Today, the IES Abroad Center organized a visit from a master calligrapher. He has been a calligraphy professor for 26 years, and he does incredible calligraphy art in mosques and private properties all over the country. Arabic calligraphy is a major art in Morocco and in the Arab world, way moreso than calligraphy is in western cultures. He described how, in the Arab world, there was never an emphasis on realism or romanticism like the west had; in the Arab world, it's all about geometric frescos and calligraphy. He told us that there are 8 main kinds of arabic calligraphy, and he showed them all to us. They all look so different, but so beautiful! And, when Qu'ranic verses are written in a single type of calligraphy, it is sung/chanted a certain way. So, because there are 8 main types of arabic calligraphy, there are 8 main melodic patterns of chanting surahs. I of course had an artistic fit of excitement.
I had never written in Arabic before. I had written in Hebrew, which has some common elements with Arabic, but it was scary to just dive into trying arabic calligraphy. Gabby, the other student who attended the calligraphy session, already knew the alphabet and how to write her name. I still think I did pretty well, though! The photos in the gallery are of calligraphic renderings of my name in Arabic. My arabic "nom de plume" in Morocco has been Zeina. "Adrienne" is a hard name to remember in any language, but especially in Arabic, so I don't mind going by another name as long as people remember it. I took the name from Zeina Abirached, a lebanese graphic novellist of francophone expression of whom I am a big fan. Anyway, the calligraphy reads "Zeina Lane." The photo of multiple lines of calligraphy is from when I practiced writing my name in two different types of arabic calligraphy. The fancy ones in blue ink were done by the master himself.
Learning about all these new artistic methods and philosophies in Morocco has me very inspired. I can't want to use them in my art once I find my pencil pouch, which I hope has only been temporarily misplaced at the IES Abroad Center or in my homestay.
More Blogs From This Author
<p>Hi, my name is Adrienne Cecile, though many just know me as Ace. I am originally from Los Angeles, and I am now a rising senior at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where I specialize in biotechnology and Franco-Arab Studies. I have a huge passion for making art, particularly drawing and sewing. I spend a lot of my time at school at my arts fraternity, St. Anthony Hall, where I do community arts outreach and make a lot of art, of course. I am so excited to be in a Francophone country for the first time after studying French for eight years, and I cannot wait to learn Arabic and do independent research on minoritiy communities in Urban Morocco.</p>