In March 2015, I was invited to conduct a workshop for the design students at the Dar Al Hekma University in Jeddah, during its international design symposium: Reinventing the Vernacular. My workshop theme was ‘Contemporary Arabic Calligraphy’, which I introduced my vision of developing the art of Arabic calligraphy, and how it can be blended into other modern visual forms, and keeping its soul and originality in the same time. The workshop has focused on the practical aspects, by asking students to sketch, play, experiment and then try to come up with genuine artworks that reflect each student own style and point of view.
Another important aspect was how to create you own calligraphy tools, and that is a vital issue of my art practice, so I’ve carried this sort-of-philosophy to my students and we started to create our own tools from affordable materials and basic objects: Foam boards, Erasers, Toothbrushes, Latex gloves.. etc. That was a great part that introduced a new experiences to the workshop participants.
In the last workshop day we decided to do something really cool and different, and compete with the other running workshops in university, so we took the key characteristics of Dar Al Hekma University which were:
Each student has selected a keyword to write it in her own calligraphic style, then after too many trials and options a final good design for the word has to be made, this design will be applied on large A3 paper, then to be stencilled using cutters exactos. So after we collected 12 different designs combined with the university typographic name, the students have done a brave thing – in my opinion – which was spraying the calligraphic designs into their class wall, that step, has nominated them to earn the title: First Saudi Female Street Artists!
That wall has got a good reputation in the university, so we decided to participate in all workshops exhibition, by doing a huge A0 poster having all the designs sprayed again on it.
It was a great experience at Dar Al Hekma, I hope that I left a good impact on the students to help them in their design career.