Mohammad Bozorgi discusses darkness, hope and emotion in Ramadan exhibition

Mohammad Bozorgi’s exhibition Against The Darkness is on show in Ayyam Gallery in Dubai’s DIFC. His abstract calligraphic works are on show during Ramadan. Here we catch up with him for a quick Q&A.

Q: Why did you decide to choose follow the concept of darkness in this exhibition?

It is not only about darkness, it is about darkness and hope. About darkness and the battle with darkness; about the ugly face of darkness.

About a little flame of hope to brighten our dismal world. This series Coloured Tears, Grey World was created at a time when the world, and especially the Middle East, burned in the flames of war. The series has two main characteristics: One is the pronounced presence of colour, and the second, the complexity of forms of letters and words. I am rebelling and protesting against the darkness by using more colours in my new works.

Q: Specifically you mention a state of despair in the world today, lost lives and a tribute to the young victims of war - can you explain how your abstract calligraphic words summarize these states?

It is difficult to show some sense of emotion with pure calligraphy. Calligraphy (compared to painting, photography or video art) has no potential to show subject matter such as war, peace, poverty, or hunger. I have tried to convey meaning with colour, meaningful words, composition, and in the titles of works. For example, in Martyred Child (Damascus) I have written the following words in Arabic: history, martyred child, freedom, war, regret, tears, and blood, in order to show our responsibility to history.

Q: Where is the hope in the exhibition?

The work titled Hearts Can Fly is my ultimate dream of floating hearts in peace and kindness. In Secret Garden, I address my constant search for a lost paradise. This heavenly place is the ultimate peace and harmony.

In Hope, I seek and search for hope. I use many bright colours to show humanity's colourful dreams, which we hope become a reality.

Q: Your calligraphy is quite a departure from the traditional forms, bound with rules and traditions. Can you explain why it was important to break away from that?

From my point of view, traditional calligraphy has nothing to say these days. Over centuries and decades, our leading calligraphers have said what we should say. So we must try to bring new forms to grab the attention of viewers.

These days most of our calligraphers cannot reflect the situation of our region in their works because of two central reasons: maybe they cannot (because of the nature of calligraphy) or they don’t believe that this is one of the missions of a calligraphy artist. So I decided to migrate from carefreeness to responsibility. Of course for this journey you should have a command of the ancient and traditional rules of calligraphy.

Q: Should a viewer look for religious significance in your words or have you also left that association behind?

Yes and no. Overall, in my works I consider the God as an inevitable truth, which is something found in all religions. But also in this exhibition I am begging people, humanity, to do something themselves. And compared to my last show, there is less religious meaning in the works of the current exhibition.

Q: This show is up during Ramadan, do you feel that is important at all considering the content of your art?

Ramadan is the season of friendship and peacefulness. Ramadan is the season of meditation and thoughtfulness. Ramadan is the season of solidarity.

Because of this at this time we should also remember the situation of people who are involved in war.

On the other hand, Ramadan has a very difficult and long-standing connection to calligraphy, dating back to a thousand years ago. The meditation that happens during fasting season is the same that occurs in calligraphy. Twilight and sunrise vigils are the meanings and concepts that are very important and vital in both Ramadan and calligraphy.