Ubayd Ahmed, Calligraphy, Degree Show
Image courtesy of Ubaydullah Ahmad

News 31 July 2020

Degree Show 2020: Meet this year's graduates - Ubaydullah Ahmad

Introduce yourself and your work. What ideas and themes are important to you?

My name is Ubaydullah; Ubayd for short. I moved to Cairo at the age of 19 to study Arabic language along with it’s trivium (Grammar, Logic & Rhetoric). Soon after while studying with master linguists, I discovered calligraphy and its profound beauty; I decided to dive into its world. I studied many different scripts from the Ottoman, Kufic and Maghribi schools of calligraphy and received my Ijazaat (Licences) in them. To explore and delve deep into any subject is truly important to me and my way of showing my dedication.

What materials do you use? Why are they important to your practice?

I mainly use ink, reed pens and paper. Although calligraphy can be expressed through pther mediums like ceramics for example, the fundamental equipment used by any calligrapher is ink, reed pens and paper especially for practice (mashq) which is integral in any calligraphers daily life.

Describe your studio to us – what would we find?

A ton of books for reading, resource and inspiration to write in calligraphy. You’ll also find my materials which I’ve acquired over many years from all over the world including; Turkey, Egypt, Indonesia, Iran, Japan, China India, Nepal and many other places. Everything you acquire come at a particular stage in your career / life so materials shouldn’t just be bought unless you appreciate it’s essence. In reality, all a calligrapher needs is his ink, pens and papers.

How has the lockdown influenced your work? What new things have emerged in your work because of the restrictions? 

The lockdown in some ways has prevented myself and many others from working in different mediums like ceramics for myself in particular but at the same time, it’s given me the opportunity to research a lot more and practice which has been key in my growth as a calligrapher.

What drew you to the School, and what do you want to remember about these last two years?

The School is very unique and brings together so many different worlds in the forms of Art that gives each individual a unique understanding and deeper meaning to their own skillset. I will remember many great things from these past two year, in particular, learning from great masters in so many different fields of traditional art that I feel has enhanced my own path as a calligrapher in a unique and precious way.

When we’re all able to be out in the world again, what are your hopes?

Although we’ve gone through and are still going through a difficult period in history, we’re going through it together so I hope that brings us all closer.