Calligraphy Workshop brings Arabic art, culture, language, and history to UNC Charlotte

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

For centuries, calligraphers have documented civilization while at the same time appealing to our sense of artistic beauty.  This practice continues in languages and cultures worldwide through a small percentage of the world's population who have chosen as their mission the preservation of such an important art form.

UNC Charlotte students, faculty, and staff explored the art of calligraphy as it appears in Arabic language and culture during a workshop organized by one of our new faculty members, Arabic Lecturer Noha Ghali.  The workshop represented the first among other initiatives to promote Arabic language and culture throughout the UNC Charlotte community.  It was lead by Professor Muhammad Habib, an Assistant Teaching Professor at Georgetown University.  Professor Habib studied the art of Arabic calligraphy at the Calligraphy Institute in Cairo and has given workshops on Arabic calligraphy at universities around the country.

More than 50 students, faculty, and staff attended the hands-on workshop during which Professor Habib explained the history and art of Arabic Calligraphy while also demonstrating his expertise.   During the demonstration, he used chalk on a chalkboard to emphasize broad and narrow lines.  In the latter segment of the workshop, participants practiced writing their names with calligraphy pens on paper.  Riley, an Arabic 1 student, explained how the workshop presented a more artistic form of Arabic script not seen in everyday writing.  "It wasn't just fancy writing, but more of an art form,"  she explained.  As an artist, she appreciated receiving a critique on her attempt at calligraphy.  

Brett Strahm, Assistant Director for the Unversity Center for Academic Excellence (UCAE) for Tutorial Services, also attended the workshop.  He had no knowledge of Arabic language nor of Arabic calligraphy prior to the event, explaining that he attended to broaden his world view.  He was surprised by the complexity and challenge of writing in this way, as well as the number of forms.  Strahm noted that the experience opened his thoughts about Arabic language and culture, and that he looks forward to the next workshop!


For more information about Arabic study at UNC Charlotte, contact:

Noha Gahli - Arabic Lecturer