What is Hurufiyya? At first glance, in our moment in the 21st Century, this mode (loosely translated as “letterism”) may be indistinguishable from calligraphy. However, its appearance in the middle of the last century marked a break from a previous era of creative output. Whereas calligraphy carried with it long-standing styles and relationships, modern hurufiyya comes in an era of highly individual exploration, developed amidst modern conditions. The originators of the form, as well as its most innovative practitioners, experienced first-hand the modern experiences of travel, of exile, international life, conflict, and identity, which figure in their work. This exhibition explores various aspects of hurufiyya, its expression throughout the region, and its trajectory into the present, introducing various snapshots of moments, approaches, and artists, and their concerns over the 20th Century and into the 21st.
Curator - Karim Sultan