Yesterday was very special – all the more so because it was all unexpected.
Arry Nessa, who originally came to the Different Moons project as a volunteer, is now an important member of our team. Last week Arry went with Maryam Golubeva, the paper-cut artist who has made such a contribution to the Different Moons exhibition, to an exhibition of calligraphy at Old Trafford in Manchester, to celebrate Omani National Day. Calligraphy has a lot in common with Maryam’s paper-cutting, and in our exhibition we bring together the two things – in fact three, because we combine it with poetry.
At the Manchester exhibition Arry and Maryam met calligrapher Hst Al-Awaidi. Awaidi is from Muscat in Oman and is an aeronautical engineer, but he studied in Liverpool and established the Liverpool Arabic Calligraphy Association. He is a master calligrapher and Arry asked him to visit the Different Moons exhibition before he returns home to Oman, and yesterday Awaidi did just that.
But what was unexpected was that Awaidi brought along the original of a recent piece of work. The photograph above hardly gives credit to the detail and subtlety of the calligraphy that took 4 months work. The text consists of verses from the Quran, and the whole, both in design and content, explores and describes Awaidi’s inner struggles.
After visiting the exhibition he offered to donate the piece and asked me where I would suggest it was placed – somewhere that people could see and enjoy it. I suggested the Whitaker itself as the obvious place, because both the Different Moons team and the museum have been wondering how we could leave a legacy after the exhibition, which has been so popular with the South Asian communities in Rossendale.
Awaidi was very keen on the idea and within minutes signed over the piece to an initial 10 month loan to the Whitaker. It’s now at the Whitaker, and we hope that it encourages visitors to visit even once the exhibition closes.