My enduring fascination with the art of lettering has been a guiding force throughout my artistic journey. While pursuing my studies at the Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT), I found immense joy and a profound sense of achievement in crafting architectural lettering for drawings. In our contemporary era, where the majority of drawings are digitized, the traditional art of lettering and handwriting faces the risk of obsolescence.

During the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, I sought solace by picking up a simple Sharpie marker and began my creative journey by transcribing poems. This marked the reawakening of my passion for calligraphy. From poems, my practice evolved into a daily ritual of selecting and writing a single word, each chosen word reflecting the events and emotions of the day. This daily practice became my meditation, offering a few minutes of reflection and mindfulness.

To challenge and expand the boundaries of my calligraphy, I ventured beyond conventional methods. At times, I wrote while holding my breath, and on other occasions, I undertook this process with both my eyes closed. The act of relying solely on the tactile connection between my hand and the paper, devoid of visual cues, proved to be a profoundly empowering and transformative experience.

In Spring 2023, I further honed my skills by enrolling in a course at the School of Visual Arts (SVA), which provided a platform for deeper exploration. This opportunity allowed me to delve into the realms of color, scale, and diverse materials, enriching my creative expression.

The daily practice of calligraphy serves as an anchor in my life. On days when I am unable to partake in this ritual, I keenly sense an integral part of myself missing. My calligraphic compositions in Urdu script continue to be a source of inspiration and serenity in my life.

(Text by Aamir Khandwala)