High-flying Pendle artist Sabah Maghded Bapir is an Iraqi-British artist known for the art of calligraphy and sculpture – and he has met Prince Charles.
His artistic name is Sabah Arbilli and he has made a tremendous impact on Arabic calligraphy art, taking it to the forefront of the international scene over the last 10 years.
Sabah, born in 1977, is based in Barrowford and has done extremely well as an artist. Recently he has participated in an exhibition creating 22 1 metre x 1 metre canvases.
The exhibition started with a room of blank canvases and each day Arbilli painted live. The work is being exhibited in Qatar and he has also done the calligraphy in the mosque at VIP lounge area in Doha Airport.
Another key Pendle international artist, Shahida Ahmed, explained: “As a pioneer of calligraphy and winner of many first prizes, he has become a key figure of traditional art and brought calligraphy to a new contemporary style.
“Arbilli started off using calligraphy as a form of art after he graduated as a civil engineer. Engineering taught him the discipline required in formation and accuracy in each letter and style.
“After having spent many years developing his skills to a very high standard he also spent many years creating his own style and methods to develop a modern representation of his subject matter. His practice combines the aesthetic quality of formation and accuracy of Arabic letters.”
Throughout his career, Arbilli has experimented with different media on paper and canvas, alternating the same themes.
His new works examine themes in history, identity and place. Arbilli utilises the power of the brush strokes reflecting the real experience of past and present of his homeland in Iraq. He said: “I envisage the lands with the sounds which echo in my ear taking me back to a place where I see harmony and tranquillity. I smell the place and sense my presence and belonging which I capture to share with the audience.”
A closer look at Arbilli’s recent work, which was created in a live show called “Metaphoric”, show how parts of his paintings fade in colour and detail. Arbilli is the most renowned artist in the Middle East with works in many private collections, architectural buildings, and commissions all around the world.