‘Black & White’ by Wissam Shawkat at Mestaria Art Gallery

Mestaria Art Gallery is presenting the work of the award-winning Iraqi artist, Wissam Shawkat, in his exhibition “Black & White,” which will be on display from November 11th to December 12th. This exhibition beckons attendees to explore the core of art and embark on an innovative journey into the realm of form, shape, and composition while embracing the intentional absence of colour.

Wissam Shawkat, Black and White 26

Shawkat’s exhibition presents a distinctive perspective, focusing on the emotional expression and the beauty of calligraphic letterforms, exposing their intricate complexity and interplay in the absence of color. The artist pushes the boundaries of his artistry by adopting a monochromatic palette. By highlighting the delicately orchestrated interplay between positive and negative spaces, viewers are treated to an exploration of proportion, depth, weight, and style. The deliberate simplicity of forsaking colour is anything but ordinary. The juxtaposition of black and white ink underscores the strength of black and the purity of white, creating a captivating graphic symbolism, especially against various beige background tones, resulting in a visual experience.

Wissam Shawkat, Black and White 108

“Black & White” is a rhythmic monochromatic show that delves into the essence of calligraphy, featuring 111 artworks. Shawkat’s palette amplifies the significance of contrast and balance, removing all visual distractions. The artworks are crafted on handmade paper, where soot pigment ink is blended to create an equilibrium that accentuates the fundamental elements of form, line thickness, depth, dimensions, and structure. Through “Black & White,” Shawkat invites us to comprehend and appreciate the flow and, the spirit of calligraphy.

In Shawkat’s own words, “It feels to me a universal truth that master calligraphers do not first see colour; we see form. We do not study tonal contrasts at length before analysing the relationship between our letterforms, their rhythm, and the space they occupy.”

Wissam Shawkat, Dance of Love

About Wissam Shawkat

Born in Basra in 1974, Wissam Shawkat is an award-winning artist and designer based in Dubai, with a focus on Arabic calligraphy and typography. His work departs from classic calligraphy, yet maintains its craftsmanship. Since 2003 he has been working on a new script named after himself (Al Wissam Style), and in recent years, he started ‘Calligraforms’, an art movement that merges the graphic qualities found in classic letterforms and western Abstraction and Cubism. Wissam has had many solo shows and has participated in many group exhibitions. His calligraphy and typography designs have appeared in several books and magazines about art and design.

Location: Mestaria Art Gallery, Dubai

Dates: 11 November –  12 December, 2023



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