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Ali Shirazi

Ali Shirazi : When Content Is Created Through Pure Form

Ali Shirazi : When Content Is Created Through Pure Form

In Ali Shirazi's calligrams, the form comes first and last. This is a huge departure for an artist who writes by theme and is a fully fledged classical calligrapher, as seen in the piece of art studied in this essay.

IranArt : The message is the main emphasis of traditional calligraphy. Calligraphers have used the meaning of poetry or passages from the Holy Quran to guide the arrangement of letters and words in their works throughout history. Thus, one obvious example of deconstruction is when a conventional calligrapher creates a form-centered piece of art; Ali Shirazi is a prime example of this.

This 182 × 182 piece from the "Blue Red" series was painted on canvas using acrylic in 2013.

Ali Shirazi Calligraphy


Ali Shirazi was born in 1960, started learning calligraphy at the age of 15, and because of his natural skill, he became a master calligrapher very quickly. After twenty years of creating timeless traditional calligraphies that are stored in the region's most important museums and treasures, he began practicing calligrams and has since established himself in this field of art.

Three things are thought to distinguish Shirazi's calligrams: precise letter writing, creative composition, and enormous, striking size. However, this is not the only aspect of his work that stands out, as evidenced by this specific vibrant piece of pure art.


Shirazi's favored background color, black, is also present in this piece; the only difference is that the large, cheery blue letters conceal the blackness. Here, the artist has deftly utilized the partially sketched portions of eleven obscure characters or words. The three red pieces that mimic fire and add depth to the Siyah maschq-inspired arrangement represent the zenith of the piece's beauty.


 Large bodies of letters are ideally suited for capturing the most striking aspect of the work, which is the tremendous intensity of brilliant colors. Shirazi's distinctive writing style, without a doubt, has a significant impact on the audience. This visual appeal is achieved by the way these stretches are balanced, how thick each is and how they complement one another, and, of course, where the red Siyah mashq should be.


 The work's pure formalism demonstrates the wonderful modern uses for Iranian traditional and Nastaliq calligraphy, as well as how lovely these letters are in their most basic state and without any requirement for text or meaning to be expressive. This unadulterated form of Shirazi lends itself to semantic interpretation, and the viewer's lived experience adds significance.

Ali Shirazi


Shirazi's calligrams are housed in priceless collections throughout the Middle East and Asia, such as the Islamic Arts Museum Malaysia, Mohammad Al Murr collection in the UAE, Sultan Bin Ali Al Owais Cultural Foundation in Dubai, Hassan bin Mohamed Al Thani collection in Qatar, Sharjah Art Museum, National Museum of Qatar, the Anwar Gargash collection in Dubai, the Juma AI-Majid Center for Culture and Heritage in Dubai , the treasure of the Pasargad Bank Museum, Tehran's Quran Museum and Imam Ali Religious Arts Museum.

Shirazi's calligrams, like his classic calligraphies, are in high demand in the Middle Eastern art market. In addition to his recent $33,400 sale at the 19th Tehran Auction and his record-breaking $60,000 sale at Christie's in 2012, he has had exciting and successful auctions at Bonhams London and other locations; examples of these can be found on credible websites like Art Price:

Ali Shirazi Ali Shirazi Calligraphy
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