Arabic calligraphy has enjoyed a long history of creativity and renovation. Civilizations heavily influenced by Islamic culture have had the greatest influence on calligraphy’s growth. In this past century, however, two negative facets of this art emerged.
The first is the merging of the aesthetic, artistic quality of calligraphy with the religious text it carries, turning this art into nothing more than an ornamental vessel of religion.
The second is the random inclusion of letters into paintings. This insertion developed as a nationalist-religious reaction aimed at the “invasion” of European schools of painting, but it proved to be devoid of expression, of emotion, and of art.
A few calligraphers in Syria and around the Arab world worked diligently to maintain calligraphy as an art in itself, remaining open to opportunities of modernization and creation. They struggled to revive the stagnant art scene hampered by the rigid political life of tyranny.
It is, therefore, unsurprising that the most notable works of Arabic calligraphy accompanying the Syrian revolution are in the context of resistance and liberation.