Each orchestrated movement of the ink-dipped brush leaves a wake of delicate curls and precise edges — the rhythmic dance of language mapped and adorned. In every character’s twists and turns, beginnings and endings, is the discerning skill of the calligrapher.
Calligraphy — the art of writing — is a form of traditional art that can be found throughout the world in diverse cultural and religious traditions. From the illuminated manuscripts of medieval Ireland to an inverted 福 (fú) written and displayed on Chinese New Year, to verses stored within a מזוזה (mezuzah) or a بسملة (basmala) on a masjid wall, the melding of art and language through the written word has long played a role in community life.
In every character, word, and phrase, calligraphy conveys meaning not only from its content but also from its form, presentation, and use. The intersection of calligraphy with other traditions intertwines subject and application to create and layer additional meaning, merging the message written with new meaning generated from the new context.
Appealing Words: Calligraphy Traditions in Western New York introduced the diverse calligraphy traditions practiced in Western New York, including Japanese, Chinese, Hebrew, Islamic, and Western Calligraphy. Through exploring the different materials, techniques, and uses of calligraphy across different traditions, Appealing Words highlighted the combined pursuit of meaning through art and language.
Click here for a digital copy of the exhibit catalog.
Appealing Words: Calligraphy Traditions in Western New York was made possible in part through the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo and the New York State Legislature.