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Issue 80 May 2011

Madny Al Bakry transcends the fixed realms of calligraphy, an art form perceived as being traditionalist. Fatema Zehra meets the Omani artist to gain an insight into his inspirations and vision.


The internationally acclaimed artist, Madny Al Bakry is a self-taught calligrapher, with extraordinary vision for the art form.  Born in the tropical island of Zanzibar, an environment which he describes as “a visual feast of harmonious colours, enhanced by tropical sunlight,” Madny states that childhood memories of his homeland continue to influence his work. Similarly, his work at a textile mill in Dar-es Salaam during his academic career familiarised him with African motifs and patterns, which are showcased in his work.


Madny comments that the amalgamation of different styles in his work, “helps create a visual treat” and has led him to coin the term ‘Calligrafitti’ defining the merger between his three principle approaches: Islamic art, calligraphy and graffiti. The new art form has been well received in the more esteemed echelons of the art world, receiving high acclaim in definitive art books and international magazines, as well as some of the most revered and influential art fairs.




Madny has attended exhibitions throughout the world, including the Arabian-Indian Art Festival in New Delhi, the Scope Art Fair in Miami and the Simple Gallery Gstaad in Switzerland.

Madny is fascinated by the quality of ornamental richness in Arabic calligraphy, which he says can “imitate the basic rhythm of life.” “Nature is one of my inspirations,” says Madny.  “Its unlimited palette and vibrancy of colours, patterns and compositions is limitless. Compositions come alive with the rays of light that illuminate and cast shadows, creating life forms and contrast.” His deep passion and insight on the relationship between nature and art is summarised in one simple observation, “Try and imagine the world without lights. All praise is due to the Creator.”




Madny doesn’t just insist on producing a spectacle of visually stunning arrangements and colours, he insists on the carefully chosen mediums and influences of his work to have a larger, multi-faceted meaning. He suggests that “by combining elements of different cultures, we can unite and dispel negative perceptions (such as that of inferiority or superiority) and thus create an atmosphere of harmony and understanding among all peoples.” No easy feat, yet he hopes that with this notion, alongside the use of Qur’anic verses, those who view his work will be lead to contemplate and reflect on the possibilities of an art that surpasses the limitations set to it.



Madny works mainly with watercolour, “the brilliancy and absorbency of the paper allows watercolours to be rendered transparently to capture the play of light and subtle nuances of atmosphere.” There is a certain delicate nature to watercolours and with the combined use of graduated washes and block colours, Madny’s knack for the method is apparent.




So, when does he know when a piece is complete? “I don’t complete a painting. Completion, I believe, is with God and so I just abandon and move onto the next. I might go back to a piece months or years later and add something to it and that’s how it evolves. But otherwise, if it remains untouched, that is that.” He proclaims that this paired with his ethos of “what is meant to be will be” leads to “God unfolding His inspiration to His creation in different degrees.” Humble to say the least, Madny is quick to acknowledge how blessed he is to be on the receiving end of that God-sent inspiration.



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9 May 13, 07:13

Those were some amazing art work which should be
given a good consideration. It needs to be recognized
across the globe. These kinds of talents have been
ignored for a long time now. Thank you for this
wonderful post.

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1 Dec 12, 01:36

Hey that was great to read. Thanks for the great post
.Loved every part of it.

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Michael Luke

8 Oct 12, 22:17

so madny doing these great calliography.I am a calliography lover.painting companies brisbaneI am happpy to be here.

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21 Sep 12, 22:13

Now and then I’ll stumble across a post like this and I’ll
recall that there really are still interesting pages on the
web. ^_^. Thanks.

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19 Sep 12, 20:12

wonderful land for artists

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23 May 11, 14:02

As an artist, i'd say these are awesome paintings. keep it up. remain blessed

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