Mussarat Arif recently showcased her recent calligraphic works at a local exhibition. There is no doubt that calligraphy is one of the most venerated form is Islamic Art in today’s world. The artist is known for her beautifully detailed and intricate calligraphies.
Mussrat has been fascinated and drawn to Islamic text and verses since she began her study in the history of Muslim rule. Sharing her inspiration, the artist says, “During the Ottoman period, calligraphy gained a very high standing in society and several women calligraphers flourished. In the sub-continent history there were many known women calligraphers who worked with their heart and soul. This further helped in spreading the calligraphy art throughout the region. The first Mughal emperor Babar’s wife was a calligrapher and painter. Aurangzeb’s daughter Mehar-un-Nisa Begum was also famous for practicing Calligraphy art.”
The artist describes her technique, style and preferred mediums in detail, “I use Kufi’ form of calligraphy in my artworks with painterly touch. I produce calligraphic art governed by the principles of balance and proportion, rhythm and unity. I incorporate various patterns and geometric designs in my work which interwoven with the words of the Holy Quran emits a soul touching aura. The journey of self-discovery motivated me to the creative world of painting. I prefer Kufi calligraphy using various types of mediums, including oils, acrylics, watercolors and pastels. My recent work in calligraphy appears in square and circular shapes, highlighted by bright red, green, blue, ochre and black. The arcs and loops, ovals and circles, vertical and horizontal lines are used as designs in my artworks. The basic geometrical forms remain the same in all works. I choose the most appropriate form I like to use in my calligraphic paintings. I decorate my paintings with bright colours, glitters and Islamic motifs. I use moon and ‘Takhtee’ symbolically for unknown and known realities of this world. I also use new elements such as patterns of ‘Ajrak’ - a local symbol in my calligraphy.”
A few of the artist calligraphies are on ceramics. Mussarat’s love for ceramics is not new but dates back to her maternal ancestors who used to make art pieces out of clay. In fact a piece done by her great grandfather is one of primary sources of inspiration for her.
It is important for an artist to be open to experimentation and exploration of different styles and mediums, for their personal journey and for the betterment of the art they create. Not all artists are as open to experimenting once they become comfortable with a certain medium and style, but what makes Mussarat stand out that she is always keen to learn and experiment with new techniques.