Manar Al Muftah

Manar Al Muftah is our 2nd artist to be featured as part of Fann 3arabi for the Rising. Manar doesn’t currently have an online portfolio so this post will include as much as possible of Manar’s work as she supplied – in addition to her customised header for Fann 3arabi. Manar is a Qatari artist that graduated from Virginia Commonwealth University in Qatar with a Bachelors Fine Art degree in Graphic Design.

Manar describes her first experience with printing to lack texture and ‘handmade’ feeling to it, so she experimented in creating a collage from other printed elements as she glued them to the original poster and since then she realised how much she values the handmade work. Afterwards, she found her other passion which was Arabic calligraphy. She said to become fascinated by the shapes of Arabic letters. With her previous experience in creating collages and such, she decided to carry out a project showing textures that represent historical aspects of those letters.

Manar spent months on that project, meanwhile she developed her own printing techniques that enriched her work and gave the letters a sophisticated vintage old look. After those four months, her handmade book was done, titled Alefba. Manar worked out her experience in handmade books to produce her senior portfolio and she is expected to be having an exhibition in September 2008 about the Arabic alphabets.

Here is a collection of her work:

Photos of Her book:

Photos of her Senior Profile:

Here’s a brief written by Manar about her exhibition:


Arabic is deeply rooted in my repository of memories. I always remember learning the Arabic alphabet when I was a child. This alphabet was more than a collection of letters. The curviness and the smoothness of the many letters together wove a story in my child’s mind. Raa was a girl’s braid, and lam was my dad’s fishing hook.

We, as native Arabic speakers, rarely pay attention to our Arabic alphabet. Because we were born to speak and write in Arabic, we never examined the forms and shapes of those letters. My own perception of letters has changed tremendously. I don’t see letters as figures anymore.

Three years ago, I never thought about the letter nuun. Today, nuun is more than a letter. It is a crescent, a bowl of sadness, a bag of flour, and my lucky talisman!
Each letter has its own story; each articulates a rhythmic music, and each has an identity: some have one dot, while others have two, and one single letter has three dots: thaa. And each of the three dots is different from the other!

We are used to looking at joined letters, which form words. But we hardly ever see separate letters set individually. When we see faa by itself, it helps our eyes to move freely from the dot to the body forming an image in the mind. One will see a boat. While the other will see a lucky charm! Each letter is unique and has a visual impact on us.

Each has a magical power!

Calligraphy is considered one of the richest resources of many artists from the Arab world. Today, many contemporary artworks differ from one artist to another, but no Arab artist can completely deny the influence of calligraphy. The Arabic alphabet provides me with a variety of potentials to express the artistic identity of Arabs. My work seeks not to present the technicality, but to honor the world of the alphabets. I tried to give each letter the value it deserves, and expose it to the contemporary world. My artwork is very intimate! Each piece is part of me! Each is a precious memory of my childhood, and each is a lucky charm!


13 Responses to “Manar Al Muftah”

  1. Qwaider قويدر Says:

    Really beautiful artwork

    Thanks for sharing

  2. Omar Says:

    Thanks for visiting Qwaider :)
    Yeah I personally love Manar’s work! hehe

  3. Qwaider قويدر Says:

    You know how much I love Arabic Calligraphy, it runs in my blood really.
    This is excellent work.

  4. Omar Says:

    Yeah I do! I always remember how surprised I was when I knew about your dad and stuff. Wish you can share a post with photographs of your dad’s work sometime soon (when you get to Amman of course) hehe.

    I’m sure Manar will be glad to hear so :)

  5. MANAR Says:

    Omar I can’t find the right word to THANK YOU! You did a great job and I appreciate it :)

  6. leli Says:

    Mabroook habibti! Really really nice work, MashAllah!!!!

  7. Esraa Says:

    As personal as your work may be, the calligraphy reaches out to everyone, I think even non-arabic speaker see the beauty in it….
    Keep it up ;) and I can’t wait to see your Gallery!

  8. Nouriko Says:

    Manaaaar 7bibty!!

    So proud of you! you deserve the best of everything, so talented and so sweet

    me 7b! :-D

  9. Dana Says:

    Wow…this is really amazing:)
    Mashalla your work is really amazing.. it seems to me that no one in the world has ever made something this beautiful with arabic type!
    I’m sure going to be ready with my camera to take pictures of your Gallery:)

  10. Rami Says:

    Awesome work by an awesome person!.. keep it up!!!

    you gotta get a website going! i wanna see all your work up on it :) i think it would be a great idea.

    hope you’re doin well !

    congrats on having a gallery lined up.. how cool is that !!!!

  11. Reem Says:

    Very inspiring – all the best!.

  12. hassan Says:

    cava ma belle manar

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