Museum of Islamic Art Opens Calligraphy Exhibition by Mohamed Zakariya

A series of new calligraphy works by renowned Muslim American calligrapher Mohammad Zakariya are now on display on the 4th floor of the Museum of Islamic Art starting today until 10 January 2012. The exhibition titled “An Eloquent Eye: Recent Works by Mohamed Zakariya” reveals the beauty of Arabic calligraphy through Qur’anic verses, poetry and proverbs.

The exhibition will feature texts from the Qur’an that are less commonly used in calligraphy, along with a number of basmalas. Difficult to translate without simplification, the basmala is the Qur’anic phrase meaning, roughly, “In the name of God, whose mercy is the foundation of His creation, whose mercy is directed specifically.” It is a prime theological concept in Islam, as well as texts from Islamic literature and poetry.

Quranic verse by Zakaria

Quranic verse by Zakaria

Commenting on this exhibition, Aisha Al Khater, Director of the Museum of Islamic Art said: “Museum of Islamic Art is proud to host Mohamed Zakariya’s works featured at our new temporary exhibition space on the 4th floor. Calligraphy is the leading art form of the Islamic world, in which words are honored through punctilious attention and conscious touch, and it’s our duty to present this art to local audience and all visitors of the Museum of Islamic Art.”

Mohamed Zakariya grew up in Southern California and in 1961 he accepted Islam and began to learn the Arabic language and the study of Islamic calligraphy. His interest in Islamic culture took him many times to Morocco, Spain, and England, where he remained for a few years studying calligraphy and manuscripts at the British Museum.

Since settling in the Washington, D.C., area in 1972, Zakariya has traveled frequently to Turkey and the Arabian Gulf where he exhibited his work and lectured on calligraphy. His most well-known work is his design of the “Eid Greetings” U.S. postage stamp in 2001. He made recent appearances the Doris Duke Foundation for Islamic Art in Honolulu in Hawaii; solo exhibitions at the Institute for Works on Paper in San Francisco; and the Bellevue (Washington) Arts Center; and group exhibitions in Dubai and Kuwait.

Alongside his exhibition at the Museum of Islamic Art, Mohamed Zakariya will hold a calligraphy workshop at the Education Centre on Wednesday 26 October, 2011. Next month MIA will open another temporary exhibition titled “The Dream of a King: Dresden’s Green Vault.”

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