Because it is art that surprises reality, its masterpieces have surprised and amazed us. He is a creator who mastered the rules like a professional, broke them as an artist and left us in awe of everything he made. It was said of him: This is the Iron Man, who tamed lifeless objects and made them speak. He replied, “It is by the grace of my Lord, then my grandmother.” He challenged himself and imitation and “parrot-transmitted” transmission, and worked in an exceptional way, integrating Arabic letters, poetry, and Qur’anic verses into “antiquities” that are almost pronounced. All about art distinguished by an Arab and Islamic character, in a style in which there is a lot of modernity, in this dialogue with its creator, the creative Lebanese artist Iyad Naga:
We went to his house in a neighborhood with a heritage character in Beirut. Everything in the details indicates that we are not standing in front of a traditional artist, even if the art of using the Arabic letter in arts is from ancient times. We listen to him as he speaks passionately, without losing a smile on his face for a moment. It uses many synonyms in English. Born in Lebanon, he grew up between Africa and England, before returning to Lebanon to study graphic design, and later Islamic art and architecture.
We ask him about his beginning, and he tells us about his grandmother “Nazik Adhami,” which is the beginning, the memory and all the love. What’s her story? He answers: “My grandmother (six sixes) used to write poetry and teach Arabic literature, and my grandfather’s house was a gathering place for intellectuals who immersed themselves in poetry, prose and literature. However, after my mother and father separated when I was eight years old, my father moved me to Africa and then to England. I moved away a lot and then came back in my teens. My grandmother passed away and ten years later I made my first work using a poetry series I wrote. I made an illumination piece and used the Arabic letter to complete it, and I chose the phrase: (I have been waiting a long time). I loved this phrase so much because she always repeated it in front of me when I met her and said, “I have waited so long, O spring of my life, O sweetness of my liver.”
beauty is a goal
We wander between pieces of furniture signed with the name: Iyad Naga. And we allow him to tell us about it and about that table that appeared at the Expo 2020 Dubai, why he met His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and ruler of Dubai, and Prime Minister . of Spain Pedro Sanchez! He replies: “I made four or six tables of it and had them inscribe with copper inscriptions the Arabic thuluth script with a phrase written in Arabic calligraphy: (Ten we will not forget, for you are the ones who preserve it and revived.). ” And he continues: “What always matters to me is that the pieces I achieve are respected. I’m glad when I see them in safe hands. I’m very happy every time I look at a finished piece, and I look at it like it’s my first child. She’s my child, she’s part of my soul. ”
Several Quranic verses, Arabic letters, verses of poetry and prose became part of furniture pieces made by artist Iyad Naga. Who chooses the phrases is: the customer? The nature of the place? calligrapher? Which one precedes his choice: the phrase or the form of the piece? .. He replies: “They are complementary. I sit with whoever wants to own the piece, I know him, I know if he wants a thin or thick line; Because the number of characters decreases as the thickness of the line. We choose often words according to the designed piece; Because the pieces – mostly – are placed as decoration, and their aesthetic purpose is a priority. Here he goes on to remember that “the writings placed in high places are not meant to to read what is written, as much as the form of the overlap of the Arabic letter and its formations with the beautiful design. “
All this is true, but according to Naga it is accepted that the meaning and structure are combined as much as possible. He says: “The written word is highly regarded, as well as Arabic calligraphy because of its association with the codification of texts in Islamic civilization, but when we use this rule in various artifacts; Our goal is also to entertain the viewers. ”
We read in words that have meaning and aesthetics, and the reader – who is assumed by the aesthetic form – feels the depth of the content. We read on a mirror the phrase: “In me you are an image of pure art, and in every reflection of you life returns to my spectra.” We almost feel when we look and read that the mirror is flanking us. We go back and read on another masterpiece a plea: “O God, I ask You for heaven and seek protection from You against the fire.” How beautiful everything around us is. look at the artist; We feel calm and serenity deep inside.
It is true that Arabic calligraphy is old, but a different and modern style has been preserved. From the beginning, he refused to imitate and choose in which his ancestors excelled and the art of the Mamluks, Romans, Ottomans and Abbaside used. He preferred to use Arabic calligraphy in modern works, and to convey the idea instead of dictation as a replica.
He tells us about the Ghubari script, the Thuluth script and the Kufic script. We hear how he tells us about the aesthetics of letters, and how to use and use them. We listen to him as he talks about the importance of doing your own research when doing any business. He says: “There are three types that have taken place to keep alive the heritage of Arabic calligraphy: the first is to convey it as it is and present it, for example, but not limited to a grain of rice, or by Koranic books.The second is what I belong to, where we take the rules without sacrificing our awareness of contemporary things and sifting between what is old and what is new.And the third is the category that Arabic calligraphy on, for example, pillowcases sign.” He continues: “I belong to a group that knows the laws and rules, and studies them in depth without breaking them or transmitting them like a parrot, but rather to reinforce them and give them the characteristic of modernity. . “
blackness and whiteness
Eyad Naga has completed his collection called “Beirut” and today he is preparing to launch his new collection, “Ablaq”. Al-Ablaq is an eloquent Arabic linguistic term, meaning black and white in color. This art is a kind of engineering art associated with ancient Islamic architecture. We see how he oversees the research that is done in preparation, makes his notes and much of his artistic sense and passion. He follows every action from A to Z, as if he were his firstborn.
Naga talks about countries and people who know the value of their identity and roots. These are the ones who know the value of using Arabic calligraphy in decoration and furniture works. We see him using iron and grafting it with copper, and he uses marble and materials he can adapt from lifelessness to aesthetics. He is a lover of Arabic crafts, a lover of Arabic poetry, and a lover of weaving with he sews the heart first. They become masterpieces that tell us a thousand stories and stories. He is the one who has succeeded in transforming the masterpieces of poetry into what is tangible, and he has succeeded in bending iron and making it soft. He is the young Iyad Naga, who deserves the label “artist”.
Before we leave, we read about an anthropomorphic text attached to his name in beautiful Arabic calligraphy: “Even if you are not ready for the day, the night can not always be.” He trusted it..and we trust it!