Calligraforms are abstracted formations of precise letter shapes, where the emphasis is on the lines and curves. By focusing on the graphic quality rather than meaning, Shawkat is offering a contemporary approach to this ancient art, making it fresh and more relevant to today’s audiences.
Intersection by Wissam Shawkat is a collection of his newest fine art prints, truly beautiful and deeply conceptual works.
Artwork from Intersection solo exhibition at Intersect by Lexus (November 2017). To buy artwork, please view the shop page.
The ability to read Arabic is irrelevant when it comes to appreciating Wissam Shawkat’s work. While traditional calligraphy embellishes a text or verse, the pieces comprising Inside/Outside, the artist’s first show at XVA Gallery in Dubai (2017), do not contain prescriptive written messages. When encountered out of context, it might not even occur to viewers that these Calligraforms—the term Shawkat has chosen to name his new style and approach to abstract collages, silkscreen prints, and works on paper—have a foundation in calligraphy at all.
Artwork from Inside / Outside solo exhibition at XVA Gallery 2017.
It has been said that Wissam Shawkat is a rule-breaker. A modest individual, this loaded label is not something he’ll freely apply himself, but, that aside, it is impossible to deny that challenge is an ever present theme. We see it even in the way he goes about making new work – employing traditional tools and materials to produce a contemporary aesthetic. There is purpose in the liberating juxtaposition of using handmade paper reed pens and traditional inks to create works that ask us to think again about what Arabic calligraphy is and can be – a central Calligraformic characteristic and something that sits comfortably with an artist like Shawkat, whose less prescriptive route to Arabic calligraphy has always left him somewhere on the periphery of tradition.
Artwork from Contours Exhibition, FN Designs (2017).
Wissam collaborated with Vertu to design four bespoke Signature Touch handsets. Each carries a completely unique calligraphy design, which is matched with unique wallpapers for the display, echoing the design of the phone. Wissam created the original designs to honour the theme of 'love'.
A selection of calligraphic artworks by Wissam Shawkat, including classic works such as Letters of Love.
Hermes commissioned Wissam to design bespoke limited edition perfume bottles.
Wissam has extensive experience at Arabisation of logos, matchmaking to global luxury brands logotypes.
Wissam is a renowned logo designer, including original Arabic logotypes and brand designs.
Wissam has collaborated with The Affiche Gallery, a fine art poster brand, to create a series of limited edition posters.