Fraternal Visuals & Visual Synonyms
As part of the XXXIX International Festival Sarajevo Winter, a traditional cultural and artistic event held in the capital of Bosnia and Herzegovina, the exhibition ‘Fraternal Visuals’ opened at the Preporod Gallery. Also, the exhibition ‘Visual Synonyms’ opened at the Art Gallery of the International University in Sarajevo. Both exhibitions present works by Lebanese artist Antoine Abi Aad and are currently on view.
A natural triangular connection between the Arab world, the Arab language and Islam makes us assume that only Muslims pray in Arabic. What surprises many is that millions of Christians also pray in Arabic across Arab countries. The prayers, Muslim and Christian, have a lot in common, the two religions being monotheistic and Abrahamic.
Fraternal Visuals by Lebanese artist Antoine Abi Aad deals with a lettering transcription of Muslim and Christian prayers in Arabic, which are similar in meaning and sound. Artist intends to show how these prayers point to unity between the two religions, the common roots, and obedience to the same God. He uses the text of both prayers (Muslim and Christian) in each artwork, exploring the visual aspect of Arabic letters while merging the visual aesthetics and the meaning behind the words.
The exhibition opened on 17 February 2023 at the Preporod Gallery in Sarajevo. It was attended and opened by Ibrahim Spahic, Director of International Festival Sarajevo Winter; Dr Sanjin Kordic, President of the Association Preporod; Dr Meliha Teparic, Custos of both exhibitions.
L-R. Dr Meliha Teparic, Custos; Ibrahim Spahic, Director of International Festival Sarajevo Winter; Antoine Abi Aad, Artist; Dr Sanjin Kordic, President of the Association Preporod
The cultural heritage of the Middle East is a treasure that has amazed and inspired artists and designers for centuries, and the future of lettering in this region resides within its rich calligraphic inheritance.
Visual Synonyms started as a course at the Lebanese University. Guided by Professors Antoine Abi Aad and Rana Abou Rjeily, students studied forms, rhythms, contrasts, and the rules of harmony existing in traditional Arabic calligraphy, which they used as a springboard to design their own compositions inspired by calligraphic masterpieces.
Lebanon, inherent in its tradition as a melting pot where young women and men from different social backgrounds come together, regardless of wealth, belief, religion, region, and interest, is proud to show the world the exquisite beauty of the Arabic script. Teachers and citizens promote Arabic calligraphy to counter the negativity portrayed through global media. But furthermore, to ultimately benefit from its long-established history and convey this rich artistic practice to new generations.
The exhibition Visual Synonyms opened on 20 February 2023 at the Art Gallery of the International University in Sarajevo.
Antoine Abi Aad
Lebanese artist Antoine Abi Aad in front of his painting
Antoine Abi Aad (PhD and MA University of Tsukuba in Japan, DES Académie Libanaise des Beaux-Arts in Lebanon) is an educator, visual communicator, and researcher. He is also a frequent guest lecturer and has given talks and workshops at numerous institutions, including the Universidade de Brasilia (Brazil), International Design School (Jakarta), Institute of Business and Design (Moscow), Hong Kong Design Institute, IIT Bombay, Greenside Design Center College of Design (Johannesburg), Nara University of Education (Japan), Boston University and Yale University (New Haven).
Having participated in 56 exhibitions (31 cities, 19 countries), lectured in 46 universities (21 countries) and taught 2057 students since 2004, Antoine’s true dedication is to research and experimentation. His passion is for letters: typography, calligraphy and handwriting. The different scripts he writes (Arabic, Latin and Japanese) led him to have special interests in the directions of writing, leftward, rightward, and downward, and how these directions affect visual communication and advertising, or even more, motion graphics and animation.
Antoine was the Chairperson of Typoday Amman 2020, Head of the Department of Graphic Design and Visual Communication at the Lebanese University, and has also served as a vice-president of i-cod (formerly Icograda) from 2015 to 2017.