NJA MAHDAOUI, Tunisia (1937)
Born in 1937 in Tunis, Nja Mahdaoui graduated from the Academy of Arts of Santa Andrea in Rome in 1967 and then completed his education at École du Louvre at the Department of Oriental Antiquities, benefiting from a two years scholarship granted by the Tunisian government.Calligraphy has always been Mahdaoui’s primary source of inspiration that he employs on a wide range of materials such as parchment, papyrus, or tapestry. However, calling himself ‘an explorer of the signs,’ his use of the calligraphy differs from the Islamic artistic tradition since he pays more attention to the aesthetic and visual overall than the text itself. In the Arabic alphabet, the artist is fascinated by the moves and the shapes of the letters that he renders with vibrant colors, giving a dynamic rhythm in the compositions. The artist would call this innovative form of art, ‘calligrams,’ and his talent is such that he has was commissioned to design art pieces in public spaces like Jeddah and Riyadh airports and the headquarters offices at Facebook, San Francisco. Nja Mahdaoui is based and works in Tunisia.
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