential understanding of this art to his students in a way which gives the practitioner a deeper appreciation for the craft. Mohammed will tell you that calligraphy is understood to leave a trace of the writer’s moral fiber, and the quality of the writing is believed to reveal the writer’s character and piety.
If you’re interested in taking one of these incredible workshops with an outstanding calligraphy artist and want to learn more about the history of Islamic calligraphy, Café Clock will be delighted to arrange a session for you. Each 2 hour workshop is 350 DH per person and all materials are provided.