Mahmoud Taha

Mahmoud Taha has exhibited extensively throughout the world and as a result was awarded several prizes for his work. Most notably the Jury Prize at the First International Cairo Biennial for Ceramics and he also received a Medal of Distinction at the Al-Hussein in Jordan. Mahmoud Taha obtained his bfa, specialising in ceramics, from the Academy of Fine Arts, Baghdad, in 1968. During the period 1964 and 1970, he studied Arabic calligraphy with the late calligrapher Hashem Mahmoud. In 1975, he followed advanced courses at the Cardiff College of Arts in Wales. As of this writing, Mahmoud Taha lives and works in Amman, Jordan.

The use of the Arabic letter

In my artworks, the use of Arabic letters includes numerous experiences. In brief, my first experience in this regard started in 1966, when my professor and friend, the late Kadhim Haydar, was discussing some of the works and drawings that I had done. His advice to me was to add Arabic calligraphic elements to some of my works, since he had seen my abilities in Arabic calligraphy. This piece of advice opened the door to a new stage in my work, in which I experimented with the Kufic script of different historical periods.

new transformations

This continued until the mid-1970s, when new transformations appeared, especially the Thuluth script and elements of Islamic ornamentation. During that period, I utilised the Ta’liq (or Farsi) script to a limited extent. This continuity has made me recently start reviewing and evaluating this experiment and arriving at new forms. I am now convinced that the aesthetics of the Arabic script are not far removed from the plastic arts, but become part of it. If the Arabic script is utilised wisely, then its aesthetic characteristics will not be lost. This is my position, and I have no objection to what others choose to do.

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