Get to know Karim Jabbari and his talent in two of the oldest types of Arabic calligraphy – Classic Kufi and Maghrebi calligraphy – and how it shaped the person that he is today.
Who is Karim?
The Tunisian native began his artistic journey at the age 12 after a turbulent childhood which saw his father held as a political prisoner. After studying ancient Arabic calligraphy in Tunisia, Jabbari immigrated to Canada at the age of 20 and calligraphy became a reminder of where he came from and what he left behind. His love for the Arabic language intensified as he began to delve deeper into its beautiful letters, words, and syllables.
“Calligraphy and language are part of history; both are doors to knowing your own personal history better and as an artist you not only need to evolve, but to use your heritage and where you come from as an anchor to ground you and to influence your artistic evolution. I feel that the Arabic language has given meaning to my life. It gave me security and a sense of belonging that I needed early on. That is why, when I grew up, I felt that I owed the Arabic language a debt that I was eager to repay." Karim Jabbari
A member of the LPWA (Light Painting World Alliance), Karim Jabbari is one of the most renowned light calligraphy artists in the Arab world and is widely respected for his quest for innovation and his talent for incorporating ancient Arabic calligraphy into contemporary art.
“My goal is to bring Arabic calligraphy out of its box and show the youth that it is accessible by introducing urban elements such as light, graffiti and other surfaces as canvases. Once you start doing light calligraphy you are there for hours. You really forget about yourself and you lose the notion of time. I concentrate on the beauty of the letters. I do not add a lot of colour or background elements to distract the eye of the viewer. I let the beauty of each letter flow and speak for itself." Karim Jabbari