Arabic Calligraffiti: How Calligraphy Found Its Way Into Urban Arts
A book traces how Arabic calligraphy found its way into contemporary design, street art, and fashion.
Recent developments in the Middle East have given its “creative class” an unprecedented level of freedom to tag, draw, subvert, and write in public spaces. One consequence of this is that deep-rooted fields, namely calligraphy, are experiencing a phase of intense re-purposing.
Attention was called to the connection between calligraphy and graffiti in 2007 with street art veteran Shoe (aka Niels Shoe Meulman). This international movement, referred to as Calligraffiti is defined by Shoe as “traditional handwriting with a metropolitan attitude”. What makes Shoe’s thinking especially potent is that it frames the tradition of calligraphy as a way to break away from graffiti’s conventions. A good analogy would be to think of how incorporating ballet can enrich a breakdancer’s visual power: