KUFI RHAPSODY: A CONTEMPORARY ISLAMIC ART APPROACH

Monday, September 24, 2012 at 10:12 PM






"Art must contribute to the betterment of humanity and it has to be important" quoted by Shukor Yahya, the Kufi Rhapsody

I attended Malaysian Design Development Centre ('DDEC') Design Summit 2012 on 24 September 2012. There were many cool presenters touching the different aspects of designs such as product designs, computer images, automotive and more. One presenter caught my attention: Mr Shukor Yahya, a true genius in Islamic Art who saw the potential in Kufi. He is Kufi Rhapsody. Shukor had travelled in many countries including Singapore, Thailand, Indonesia, Australia, India, Bangladesh, South Africa, Greece, United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, England, Wales, the USA, Switzerland and China. With such vast experience, Shukor has developed a profound love for art to the point that he quoted "Art must contribute to the betterment of humanity and it has to be important". When Shukor started painting seriously, he revived the art of Kufi square and quickly earned a reputation for his unique approach in painting. His individuality in style makes many art enthusiasts mesmerized by the contemporary works produced by him over the years.

Shukor shared the history of Kufi. Kufi is a font developed by Timo Khan, son of Kublai Khan, who ruled Samarkhand. The local (Samarkhand) culture back then was very diverse and rich encompassing many interactions between Arabs, Urdus, Chinese, Persians and many more. This exchange gave birth to Kufi whereby cultures of these different people were synergised into a simplified artistic font. Timo later embraced Islam and the rest was history as far as Kufi's development is concerned. It flourished. This history is evidenced by an ancient furniture that was found with Chinese lettering in Kufic style. It was a wonder about which one came first, the Arabic Kufic or the Chinese and how the two cultures had influenced each other to make up a Kufi square.

"Art is the ultimate expression of human soul. It tells the tales long past and dreams the future" quoted by Shukor Yahya, the Kufi Rhapsody

Shukor has now commercialised Kufi. He went further to expand the horizons of Kufi from a simple Islamic Art to product designs such as Caran'd Ache watches. His creativity landed him Eastern Art prizes (Annya Sand Pize) naming him one of the top 15 best emerging artists in Asia. Kufi is unique in that it requires some knowledge for its appreciation. One has to know arabic alphabets in order to read it phonetically. Arabic is read from left to right. This is the same for Kufi except that the left to right goes further spiraling inwards clockwise in the Kufi square.

Shukor is passionate and hopes that Malaysian culture will some day incorporate Kufi to a more pervasive manner. Until then, he will continue to drive Kufi with his sincere passion. He ended his presentation with "Art is the ultimate expression of human soul. It tells the tales long past and dreams the future". To give a final gimmick punch to this all, he cheekily added "Picasso, your time is out. It's Kufi's time now". For those who wants to experience Shukor's Kufi, The National Visual Gallery, Kuala Lumpur, is currently showing the "Power, Hope and Land" art exhibition, beginning from 7th August until 19th November, 2012, at Gallery 2B; featuring some of Shukor's work. Alternatively, you can visit his web site at shukoryahya.blogspot.com

He (Shukor Yahya Kufi Rhapsody) cheekily added "Picasso, your time is out. It's Kufi's time now"



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