Jassim Al Nasrallah is a self-taught Arabic calligrapher. Being a firm believer in the importance of modernizing this art form while respecting its gracefulness. Al Nasrallah always looks forward to expanding his application of this type of art in various mediums. He worked on various projects ranging from corporate identities, book covers, product design, and interior themes.
Tell us a little bit about yourself.
I am Jassim Al Nasrallah, a 28-year-old Kuwaiti in love with Arabic calligraphy since childhood. It all started back in 1997 when I was 7 and saw my brother practicing the art, but without any knowledge of the rules or the proper training. I went on and was fortunately taught the basics by Mr. Ayman Hassan, a volunteer who became a mentor to me back in 2003.
I also love geology, and had actually majored in it initially at Kuwait University before I changed and graduated with a degree in finance. I realize this is far from the field of arts, but it felt right for me. I don’t like being constrained to one area as my passions are plenty, whether geology, finance which has now become entrepreneurship, the arts or even diving.
What inspires you?
In the beginning I used to focus on classical calligraphy. Then, year by year, I started to branch out and focused more on the contemporary. What has kept me inspired is my love for the Arabic letters. I see them everywhere, and would even use any medium I have to create them whether over a cup of coffee, a sandy beach, graffiti or even jewelries. For me, these letters are more than just letters. Sometimes I even wish they’d become real so that I could tell them how much they mean to me.
What kind of technique do you use within your own work?
I take it one stage at a time, and of course started on papers before learning Illustrator, which I currently use. I’m also spending time learning how to design for 3D and would love to see the Arabic letters come to life. I think it’s important to mix the classical arts with contemporary methods, and I’m fortunate that this has led me to contribute in the upcoming Sheikh Jaber Al Ahmad Cultural Centre in Kuwait, specifically in the Opera House. That experience has shifted my perspective and I want to keep working to spread the beauty of the Arabic language elsewhere internationally.
You recently took on some freelance work in Kuwait, including one using graffiti and another on a jewelries collection with Dar Haa, which is owned by a dear friend of mine Haya Al-Omar. How were those experiences?
Those experiences were so good and added a lot for me professionally. We worked on three collections using Arabic letters and calligraphy, first on bracelets and after that on 18-carat gold neckless, which used 4 to 5 Allah’s names. That kind of exposure helped me create and launch Roshana, my new shop that combines Arabic calligraphy and flowers.
Why should Arabic letters be everywhere? And why is it so important for you?
For me, it’s more than just letters. They are my passion, and I will say it again that I wish those letters were alive to tell them how I feel. Through them I am creating my own vision and sharing a perspective. They carry with them a message from our people, our history and our religion. It is a message that stretches beyond generations, and that’s why I find it important to mix the classical and contemporary styles.
For Jassim, the world he sees can only be translated through the beautiful 29 letters that belong to the Arabic language and its people.
You can find Jassim at @j_alnasrallah.
Munira M is an Art enthusiast and loves attending exhibitions, writing and reading lots of books. She will be giving you an insight to some of the emerging Artists in Qatar through interviews! You can find her at @Munira.Art
Mohammed D. Fakhro is a Qatari writer interested in how we tell and experience stories, particularly of people and cultures. You can find him at @MoeFakhro_