The art of Arabic calligraphy

Posted on November 3, 2012 by Toothpicker There have been 2 comment(s)

I am not sure if there is such a term, but I think I am a "compulsive learner". I constantly want to learn new skills even though I barely have the time to pursue them.

I have always been interested in different cultures especially Arabic, partly due to my fascination with its arts, crafts and architecture. I have wanted to learn Arabic calligraphy for a long time but was not able to find the right course at the right time. At the British Museum's Arabia Late event earlier this year, I tried it out for the first time at the free workshop and it triggered my enthusiasm once again.


Calligraphy work at The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York


After another half day workshop in the summer, I finally found a longer weekly course that allows me to learn it properly. Like every new skill, I struggled a lot initially and got quite frustrated with myself because I didn't know how to control the qalam ( the pen made of reed or bamboo). I have learned Chinese calligraphy before but using a soft brush is hardly the same as using a qalam. Though when it comes to learning new skills, the most important elements are always: dedication, patience, concentration and practice.


Work by calligrapher, Behnam Eczeer


I lacked patience at the beginning but slowly through practice, my skills improved and now I find the process extremely meditative. My calligraphy teacher has spent most of his life perfecting the art form and at his exhibition opening two weeks ago, I was able to truly appreciate the effort and skills behind his work.

I don't aspire to be a master calligrapher, but I enjoy learning and writing the script, it's not just about the techniques, it is also a great opportunity for me to practise mindfulness. Despite my job requirement, I dislike sitting in front of the computer all day long, so learning to 'write' with pen and ink feels like going back to basics, and it I think it's necessary before I forget how to write again!


Behnam Eczeer's calligraphy exhibition has been extended until early Dec. It is open to the public every Wednesdays 6 to 9 pm at Salam House, 6-10 Lyons Place, Maida Vale, NW8 8NL.

Also, there are many beautiful calligraphy works at the new British Library exhibition: Mughal India: Art, Culture and Empire ( now until 2nd April 2013).


This post was posted in London, Exhibitions, Calligraphy, Traditional arts & crafts and was tagged with London, art and design exhibitions, Arabic calligraphy

2 Responses to The art of Arabic calligraphy

  • shazia says:

    Shazia here. I was wondering if you did or knew of any place who teaches Arabic calligraphy? If your institute offers it, please do let me know the start date, location and fees.

    Posted on November 4, 2015 at 1:09 pm

  • Hi Shazia,
    Yes, I spent three years learning Arabic calligraphy at London Arabian Oasis School of Arabic ( in Holborn. Each term is 7 weeks, but I think it is possible to join at any time. You can contact Abdul at Hope this is useful!

    Posted on November 5, 2015 at 9:55 pm