Hey did you know that the letter "N" has a spiritual meaning in Sufi philosophy?
Well, neither did I till I stumbled upon the works of Moroccan artist Hakim Ghazali, who has dedicated an entire collection to the letter "N" = "ن", titled "For the Love of Noon" (as the letter is pronounced in Arabic), combining mixed-media and Arabic calligraphy.
Ghazali's artwork has been showcased in many countries and received numerous awards.
Ever since he can remember, Hakim Ghazali has been obsessed with letters and their artistic representation. The artist from Casablanca is a trained calligrapher and has been experimenting constantly to develop his unique abstract style that is contemporary yet distinctly Moroccan. Although he works with letters, Ghazali does not perceive his work as calligraphy.
"My art goes beyond the letters to explore their deeper meaning as spiritual symbols in Sufi philosophy," he says. In his latest series, titled For the Love of Noon, the artist has focused exclusively on the Arabic letter Noon, a Sufi symbol of femininity and womanhood.
The inspiration for this series came from some old family photographs. "In one of the pictures taken when I was an infant, my mother was holding me in her arms. I noticed that her arm was positioned in the shape of the letter Noon and this connection motivated me to explore the profound meaning of this letter. In Sufi philosophy, this letter, which is shaped like a foetus in the mother's womb, signifies the beauty and warmth of womanhood. So, in essence this work is a homage to my mother and to all mothers," he says.
Ghazali is well-known for the beautiful textures and almost transparent look of his canvases, which he creates by using a mixture of sand, oil, pigments and other materials. But for the first time, he has also experimented with a variety of other materials and techniques such as wood, iron and embroidery. "A woman has so many facets that I had to seek different materials to represent the various aspects of her personality," he says.