Secrets of the Line: Arabic and Islamic Calligraphy

January 27, 2023 (Friday) / 2:00 pm4:00 pm

Class of 1978 Orrery Pavilion
Kislak Center for Special Collections, Rare Books and Manuscripts
Van Pelt-Dietrich Library Center, 3420 Walnut Street

Secrets of the Line: Arabic and Islamic Calligraphy

N. Dukhan

Master of Arabic and Islamic Calligraphy

Presented in collaboration with Penn's Forum for Global Islamic Studies

In this two-hour lecture and hands-on workshop, calligrapher N. Dukhan, PhD, will explore the history and techniques employed in Islamic calligraphy. Participants will gain hands-on experience with calligraphy's traditional tools and material, and learn about eye training, shaping reed pens, polishing calligraphy paper, and preparing ink. Participants will also practice basic pen strokes, how to vary line thickness, and how to add curvature.

Cosponsored by Kislak Center for Special Collections, Rare Books and Manuscripts.

Nihad Dukhan is an American-Arab artist and a professor of mechanical engineering. As a native of Gaza, Palestine, his interest in custom Arabic calligraphy began when he was in the sixth grade. To polish his training in the traditional styles of Arabic/Islamic calligraphy, he trained with the noted Istanbul grandmaster calligrapher Hasan Celebi (pronounced Chalabi) in Thuluth and Naskh styles and received his Ijazah (master scribe degree) after 11 years of study. He also studied with master calligrapher Mohamed Zakariya in Taliq style and received his other Ijazah in 2013, after 6 years of study. In addition to traditional calligraphy, Dukhan produces designs in his free modern form. His modern designs do not conform to the strict rules of classical Arabic calligraphy. They are highly stylized but remain legible with tremendous simplicity. Dukhan has started pursuing and refining his modern personal form around 1989. His work has been exhibited in major US cities and sold in the US, Europe, the Middle East, and Japan. Professor Dukhan is active in promoting Arabic/Islamic calligraphy and increasing people’s awareness of its cultural significance through exhibits, lectures, and workshops. His intent is not only to attract the Arabic-speaking audience but to penetrate barriers and touch other languages and cultures. Nihad Dukhan holds a Ph.D. in mechanical engineering and is currently a professor of mechanical engineering at the University of Detroit Mercy.