In a brightly-lit corner of the Korean Culture Centre, Delhi, sits a calligraphic interpretation of the Gayatri Mantra. Delhi-based Irshad Hussain Farooqi has carved this with Sanskrit and Arabic letters on rubber wood. With the world map engraved on its pedestal, the work depicts the universality of the syllable Om.
This piece is a part of the exhibition “Calligraphy Tells the Beauty”, which brings together more than 30 Korean and six Indian artists.
Calligraphy creations in black and blue ink, drawn on mulberry paper, which absorbs ink and reflects colours, highlight commonalities as well as differences in the art of the two countries. Song Dong-Ok, who has been practising calligraphy for 45 years, says, “In Korean calligraphy, the focus is on the style or the stroke whereas in Chinese calligraphy, the focus is on the character. There is Japanese calligraphy, which is an expression of the mental thought.” He talks about “munbangsawoo” or the four friends of calligraphy (paper, brush, ink stick and ink stone). The artist explains that the ink is made by mixing soot and glue. In Korea, the 500-year-old art has a special place and is a way of depicting and preserving their culture.
In India, too, calligraphy plays the role of cultural preservator and is often seen on monuments across the country. If Korean calligraphy is an expression of the emotions and the personality of the artist, Indian calligraphy focuses on the design elements and in the form of letter, which varies according to the language.
Coexistence by Delhi-based Nikheel Aphale; Uday (The Rise) by Delhi-based Qamar Dagar and Aksharabrahma by Tamil Nadu-based Dharmesh Jadeja showcase this style. If Aphale shows the harmony between consonants and vowels in Devanagari script, Dangar has depicted the word uday using both, Urdu and Hindi. Describing calligraphy as an art that requires a lot of patience and practice, Farooqi says that the younger generation is interested in the art but lacks
The exhibition will be held at Korean Culture Centre till October 16