THUWAL, SAUDI ARABIA
The vast contribution of Islam to poetry and literature is almost immeasurable, its influence on Western culture far-reaching and frequently cited. The work of Nja Mahdaoui explores this rich literary tradition in ancient and contemporary Islamic culture through the aesthetic form of the letters and words, as opposed to the content. Mahdaoui’s abstraction of the calligraphy encourages the viewer to create his or her poetry as it were. Located on the sacred minaret and the surrounding mashrabiyyah screening for the KAUST mosque, Mahdaoui’s embedded work complements the spirituality of the site and its purpose.
“The use of fragments of letters or symbols in my work is due to my instinctive rejection of the transfiguration of the value of characters. In calligraphy, the written letters acquire a symbolic status which they maintain until they vehicle a significance.