A proverb once stated that ‘necessity is the mother of invention’. While we usually acknowledge this saying when it comes to technology and innovation, we rarely apply it to our perception of art. The need to create art could arrive from a desire to beautify our surroundings or to simply tell a story. With the rise of public art in all of its exciting forms, officially and unofficially commissioned, perhaps this proverb takes on new meaning.
In the case of visual artist Karim Jabbari, one of the leading purveyors of what is now recognized as light art calligraphy, innovation and art come together beautifully and whimsically. In association with Nuqat, local creatives took advantage of a truly unique workshop and creative experience. Entitled, ‘We Are The Artwork’, Karim Jabbari led the workshop and its participants toward creating a final art installation in the one of Kuwait City’s main intersections, near Souq Al-Mubarakiya.
The main premise behind this workshop is to demonstrate the importance of collaboration to learn something new, and achieve a final art piece. The huge installation of wall art involved the combination of various portraits of the participants mixed in with Karim’s abstract calligraphic style. Throughout the three day workshop that took place from the 29th of January and lasted until the 1st of February, participants of the workshop were also introduced to Karim Jabbari’s unique technique of creating light calligraphy and light paintings. The final product involved the collaborative efforts of all of the participants, speaking to Nuqat’s theme for 2015, which revolves around practicing the collective approach in every facet of our creative and daily lives. For three consecutive days, participants combined their newly learned knowledge and techniques with elements of graphic design, calligraphy and street art collage. To this day, you can visit the commanding street art piece in Kuwait city, a testament to a truly collaborative approach to Karim’s inspired technique.
The workshop participants and volunteers involved come from different walks of life, all coming together to share in learning something new and profound. Each and every one of their efforts will live on in the finished street art piece, proving that they are the artwork indeed! The participants included: Nour Alsane, Farah Haidar, Abdallah Asem, Afrah Buhamrah, Dalal Abdullah, Nour Alkhuraibet, Margaret McKenzie, Salima Merhebi, Hashem Al baghli, Haya AlMana, Dalal AlSaeed, Fahad AlSabah, Yousef Sitabouha, Hammed AlMutawa, Bader Al Hasan, Aysha Al Nafisi.
Karim first turned to calligraphy and the arts when he was only twelve years old. Experiencing many struggles as a child, and after seeing how his dad battled many difficulties for his political views in their homeland of Tunis, Karim turned to calligraphy for answers. After leaving home to pursue his studies abroad, he always turned once again to calligraphy to remind himself of where he came from. Karim became consumed with letters, words and syllables, crafting meaningful messages in the form of classic Kufi and Maghrebi calligraphy. Karim believes that his work is in constant evolution, but his most recent work practicing and almost perfecting light calligraphy techniques leaves us fascinated.
Truly innovative, Karim’s work took him to new heights when he discovered new ways to incorporate Arabic calligraphy into our surroundings using a simple SLR camera and a flashlight. With this technique, our everyday surroundings are transformed to carry new meaning, presenting a second nature of our surroundings. During the workshop, participants, including this bazaar staff writer, were able to experience and learn this technique up close. The final result produced images that seemed to be digitally altered, but they are actually the result of carefully thought our movements in the dark, captured on camera. We asked Karim about how to recreate these steps at home. He explained, “The light calligraphy discipline needs precision, concentration and a sense of orientation to try to write in space with a source of light. The process is very simple; using a DSLR camera you set it on Manual mode (M) and change the following settings, the shutter speed, aperture and iso. Then using a remote trigger we can take the time needed to realize the calligraphy you want.”
If you’re feeling uninspired, or simply looking for a new way to express your own story, never feel overwhelmed by the pressure. If anything, Karim advises you to use it to create something entirely new and different. Karim leaves us with this inspiring note, “Most people end up becoming prisoners of their negativity, and their bad habits take over their life, leaving them to never discover what their talents are. BE POSITIVE!”
You can find more information about Karim Jabbari at www.madefromwords.com, or follow him on Instagram @Karim_Jab. For more information about Nuqat, head to www.nuqat.me. Follow Nuqat on Instagram @Nuqat, Facebook: NuqatME and Twitter @nuqatweets.