For Immediate Release 10/20/97

Islamic Calligraphy: A Living Tradition

Exhibition of recent artwork by Internationally recognized artist Mamoun Sakkal.

An art exhibition of Mamoun Sakkal's calligraphic work will take place in the Art Gallery at Texas Union, the University of Texas at Austin during the week of November 3rd - 7th 1997. On display will be limited edition prints of calligraphic designs, as well as posters, book covers, and logotypes utilizing Arabic calligraphy as the favored medium for expression.

Mamoun Sakkal is a native of Syria. He studied painting and printmaking at the Plastic Arts Institute of Aleppo, Syria, and has degrees in architecture from the University of Aleppo and the University of Washington in Seattle, Washington.

He started painting at a very early age, and was trained in the European traditions. After emigrating to the United States in 1978, he spent more time studying and understanding the visual heritage of his native culture, and slowly shifted his views of art from European to Arab-Islamic.

He started experiments in using calligraphy as painting in the mid nineteen sixties, and produced abstract water colors utilizing his personal interpretation of the Arabic letter forms. He now uses a computer to produce calligraphic designs based on classical letter forms. Along with fine art, Mr. Sakkal is a graphic designer who helped numerous Arab and Muslim organizations and businesses promote themselves, their products, and their services using artwork that reflects Arab and Islamic visual culture. Samples of his posters, book and magazine covers, logotypes, personal name designs, and other printed material will demonstrate the possibilities of Arabic script as a vital graphic element in today's visual media. Mr. Sakkal also produced the first computer clip art collection of Arabic calligraphic designs in 1992, and launched a web site on Arabic calligraphy in 1997 at

Mr. Sakkal received numerous awards for art and graphic design work including the first place award for Kufi style in the prestigious Third International Calligraphy Competition in Istanbul, Turkey. In addition to art, Mr. Sakkal practices architecture and interior design from his Bothell studio in Washington, and lectures on Islamic art at the University of Washington.

The Muslim Students' Association at the University of Texas at Austin (MSA) is taking part in a national event known as Islam Awareness Week. This event is organized by MSA and co-sponsored by UT's Student Government, Texas Union, and the Office of the Vice President of Student Affairs. Islam Awareness Week will be held from Monday, November 3rd - Saturday, November 8th. It is a week long activity consisting of panel discussions, a movie, a concert and more.

The primary event this year will be an Islamic Art and Culture Exhibit in the main student union building, known as the Texas Union. "Islamic Calligraphy: A Living Tradition" is the main feature of the Exhibit, and is intended to introduce the public to the work of a prominent Muslim artist based in the United States. It is hoped that the span of work on display will demonstrate how calligraphy, the most important visual art of Muslims, continues its role today in the lives of Muslims in North America. The artist will be on hand at the opening of the show the evening of November 3rd, where he will speak about his work.

For artwork samples please click here.

For graphic design samples please click here.

For background information on Arabic calligraphy please click here.

For Mamoun Sakkal biography please click here.


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In Austin please call:

Asad I. Siddiqui (512)708-1797

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