Tag Archives: Dissertation

Dissertation PDP

Writing my dissertation was an experience I had been looking forward to starting for most of my time at university. Although at first I had no idea what I wanted to write about, through Field and Subject work I discovered the world of calligraphy; Arabic calligraphy in particular. I began to research and enjoyed watching various videos throughout my research, however I began to find reading very difficult, not only because most of the research the topic that I was researching into was in Arabic, but also because I found out that I have dyslexia. Calling this a hurdle, is an understatement, but its what I had to overcome and although I tried my best to get as much help for it; circumstances didn’t allow for any further help to be given to me. I continued to research and although hit ‘ a wall’ for a period of time, I ensured I was always informed on any updates in the world of Arabic calligraphy and in the Arabic graffiti scene; to keep motivated.

Looking more into the history of the world of Arabic calligraphy made me feel a sense of pride and I was incredibly interested in the way the language was able to spread not just in the arabian peninsula; but also on a global scale over time. The religious connections that Arabic calligraphy has with Islam are plenty, and it is believed that Arabic is the sacred language representing Islam now. The spreading of the language and the religion, ensured that calligraphy remained loved and appreciated through time. The verse in the Quran named “Al Qalam” meaning The Pen, discusses the importance of documenting history and the stories through time to ensure the same values and morals remain with the future generations, through the use of a pen and calligraphy. Calligraphy was also a way to show respect to the text in the holy book, as it is considered a skill that may only be mastered by a pupil who is also trained by a master, after much practice. This added an importance to the skill and the reputation that goes with being named a skilled master calligrapher; ensuring that it has remained a respected skill till this day.


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I researched more into the contemporary side of calligraphy as that is where I was able to find a large variety of resources to research and was able to connect it personally to myself (as I grew up in Jordan in the Middle East, and this made it interesting and easy for me to relate to). Festivals, exhibitions and work from Dismaland inspired me both in my dissertation and in my practical work for my Subject project (gallery exhibition), are all the way I tried to research and what I began to become influenced by in my dissertation and in my practical work. I started to see the two merge into each other naturally throughout my work and began to feel inspired to continue to incorporate Arabic calligraphy in my practical work.

In my dissertation I examine the different styles of old Arabic calligraphy and where they all decent from (which is scattered and influenced from all over the Arabian Peninsula). I then proceed to look into and examine the way contemporary Middle Eastern artists and artists that have been inspired by the Middle Eastern art, are creating work with the same traditions, styles, structures and rules applied in calligraphy throughout their work. This was something that inspired me to practice my calligraphy skills in my work and incorporate the same rules in the way I write all the text throughout my work.

Looking at contemporary Arabic artists like Mohammed Gaber from Egypt, whose work has been used as a symbol of unity in during the Egyptian revolution.


Or Shirin Neshat whose work is about socio-economical issues and issues of inequality for women in the Middle East, having lived in places like Saudi Arabia and Morocco.



Throughout my research I began to feel more and more inspired and passionate about the issues in the Middle East and in my opinion my dissertation research is what really kept me inspired and become more aware about the issues in the Middle East in recent history.

In my practical work I incorporated Arabic calligraphy, poetry, emotional responses and objects that I found that relate to my work, all together, to create a personal and strong emotional feeling, for the viewer to experience the narrative of my work, which is usally about the refugees and war. Although my work has taken a toll on me at times, as it is not particularly happy concepts my work deals with, I have remained inspired and tried to use my dissertation research as fuel for creating my work, which I am so passionate about, and want to make a difference and have my voice heard, when it comes to the Middle Eastern issues and the way through art, messages and truths can be shared. Silent protests can be held and symbols of solidarity can be shared enabling the voices of the people to be heard.

I have been using the material and objects in my work along side the calligraphic skills that I have learnt throughout my dissertation research, to be the strength and foundations in my work to portray my narrative concepts. Through using found objects that I have collaged, painted and written calligraphy over them, I have created pieces that have more of a cultural representation as though the objects themselves have the ability to suggest to the viewer what my work is about.

I have thoroughly enjoyed writing my dissertation and although its been difficult and trying at times, it has opened a whole new world of inspiration and respect in my artist work and I know i will continue to research and practice calligraphy throughout the rest of my work for a long time to come.


Dissertation PDP – Arabic Calligraphy

From the moment we left the first dissertation lecture to this very day, I get nervous at any mention of it. Not because it’s a long and detailed essay that requires hours of research and thought (well of course that makes me a little nervous); but mainly because I want to be able to express myself about a subject I have become growingly more and more passionate about over the course of the last few months, in the best way I possibly can and to give such a beautiful and well respected art form, the credit it deserves.

Calligraphy is something that I began to experiment with and incorporate into my subject and field work in a playful manner and I had previously never really known the level of skill and amount of time and dedication that it required. My work in our subject and field projects have always been based on my roots growing up in the Middle East and the way it has influenced and inspired me so far. The culture, the beliefs, the landscapes, the traditions, the people; all shaped who I am today and continue to drive me to research and learn more about it all and to be able to share it with those around me in my new environment here. While working on some pieces in the last few months that were about the refugees from Syria that had moved to the refugee camps in Jordan (which is home for me) and how their lives had changed so drastically for worse; but still remained strong and optimistic. This is something that has inspired me to appreciate everything and everyone I have an in my life and I wanted to be able to create work that made people feel the same way when they view my art. I wanted to use subtle messages and symbols that evoked a certain feeling of curiosity about what the subject matter of my pieces was about. I experimented with textures; which resembled the desert ground and used colours that were bright and vibrant to capture peoples attention and create an optimistic vibe, but needed to find a way to effectively portray my important and powerful message across. I began to experiment with text and typography and then started to incorporate traditional arabic calligraphy and more intricate styles of text in my work. The more I played around with text and the harder I found it, the more interested I became in the methodology and technique they required. However when I first started to think about my dissertation I hadn’t really thought about connecting the two and just looked forward to working on my level of calligraphic skill to improve it in my practical work. I began reasserting the history of art in the middle east and the many different ways it has evolved; from ancient egyptian hieroglyphics to modern and contemporary art today. I was excited about the hundreds of different art forms that were popular in the Middle East but began to panic a bit as I was unsure what to focus on in such a broad area of research. At first the history and influences of the evolution of art in the Middle East as a whole was what I was considering looking into in depth, however after a meeting and discussion with my dissertation tutor; it clicked. Calligraphy; arabic calligraphy specifically and the many ways it has evolved and changed over time was definitely the way to go. I began to research into the origins of calligraphy and the arabic language and found out that there are more than one theories of where and who started or created it and remain fascinated by them. Also how they have evolved and spread from country to country and the many ways they have changed and evolved because of these influences. I have become so interested in the history of it all and in my own time (despite having studied some of the history in school and was uninterested and unengaged by it) have become captivated by it all and constantly research and explore the world of arabic calligraphy.

I’m unsure of where I will end up exactly with my research and how far it it will take me with my practical work as well, but I’m looking forward to the process and to learn more about this skill itself and its many variations¬†in depth. Although I’m still a little anxious about the writing of the essay itself, I plan to do my best and try to explore and portray the world of Arabic calligraphy and its history to the best of my capabilities. So, here’s to the next few months and hopefully the beginning of the next turning point in my art work.