Zahrat Al-Khaleej – Iyad Naga Al-Jamad talks about art

# Mixture

Because it is art that surprises reality, his masterpieces have amazed and amazed us. He is a creator who mastered the rules like a professional, broke them as an artist and made us wonder about everything he did. It was said of him: This is the man of iron, who tamed inanimate objects and made them speak. He replied, “This is by the grace of my Lord, then my grandmother.” He challenged himself and the narration of imitation and “parrot-like narration,” and worked in an extraordinary way, integrating Arabic letters, poetry, and Qur’anic verses into “antiques” that are almost pronounced. style in which there is a lot of modernity, in this dialogue with its creator, the Lebanese creative artist Iyad Naga:

We went to his house in a heritage neighborhood in Beirut. Everything in detail suggests that we are not facing a traditional artist, even if the art of using the Arabic letter in art is from ancient times. We hear him speak passionately, without missing a moment the smile on his face. He uses many synonyms in English. Born in Lebanon, he grew up between Africa and England, before returning to Lebanon to study graphic design, and later Islamic art and architecture.

We ask him about his beginnings and he tells us about his grandmother “Nazik Adhami”, which is the beginning, the memory and all the love. What is its history? He responds: “My grandmother (six years old) wrote poetry and taught Arabic literature, and my grandfather’s house was a gathering place for intellectuals immersed in poetry, prose and literature. However, after my mother and father separated when I was eight, my father transferred me to Africa and then to England. I left a lot and then went back to adolescence. My grandmother died and ten years later I made my first work using a string of poems I had written. I did a piece of lighting and used the Arabic letter to complete it and chose the expression: (I have been waiting for a long time). I really liked this phrase because she repeated it in front of me every time I met her saying, “I have waited a long time, O spring of my life, O sweetness of my liver”.

beauty is a goal

We wander among the pieces of furniture signed by the name: Iyad Naga. And we let him tell us about this and that roundtable that appeared at Expo 2020 Dubai, around which he met His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the United Arab Emirates and Ruler of Dubai and Prime Minister of Spain Pedro Sanchez! He answers: “I made four or six tables of them and made them simulate the Arabic script thuluth with copper inscriptions with a phrase written in Arabic calligraphy: (Ten we will not forget, because you are the ones who saved and revived it him.) “And he continues:” For me it is always important to respect the parts I perform. I rejoice when I see them in safe hands. I get very excited every time I look at a finished piece and look at it. “as if she were my first child. She is my child, she is part of my soul.”

Various Quranic verses, Arabic letters, verses of poetry and prose have become part of the furniture created by artist Iyad Naga. Who chooses the phrases, is: the client? The nature of the place? calligraphy? Which precedes his choice: the phrase or the form of the part? .. He answers: “They are complementary, I sit with anyone who will own the piece, I know it, I know if it will come thin or thick; Because the number of characters as the line thickness decreases. We often choose the words according to the designed part; Because the pieces – mainly – are placed as decoration and their aesthetic purpose is a priority. Here he goes on to recall that “writings placed in high places are not intended to read what is written, so much as the form of the overlap of the Arabic letter and its formations with the beautiful design.”

All of this is true, but, according to Naga, it is assumed that meaning and structure are combined as much as possible. He says: “The written word is highly valued, as is Arabic calligraphy because of its connection to the codification of texts in Islamic civilization, but when we use this line in various artifacts; Our goal is also to entertain the viewers. ”

Three types

We read in words what makes sense and aesthetics, and the reader – who is taken from the aesthetic form – feels the depth of the content. We read in a mirror the phrase: “You to me are an image of pure art and in every reflection of yours life returns to my spectrum.” We almost feel when we look and read that the mirror is flirting with us. We turn and read in another masterpiece a prayer: “O Lord, I seek Paradise and seek refuge in Fire.” How beautiful is really everything around us. look at the artist; We feel calm and serenity deep inside.

It is true that Arabic calligraphy is old, but a different and modern style has survived. From the beginning he refused to imitate and choose what his predecessors had excelled at and using the art of the Mamluks, Romans, Ottomans and Abbasids. to use Arabic calligraphy in modern works and to convey the idea instead of dictation as a copy.

He tells us about the Ghubari script, the Thuluth script and the Kufi script, we hear it telling us about the aesthetics of the letters and how to use and use them. We hear him as he talks about the importance of doing your research when doing any business. He says: “There are three kinds that happened to keep alive the legacy of Arabic calligraphy: the first is to transmit it as it is and present it, for example, but not limited to a grain of rice, or through the Qur’an. books. The second is what I belong to, where we take the rules without giving up our awareness of contemporary things and sifting between what is old and what is new. And the third is the category that draws Arabic calligraphy on pillowcases, for example. He continues: “I belong to a group that knows the laws and rules, and studies them in depth without breaking them or transferring them like a parrot, but rather to strengthen them and give them the characteristic of modernity.

black and white

Eyad Naga has completed his collection called “Beirut”, while today he is preparing to launch his new collection, “Ablaq”. Al-Ablaq is an eloquent Arabic linguistic term, meaning in black and white. This art is a kind of engineering art, which is related to the ancient Islamic architecture. We see him overseeing the research that is being done in preparation, taking notes and very much his artistic passion. He follows every action from A to Z, as if it were his first.

Naga talks about places and people who know the value of their identity and their roots.These are those who know the value of using Arabic calligraphy in decoration and furnishing works. We see him using iron and grafting it with copper, as well as using marble and materials that he can adapt from lifeless to aesthetics. He is passionate about Arabic crafts, a lover of Arabic poetry and a lover of knitting pieces with which sew. heart first. They become masterpieces that tell us a thousand stories and stories. He is the one who managed to turn the masterpieces of poetry into tangible and managed to bend the iron and soften it. It is the young Ijad Naga who deserves the label “artist”.

Before we leave, we read in an anthropomorphic attached to his name in beautiful Arabic calligraphy: “Even if you are not ready for the day, the night may not always be.” He believed it..and we believe it!

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