Calligraphy Qalam

Educating students about the art of calligraphy in the Arab, Ottoman and Persian world

One of my side projects has been man­ag­ing and writ­ing con­tent for, a web­site that intro­duces Amer­i­can audi­ences to the art of Ara­bic, Ottoman and Per­sian cal­lig­ra­phy.

Calligraphy Qalam website
Calligraphy Qalam website
Calligraphy Qalam website

Devel­oped in 2009 as my the­sis project for the Uni­ver­si­ty of Baltimore’s Mas­ter of Fine Arts in Inte­grat­ed Design pro­gram, the web­site aims to intro­duce stu­dents study­ing the Ara­bic lan­guage in the Unit­ed States to the visu­al art form of Ara­bic, Ottoman, and Per­sian cal­lig­ra­phy. It includes a blog, a dis­cus­sion forum, nine videos about cal­lig­ra­phy, and exten­sive image gallery, and detailed infor­ma­tion about scripts, cal­lig­ra­phers, class­es, and oth­er resources.

Accolades is, in my esti­ma­tion, the most com­plete and infor­ma­tive web­site on the sub­ject of cal­lig­ra­phy in the Arab, Ottoman and Per­sian world. I reg­u­lar­ly refer peo­ple to this web­site because the infor­ma­tion is clear and the con­tent is well-orga­nized and thor­ough. The web­site gives read­ers an overview of the tra­di­tion­al learn­ing process for cal­lig­ra­phy, and goes into detail about tools and his­tor­i­cal infor­ma­tion on the var­i­ous cal­li­graph­ic scripts. is a won­der­ful resource for stu­dents, schol­ars and any­one inter­est­ed in this art form.

-Wis­sam Shawkat, Cal­lig­ra­ph­er and Designer based in Dubai

In 2012, the Rubin Muse­um in New York City screened two of the films cre­at­ed for, and in 2011 the Lou­vre pur­chased por­tions of my the­sis video footage for a mul­ti­me­dia exhib­it about cal­lig­ra­phy in their Islam­ic Arts wing (opened in 2012). My the­sis web­site is also men­tioned in the book, Art of the Islam­ic World: A Resource for Edu­ca­tors, pub­lished by the Met­ro­pol­i­tan Muse­um of Art in 2012.