by Wissam Shawkat
*NOTE: Frame not included
Wissam Shawkat is a Dubai based, Iraqi artist, designer and calligrapher.
It was the form of four letters from the Arabic alphabet written across a school blackboard that started him on a journey that has shaped him both in early years and adulthood. He recalls finding peace and patience writing and repeating calligraphic letters on the dusty tiles of a makeshift shelter during a heavy aerial bombardment during the Iraq-Iran war and, spurred on by supportive parents, he became his own tutor.
His teen summers were spent lettering for a local sign shop before he began studying for a degree in Civil Engineering at Basra University, graduating in 1996. The life as a Civil Engineer, though, was not Shawkat’s destiny and the point where his affinity for letterforms would wait no longer quickly came.
In recent years, Shawkat has become known for a new calligraphic style, Al Wissam, which references a number of traditional scripts including Sunbuli, Jali Diwani, Eastern Kufic, and Thuluth, bringing them together with modern design.