Wall Stories; The Calligrapher of Old Delhi

February 12, 2023 (Sunday) / 2:00 pm

Harrison Auditorium, Penn Museum, 3260 South Street + Online

Wall Stories; The Calligrapher of Old Delhi

Wall Stories
Dir. Shashwati Talukdar, 2014, 40 min.

Filmmaker Shashwati Talukdar shares her journey visiting the shrines of Dehradun while unraveling the fascinating history of the region and its unique culture. Talukdar uses experimental storytelling methods, like staging imaginary, animated conversations with the subjects of the murals, to examine generations of developments and variations in artistic style in painting from the end of the 17th to the 19th centuries. Through these imaginary conversations, we see how these paintings defy the boundaries of art, religion, and received history, and share the fascinating story of the history and culture of the people of Dehradun.

The Calligrapher of Old Delhi
Dir. Ambarien Al Qadr, 2023

Mohammad "Katib" Ghalib is widely known as the last known "katib," or calligrapher, in Old Delhi. He works in the corner of an Urdu bookshop outside of the historic Jama Masjid on intricately detailed designs commissioned by patrons from all over the globe. Calligraphers were once in great demand, but as computer technology in printing has become more widespread, the number of calligraphers has dwindled. The Calligrapher of Old Delhi shares Mr. Ghalib’s passion to keep the art of calligraphy, and with it, the Urdu language, alive.


Followed by remarks by filmmakers Ambarien Al Qadr and Shashwati Talukdar, with Jamal J. Elias, Director, Wolf Humanities Center; Walter H. Annenberg Professor of the Humanities; Professor of Religious Studies; University of Pennsylvania.


Presented by Penn Museum and cosponsored by Philadelphia Folklore Project, and Penn's South Asia Center; Cinema and Media Studies; and Wolf Humanities Center.