Majid Alyousef is a contemporary artist whose unconventional practice forges a relationship between calligraphy and abstraction. His eyes are drawn to the visual qualities of the Arabic alphabet in their hundreds of possible combinations—the way a tail trails off into the undefined future, the hills and valleys of certain letters’ slopes, or the sharpness of vowels arranged like a collection of knife blades over a particular word. Although he was first known for bringing classical Arabic poetry and verses from the Qur’an to life in traditional calligraphy compositions, from a distance some of Alyousef most recent works might not even be recognizable as calligraphy. His practice is constantly questioning the boundaries between European and Islamic art and further pushing the ongoing debate about whether Arabic calligraphy should be understood as a decorative craft or a fine art medium.

Majid Alyousuf

Majid Alyousef is a contemporary artist whose unconventional practice forges a relationship between calligraphy and abstraction. His eyes are drawn to the visual qualities of the Arabic alphabet in their hundreds of possible combinations—the way a tail trails off into the undefined future, the hills and valleys of certain letters’ slopes, or the sharpness of vowels arranged like a collection of knife blades over a particular word. Although he was first known for bringing classical Arabic poetry and verses from the Qur’an to life in traditional calligraphy compositions, from a distance some of Alyousef most recent works might not even be recognizable as calligraphy. His practice is constantly questioning the boundaries between European and Islamic art and further pushing the ongoing debate about whether Arabic calligraphy should be understood as a decorative craft or a fine art medium.