A solo exhibition by Emirati artist and calligrapher Mohammed Mandi is now on view at the Sharjah Calligraphy Museum.
Opening on Thursday, the show titled Luminous Letters presents more than 60 artworks by Mandi, including a work wherein the artist inscribed the word "Sharjah" in 42 different forms.
Born in 1953, Mandi has been exhibiting his calligraphy designs and paintings at commercial and cultural spaces since the late 1990s. His work has also been featured in architecture, as part of the interior design of the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque in Abu Dhabi, and marble murals at Umm Al Emarat Park as well as mosque minarets in Germany and Austria.
Skilled in various styles of calligraphy, including Thuluth, Naskh, Diwani and Jeli Diwani, Mandi ventured into the visual art form in 1975, following in the footsteps of his father who was also an artist.
The show in Sharjah traces Mandi’s decades-long career, from his studies at the Arabic Calligraphy Improvement School in Cairo to his training under renowned Turkish calligrapher Hassan Chalabi in the 1970s.
His latest exhibition was inaugurated by Sheikh Salem bin Abdul Rahman Al Qasimi, Chairman of the Sharjah Ruler’s Office, and Manal Ataya, director general of Sharjah Museums Authority, which runs Sharjah Calligraphy Museum.
Ataya refers to Mandi as “one of the most prominent calligraphists in the country” and highlighted Sharjah Calligraphy Museum’s role in showcasing calligraphy art to the public. “Calligraphy is part of Islamic culture … We aim to educate visitors about the importance of preserving this distinguished art form, and passing it on to future generations via our children and family programmes,” she said.
Among Mandi’s key works are paintings with famous sayings by Sheikh Zayed, the Founding Father, and Sheikh Dr Sultan bin Muhammad Al Qasimi, Ruler of Sharjah. His works bearing pious phrases and prayers have also been collected by the Barjeel Art Foundation in Sharjah.
Mandi’s calligraphy can be seen on logos of various UAE government ministries. His script features in the passports of the UAE, Kuwait, Oman and Yemen, as well as on banknotes of the UAE, Bahrain and Syria.
In 2001, the Institut du Monde Arabe held a solo exhibition of his work in Paris.
Throughout his career, Mandi has also shared his knowledge of calligraphy through workshops at cultural events, including the London Book Fair, Frankfurt Book Fair and Amman Book Fair.
Luminous Letters is on view at Sharjah Calligraphy Museum until Saturday, December 4. More information is available at sharjahmuseums.ae