05 April, 2011

Rasheed Butt’s Captivating Calligraphic work go on display


Sana Jamal

ISLAMABAD:
Rasheed Butt, the world renowned calligrapher who is the only in the world who writes in Gold with Qalam (pen) was present in Islamabad on Monday to grace the inauguration of his calligraphic exhibition at Khaas gallery in the capital. This is for the first time that internationally well-recognized veteran artist, Rasheed Butt offered his prestigious artwork at a private gallery which according to the owner of Khaas gallery, Zishan Afzal, was “an exemplary and unique occasion for art lovers of Islamabad.”


25 of his masterpieces adorning the walls of the gallery are an incredible fusion of traditional and modern styles reflecting features from diverse civilizations and telling the tale of Rasheed Butt’s passion with calligraphy that started back in 1961 and continues till today. His work deals not only with the words and verses from Holy Qur’aan, but also Hadith - the body of sayings attributed to the Prophet Mohammed (peace be upon him), as well as traditional prayers and pieces of Arabic and Persian poetry.

Butt has worked to promote the art of Islamic calligraphy and has many students from around the world. One of his Chinese student, Usman showed up at the ceremony with a unique calligraphy work -called ‘Chinese Arabia’ which when viewed vertically resemble Chinese script while horizontally one can actually read it as an Arabic script, was no less than a surprise for the veteran artist.

A significant characteristic of Rasheed Butt’s work is the serenading illumination. He is perhaps the only one in Pakistan who uses this beautiful work which has been slipping into oblivion but has been redeemed by his own daughter, Saira Butt who was also present at the occasion.


‘Allah’, ‘Bismillah’, ‘Al-Fatiha’, ‘Qalma’, ‘Ya-Wadood’ were some of the noteworthy pieces of work in which the mediums used were gold on black paper, and ink and watercolour on paper. One artwork titled ‘Allah’ prepared through the use gold, ink and watercolour on paper was not for sale because “this work is very special for him, it is like blessing which he wants keep with himself” informed Saira Butt smilingly while talking Pakistan Observer.


One unique moment of the day for the fans of Rasheed Butt was when inscribed Arabic scripts at the spot on plain papers with a special marker for his friends which they took home happily as special art souvenirs from Mr. Butt. “This is a treasure for me” remarked Rita Akhtar, the owner of one of the souvenirs.
“I have heard so much about him and it was absolutely amazing meeting him in person” said Zahira Afridi, a visitor who is the proud owner of one of Rasheed Butt’s amazing work.


Butt’s achievement in the field of Islamic calligraphy was recognized by the government in 1989 when he was honoured with the ‘Pride of Performance’ the highest civil award in Pakistan. Butt’s calligraphic exhibition would continue at the Khaas Art Gallery till April 9.