With the arrival of Islam in the Arabian Peninsula, the written words acquired unparalleled significance. The reliable acquaintances of the Prophet Muhammad did the collation of these divine words and phrases. The holy book Qur’an became a core source of compiled and preserved collection of these words and phrases, which were converted into manuscript as doctrine, transformation as spirituality and history for consultation of upcoming breeds of humankind. This conversion of divine words were revered by Muslims of all over the world due to its association with the Prophet Muhammad and Allah almighty and these were considered as physical manifestation of Allah Almighty’s message. These phrases were allocated the status of holy verses, which became a source of mystical experience when a lover or follower of Islam adopted it as verbal or written practice. The repetition, rhythm and balance of the holy alphabets, words and verses unveils the yearnings of beloved to unite with the divine (Allah Almighty). Expertly selected words and verses when inscribed on a surface of manuscript, architectural fragment or on an object of utility transfigure these into a symbol or metaphor of divine as poetic tradition, a reflection of faith, devotion and love.
For centuries, the art of writing has fulfilled a central iconographic function in Islamic art. Although the academic tradition of Islamic calligraphy began in Baghdad, the center of the Islamic empire during much of its early history, it eventually spread as far as India and Spain. In Pakistan, the tradition of learning calligraphy flourished under religious institutes, mosques or religious mentors. Nevertheless, by the passing time, this tradition of learning Pen art has attained its significant place at regular institutes of studies and learning. This National Calligraphy Exhibition 2019 is also an effort of the same purpose to highlight this gorgeous and sacred art. The exhibition is displayed at Zubaida Agha Art Gallery (ZAG), Institute of Art & Design, University of Sargodha, Sargodha. In the exhibition, 75 artists and calligraphers participated and displayed diverse styles of traditional, contemporary modern and a combination of styles.