Dubai: Is There Such Thing a as ‘Calligrafitti’ Art?

Dubai: Is There Such Thing a as 'Calligrafitti' Art?

Dubai’s Opera Gallery just unveiled its latest exhibition — a rare look at the work of up-and-coming Russian artist Pokras Lampas, who creates calligraphy with non-Arabic scripts.

Set to run until May 4 in the gallery’s Dubai International Financial Center location, the exhibit showcases the artist’s unique canvas work.

The artist, who marries calligraphy with street art techniques, spoke to Arab News about the moment he discovered the art of calligraphy, after working as a graffiti artist in Moscow.

“I used to do a lot of work on the street with graffiti artists and one day I found that there was a new (style) of art called ‘calligrafitti.’ I was like ‘wow,’ I had never seen it before,” he said.

Lampas started researching the art form and visited museums around the world in a bid to understand more. He was particularly inspired by the likes of Niels “Shoe” Meulman, an Amsterdam-based artist whose style draws on Japanese, European and Arabic calligraphy, and Tunisia’s El Seed.

He told Arab News that the artists furthered his interest in the art form — “how it can be created… and how, at the same time, to respect the history of calligraphy.”

The artist started out as a street artist and gained fame by winning local graffiti competitions, as well as “tagging” his name on walls around Moscow.

“I used to be a graffiti artist and work for 5-6 hours, or a few days in a row,” he said, adding that he now typically takes 30-40 hours to complete one piece of art.

“The base of my work is to research how I can deconstruct the shape of the existing language and recreate it with influence from other countries and other cultural backgrounds,” he added, explaining how his use of the Latin alphabet separates his work from traditional Arabic calligraphy.

The 27-year-old artist expanded on his use of international scripts, saying he sees a future in which international alphabets can “be merged by different countries to be more multi-cultural, different and unique.”

His travels have taken him across the world in a bid to learn more about his chosen art form — and he is keen to make is mark by molding the future of calligraphy.

“I’m not going to travel (just) to get inspiration. I’m trying to explore the world of calligraphy and communication of different cultures and merge it together to see how calligraphy can be changed in the future.”

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