GRAPHIC DESIGN AND ILLUSTRATION
"I am the Child of Tomorrow"
poetry by Suleiman al-Isa
Artwork by Mamoun Sakkal
This is a piece of public art Supported by a grant from Seattle Arts Commission titled "I am the Child of Tomorrow." The artwork is based on poetry by the Syrian poet Suleiman al-Isa who lives now in Sanaa, Yemen.
This is part of Seattle Millennium Project Artworks for Seattle Center, it is a 4x8 foot sculpture of Sintra and clear Lexan. The Arabic calligraphy of the poetry verse is located next the International Fountain of Seattle Center. It hangs in the walkway immediately east of the fountain, and is accompanied by a plaque which includes an artist statement, biography, and translation of the poetry used in the artwork. An Arabic version of this information is being prepared at this time for display as well.
Mr. Sakkal used a modern plastic material cut by a computer that controlled a water jet. "The emotional significance of human cultures can still be combined with modern technology to produce a more balanced future, where both spiritual and material needs are met" according to Mr. Sakkal "I feel a special joy in sharing this work with the people of the Northwest, my second home, and hope it will open a window of understanding into an authentic tradition and a fascinating culture."
Please visit the first piece of artwork in the Northwest region to display Arabic calligraphy and poetry in a public space, and share your comments with the artist: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Poetry is the premier medium of expression for the Arabs. From ancient times to the present, they expressed themselves through the music of language and its rhythms. Calligraphy is the beautiful visual manifestation of the language. With the advent of Islam, calligraphy became the most important visual art in the Arab and Muslim cultures. The development of Arabic calligraphy in the past 1,400 years produced a myriad of styles distinguished by their grace, balance, and abstract elegance. Although both the Arabic and English alphabets come from one source, Arabic is written and read from right to left.
For this work I chose a poem by the contemporary Syrian poet Sulieman al-Isa and rendered it in a modern variation of Eastern Kufi calligraphy, which flourished in the 10th and 11th centuries in the Middle East. Its simple, geometric shapes distinguish this variation, and the grace of its elongated vertical stokes makes especially suitable for its location. The poem is titled "I am the child of tomorrow." It affirms the human ability for renewal and rejects stagnation. The poem reads:
I refuse to accept that things are finite
and believe that I am always new
The colors are festive and bold to stand out in the gray of Seattle days, and to express the joy of facing the future with optimism. I used the dots, which occur frequently in Arabic letters, to add more playfulness to the work. They also add some depth to the composition, and tie the different layers of the work together.
Because this work celebrates the new millennium, I chose a modern material for its execution. The PVC (polyvinylchloride) material was cut using a computer controlled water jet, and resulted in a durable and lightweight piece of artwork. The combination of the traditional use of calligraphy and the modern materials and fabrication methods suggest that the future can indeed be exciting and fresh while incorporating the best of our present and past experiences. The emotional significance of human cultures can still be combined with modern technology to produce a more balanced future, where both spiritual and material needs are met.
I feel a special joy in sharing this work with the people of the Northwest, my second home, and hope it will open a window of understanding into an authentic tradition and a fascinating culture.
To learn more about Arabic calligraphy please visit my web site at www.sakkal.com.
Mamoun Sakkal is a native of Syria. He studied painting and printmaking in the Plastic Arts Institute of Aleppo, Syria, and has degrees in architecture from the University of Aleppo (1974) and the University of Washington (1982). After emigrating to the U.S. in 1978, he spent more time studying the visual heritage of his native culture, and slowly shifted his views of art from European to Arab/Islamic.
He exhibited his artwork in Chicago, London, New York, Oregon, Syria, Seattle, Texas, and Amsterdam. Artwork appeared in Alhayat Newspaper, Aljadid magazine, California Quarterly, Computer Artist, Cune Online magazine, Iqra Magazine, Islamic Horizons, Middle East Studies Association Bulletin, Multilingual Computing, Visual Impressions, the Weekly and others.
He now uses a computer to produce calligraphic designs based on classical letterforms. He produced the first computer clip art collection of Arabic calligraphic designs in 1992. Mamoun Sakkal has received numerous awards for his art and graphic design work, including first place award for Kufi style in the Third International Calligraphy Competition in Istanbul, Turkey in 1993. In addition to art, he practices architecture, interior design, and graphic design from his Bothell studio, and lectures on Islamic art at the University of Washington.
| Artwork |
Project: Public artwork project for Seattle Center
4x8 feet sculpture of Sintra and clear Lexan
Client: Seattle Millennium Project Artworks
Designer: Mamoun Sakkal 1999
© SAKKAL DESIGN 1523 175th Place SE, Bothell, WA 98012, USA.