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July 2 2022 8:56 PM ˚
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Medad Gallery : The legacy of Arabic calligraphy

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With intricate designs, Arabic calligraphy has been conveying beauty and documenting knowledge throughout history. Its mainstream popularity has increased from time to time but Medad, a Jordanian gallery, aims to bring Arabic calligraphy into the 21st century with full force.اضافة اعلان

Medad, which is named after the ink used by calligraphers, was established in 2016 by Abed Al Rahman Marei. Marei, a 30-year-old calligrapher, uses traditional tools and ecofriendly materials, such as reed pens made from bamboo stems, to create his pieces.

Marei’s childhood was peppered with many different hobbies ranging from photography and music to pottery and embroidery, “even though it was unconventional for a male”.

Marei quickly found he enjoyed the precision that calligraphy necessitated. His early works featured quotes and phrases which were praised by his teachers and were even displayed in galleries organized by the Ministry of Education.
Arabic calligraphy has a history of its own that is closely related to our Arab roots, as opposed to other arts, which have influences from other cultures.
After graduating university, Marei fell ill. He was diagnosed with cancer and spent a year receiving treatment at a hospital. His doctor urged him to find a hobby to explore. His options were limited given the confines of the hospital, so Marei turned to pen and paper.



To raise his morale, friends and family would bring Marei pens, paper, and anything related to calligraphy. In thanks, he would create personalized calligraphy pieces for them.

Marei spent a year honing his skills and beating his cancer.

He told Jordan News that his hobby helped him conquer his disease and overcome a difficult year.

With new found passion, Marei enrolled in an art therapy program and worked at refugee camps for several different NGOs. There he shared his passion for calligraphy with children enrolled in his art therapy classes. While some may not have been enthusiastic about drama and music programs, they dove head-first into calligraphy, responding well when working on words they were familiar with that weren’t tainted by the trauma of war.



“Arabic calligraphy has a history of its own that is closely related to our Arab roots, as opposed to other arts, which have influences from other cultures. It made me hyper-focus on it,” Marei explained.

Marei contributed to several calligraphy galleries. The proceeds from his work went to charities working with vulnerable populations such as women, children, and refugees.

He was consulted to launch his own for-profit business. Thus, Medad Gallery was created and grew organically, but substantially, despite its humble origins and beginnings.

According to the calligrapher-turned-business-owner, customer experience is as important as the art itself and nothing matches seeing his clients’ faces light up. Customers brainstorm with Marei until they get a drafted sketch that is customized and original.


Marei’s calligraphy doesn’t only focus on words; it also manipulates the letters to create images. The final result is words within the frame of a picture, which overcomes the rigidity of traditional calligraphy without overstepping its ancient rules. “Our written language has an aesthetic in its formation of words. It offers infinite possibilities, even within a single letter,” Marei describes. The Arabic letter “waw”, for example, represents the eye of the beholder, formation of the fetus, and origin of humans.
Our written language has an aesthetic in its formation of words. It offers infinite possibilities, even within a single letter.
“I want to express my gratitude to my family for their understanding, for giving me a working space within our house, and for their continuous support. They taught me that art brings people together and, within it, carries a message of solidarity,” he concluded.

Marei’s conviction that collective Arab identity is expressed through calligraphy is used as a tool for him to fulfil the public need to create aesthetically beautiful and authentic artworks.




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