Anwar Jalal Shemza
Meem Two 1967

Artwork details

Anwar Jalal Shemza 1928–1985
Meem Two
Date 1967
Medium Oil paint on canvas
Dimensions Support: 915 x 915 mm
Acquisition Purchased 2012
On display at Tate Britain

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Shemza started the Meem series in 1967 as part of an ongoing exploration of calligraphic abstraction. In these works Shemza reconfigures the Arabic letter ‘Meem’ into powerful variations displaying great symmetry and rhythm. The ‘Meem’ refers to the initial letter of the prophet Mohammad so has a religious reference, but as the initial of his wife Mary’s first name, it has emotional significance. At the back of one of his notebooks, Shemza expresses: ‘My work is based on the simplification of three dimensional solid, architectural reality of the decorative element of calligraphy… Calligraphy which gives means to convey your feelings and also produce some aesthetic response.’

October 2015

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