*** ----> Arabic calligraphy stages a quiet revolution in the digital age | THE DAILY TRIBUNE | KINGDOM OF BAHRAIN

Arabic calligraphy stages a quiet revolution in the digital age

TDT | Manama     

The Daily Tribune – www.newsofbahrain.com

In this era of digital omnipresence, where every finger stroke is a symphony of 1s and 0s, one might think the ancient art of Arabic calligraphy has been relegated to historic obscurity.

However, scratch the surface, and you’ll find a quiet revolution underway — a rekindled reverence for the mighty pen and handcrafted paper, driven by a desire to connect with the tangible and timeless.

Qassim Haider, a renowned Bahraini calligraphy artist and brand designer with over 15 years of experience, believes there need not be a dichotomy between antiquity and modernity. He asserts, “We can embrace both the venerable allure of Arabic calligraphy and the undeniable benefits of modern technology.

By integrating the elegance of Arabic calligraphy into our digital content and allowing it to inform Arabic brand identities, we can honour the rich legacy of the Arabic script whilst harnessing the convenience and speed afforded by digital tools.”

Reflecting on his beginnings, he stated to The Daily Tribune, “The availability of voluminous references on the art of calligraphy in our home library sparked my interest in the Arabic letter from a young age.

While my peers were playing football, I was practising calligraphy, inspired by my older brother’s work in mosques and mesmerised by the grandiose mystique of Islamic ornaments.”

Parallel to his penmanship pursuits, Haider harboured a deep fascination with programming and computers from an early age.

This dual passion led to a pivotal moment in 2003.


He recalled, “When the war in Iraq ignited and everyone was tuning in to Al Arabiya for the news, my attention was captivated not by the unfolding events but by the channel’s logo.

Its ingenuity, a departure from traditional Arabic calligraphy, left me in wonderment.”

Haider draws inspiration from nature, translating its essence into abstract shapes that transcend language.

His intricate and meticulously crafted artworks speak a universal language of beauty.

Beyond his professional work in typefaces and fonts for prestigious clients such as Albaraka Bank and Tara Cosmetics, and a hefty résumé replete with international acclaim and solo exhibitions, Haider developed a programme for Square Kufic script in 2012, driven by a personal need to create on the go.

This online tool, equipped with all the necessary resources for artistic calligraphy, has become invaluable to thousands of users worldwide.

Haider’s style has evolved significantly over the years. He reflects, “My style, both in traditional calligraphy and fonts, isn’t defined by uniformity as much as it used to be, but rather by a harmonious, integrative relationship of variables.”


Drawing inspiration from Syrian graphic artist Mouneer Al-Shaarani, Haider cultivated a style marked by recurring motifs that “harks back to my initial fascination with the Sufis, whose extensive writings and rich ceremonial practices I studied in my quest for divine connection.”

Haider observes that in Islamic culture, “Arabic calligraphy is as central as painting is to Western culture.” However, he warns that without a dedicated local institution, the art form risks “losing its distinct identity” when amalgamated with other visual arts.

Haider emphasises the responsibility of the artistic vanguard to “enrich the cultural arena with advanced creative works that compete with mass-produced, unsophisticated products,” and to provide workshops and lectures to develop awareness in this field.


Qassim Arts appshow


Bahraini artist Qassim Haider with his calligraphy masterpieces