Calligraphy Exhibition ‘IQRA’ at Heritage Museum, Lok Virsa

In connection with the holy month of Muharram-ul-Haram, Lok Virsa, in collaboration with Salim A Khan, a Pakistani national residing in Canada, is holding a calligraphy exhibition titled ‘Iqra’ from November 22-28.

The opening ceremony of the exhibition was held at the Pakistan National Museum of Ethnology, popularly known as Heritage Museum, at Lok Virsa (National Institute of Folk and Traditional Heritage). Lok Virsa’s Executive Director Khalid Javaid inaugurated the exhibition.

“It is a humble effort on the part of Lok Virsa and Salim Khan to mark the holy month of Muharram,” said Khalid Javaid in his address. He appreciated the services of Khan for bringing the exhibition to Lok Virsa.

A large number of people from different walks of life including cultural personalities, students, youth and general public attended the event.

The exhibition displays a collection of calligraphic panels on Qura’anic verses. In all, 64 panels are on display at the hall of changing exhibitions at the Heritage Museum. The exhibition will remain open for public till November 28 daily from 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. except Monday.

Earlier, the exhibition remained on display at Lahore Museum in October 2012 for 15 days. Salim Khan is now planning to take this exhibition to Karachi in December for display at the National Museum of Pakistan.

Salim Khan studied at the National College of Arts, Lahore and specialises in fine arts. In his earlier career, he joined the department of archaeology as a modeller. During his stay at the National Museum, Karachi he had the privilege to display many prominent exhibitions in Bangladesh and Pakistan. His distinguished contribution was the remarkable display at the Moenjodaro Museum in Sindh.

In 1973, Salim Khan migrated to Canada with his family where he is not only providing expertise in commercial graphics but also run a successful manufacturing business of neon signs. He leveraged his business and his artistic talents to contribute to the spirit of multi-culturalism in Canada. As an independent artist and as a member of several coordinating teams, Salim has been a key contributor to over 100 inter-cultural festivals and art exhibitions Qura’an is the book memorised and recited by millions of Muslims every day and it also forms basis of Islam. Unfortunately, it is almost always been read without understanding it. The aim of the exhibition is to emphasise on the importance of the understanding Qura’an.

Calligraphy, the art, which combines visual image and written word, is perhaps at its most brilliance in the arts of Islam. Islamic calligraphy traditionally took its inspiration from the Muslim belief in the divine origin of Arabic writing, the medium through which the Qura’anic revelation to the Holy Prophet Hazrat Muhammad (peace be upon him) was recorded.

In early Islam, the sanctity of Arabic writing was accepted among Arabs and non-Arabs alike, and its use in sacred and official texts gave rise to a wonderful profusion of scripts, and a calligraphic tradition, which has flourished for over a thousand years — not only in manuscript decoration in architecture, ceramics and painting.

Arabic is written from right to left and consists of characters, which, with the additions of dots placed above or below certain of them, provide the letters of the Arabic and many other modified letters in languages throughout the Islamic world. These features give the script its particular character. A line of Arabic suggests an urgent progress of the characters from right to left. The balance between the vertical shafts above and the open curves below the middle register induces a sense of harmony. For writing, the calligrapher employs a reed pen (qalam) with the working point cut at an angle. This feature produces a thick down stroke and a thin upstroke with infinity of gradation in between. The line traced by a skilled calligrapher is a true marvel of fluidity and sensitive inflection, communicating the very action of the master’s hand.


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