The Contemporary Calligrapher
Diaa Allam, Founder of Na7t Designs, the First Emirati Brand for Arabic Calligraphy Lifestyle bridges generational gaps.
What is it about calligraphy that interests you the most?
To me, Arabic calligraphy is directly related to who I am. It’s my culture, my origin, my character. I’ve been passionate about calligraphy since I was a kid. It was the reason why I decided to learn it. My calligraphy work represents my part of that. you’ve participated in many exhibitions and events. Which one Would you say Was the highlight of your career? I would say one of the major highlights of my career was when I won the Arabic calligraphy art competition that was organized by Al Dar in Abu Dhabi. It was a special occasion for me as I was competing next to very well-established artists and won 1st place. That was definitely one of my favorite achievements.
Do you think calligraphy still holds its important place in the arab World today or should more be done to bring it into the modern culture?
I actually think a lot should be done. However, we shouldn’t force people to love their own language. Instead, we have to know how to motivate them and encourage them to love it through other means. From my side, it was art. That is how I can contribute in making Arabs go back to, and appreciate, their language. Using my art, I try to make it more approachable for the current generation. This is especially the case with Arabic calligraphy, because it somehow became some kind of mystery for them. You won’t get them to appreciate it until you present it to them in a way that makes them feel connected to it.
Where do you find the inspiration for a calligraphy project? do you always draw it from emirati culture?
I can find inspiration anywhere. Anything in life can inspire you. The more you see, the more likely you are to be inspired. It’s all about imagination. How you can imagine something in combination with your art. From there, you can come up with new and creative ideas.
What messages do you often convey through your work? What do you want people to think about When they see your calligraphy?
I tend to mostly focus on motivation quotes. I like to write inspiring thing. It can be a way to inspire others to work hard. I’ve used a lot of quotes by HH Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoom. They were also mostly of the motivational type.
How does na7t designs set itself apart from the competition?
This can only be achieved by knowing how to improve yourself more and more each day. You have to always come up with innovative and creative ideas, and then keep at it. You will always succeed in standing out this way. You become something unexpected and make people go ‘wow’ every time. This is what motivates me to make Na7t Designs unique.
What was the most difficult project of your career so far? and how long did it take you to complete it?
I would have to say that it was that Calligraphy competition that I mentioned earlier. It was the first time I’ve ever worked for 8 days straight on a single canvas!
Is there a new project that you can share with our readers?
I’m currently working on a number of projects outside the UAE, including a new calligraphy mural. Hopefully, it will be announced very soon.