Arabic calligraphy is one of the most elegant forms of art that transports you back to olden times, and as we grow, the art grows with us. We are moving towards a more digitalised era, but still hand-painted downstrokes and upstrokes are what charms the art of calligraphy.
Here in Oman we have several calligraphers who create artworks that are visually appealing, but this week we dive deeper into the realm of letter-making art. Meet Dr Naseem Ahmed, a general practitioner and medical director of Juma Polyclinic in the Wilayat Al Seeb, who happens to practise an art of his own by etching on paper using his nails.
Dr Naseem came from Hyderabad, India, in May 1982 to work for Diwan of Royal Court Medical Service and Royal Guard of Oman as a medical officer. In 2004, he left the Diwan after 23 glorious years as a medical practitioner. After that he moved to work in private health establishments as a medical director. He worked in Badr Al Samaa, as well as Al Amri Polyclinic in Seeb.
Dr Naseem has a passion for the arts, but it’s not a typical art form that we sometime find on the internet or see at exhibitions, which involve paintbrushes and canvases. Instead of utilising art supplies, Dr Naseem developed an art that involves nothing but a piece of paper and a good pair of sharp nails.
“Etching on paper gives me a great pleasure and delight and I have come to believe that calligraphy is more beautiful than any other conventional or abstract art. It is so beautiful and extensive that it can keep an artist and a calligrapher busy till eternity,” he said. Whenever Dr Naseem takes a break or gets some free time he takes an A4 paper and begins a doodling session.
“This rare form of art requires a lot of concentration to ensure that nothing goes wrong while writing,” said Dr Naseem. Growing up, the artist was surrounded by creative entities in his family, which inspired him to give art a try. He experimented with a variety of art forms, from fine arts and crafts to painting, but it was the art of calligraphy on paper that fascinated him and appealed his imagination. The art became etched in his mind.
To master his art, the calligrapher faced the challenge of balancing between treating his patients and working on his passion. “Sometimes busy clinic and rush of patients do not give time even when your heart and mind wants to draw. That is very frustrating,” said Dr Naseem, adding that, “my fingers itch to etch”. And, it’s not the time at work that interrupts his creativity; something as simple as trimming nails wrongly forces him to stay for a few days without practising until his nails grow back to the appropriate shape and size. Tactical moves are a must here.
As Dr Naseem continues to master his calligraphy art, his future plan is to dive into creating artworks made on canvases with plaster glue and paints. We cannot wait to see what’s next; as we sure know it will be exciting as artsy as artworks can be.