Joumana Medlej a.k.a. Majnouna – Calligraphy ArtistFrancescaPalange
‘I am a calligraphy artist with an unexpected output: I create symbols, or mandalas, out of words in the Kufic script. I learned this ancient Arabic style from a master calligrapher in my native Lebanon; since relocating to London, I have dedicated myself to bringing it back to life in a form that would speak to our times. My subject matter is infused with Sufi philosophy and informed by my explorations of the inner world. The concentric geometry of my compositions offers order circling around a centre, in this day and age where “things fall apart; the centre cannot hold” (W.B. Yeats).
At the same time, my personal concern for the well-being of Mother Earth led me to changes in my lifestyle that made their way into my art. While not completely shunning modern technology, I work with ancestral, ecological techniques for making art materials, such as extracting pigments from rocks, or using an egg for binder, and forage whatever I can find in my local wilderness. When working with these living materials, I feel a joy and magic totally absent from modern, inert materials, and I hope that is transmitted to the viewer of the finished piece. Paper is my favourite support, and I often use papercutting to add depth to a composition.
Aside from my one-off art pieces, I create ranges of illuminated prints and other hand-finished products that can be made locally and sustainably. I also teach Kufic calligraphy, both traditional and contemporary.’
You can read the full interview with Joumana in the Summer Issue 2018 where she tells us all about her art and also gives a short tutorial on how to make your own natural inks and exclusive discount to No Serial Number readers to spend in her shop.
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