Hyderabad: Muqtar Ahmed, an Indian Arabic calligrapher, has won one of the top prizes at the Cairo International Festival for Arabic Calligraphy.
The Bengaluru-based calligrapher’s work was selected for second prize from among 700 works by 115 participating artists from 15 Arab and other countries.
The works that reflected the beauty of Arabic calligraphy were displayed at the Art Gallery of the Cairo Opera House, the venue of the eight-day festival which concluded on Sunday.
Khalid Mohammad of Egypt bagged the first prize at the festival organised by the Egyptian government.
Muqtar, whose art has been recognised at many international events, was elated over the honour.
“This is the blessing of Almighty Allah,” the calligrapher, who hails from Telangana, told IANS.
Muqtar’s calligraphic pieces adorn mosques in different parts of the world, international exhibitions, drawing rooms and even private jets.
In 2003, he became the only Indian to obtain an “Ijazah” (Masters diploma) from Istanbul-based Research Centre for Islamic History, Art and Culture (IRCICA) of the Organisation of the Islamic Cooperation (OIC).
Arabic calligraphy is worship for this artist settled in Bengaluru for over two decades.
“Writing Quranic verses and Hadith (sayings of the Prophet) is worship. These works are sawab-e-jaria (continuous reward),” he said.
The 48-year-old is working on his dream to revive calligraphy in India, where it once enjoyed the royal patronage.
Son of a farmer in Telangana’s Medak district, Muqtar currently teaches at the Institute of Indo-Islamic Art and Culture in Bengaluru
Muqtar has participated in calligraphy exhibitions and conferences in Dubai, Sharjah, Abu Dhabi, Medina, Malaysia and Algeria.
One of his works was purchased by then governor of Medinah in 2011 when he participated in the international exhibition in the holy city in Saudi Arabia.
His international works in collaboration with Mamoun Luthfi Sakkal of the US include calligraphic pieces for a private jet and a mosque in Canada.