"I wanted to develop something that was within the norm, but different," London-based calligraphy artist Samir Malik explains in discussing his creation of the Nahara signature print, Eternal Design. The print is one of several used in a line of vibrant silk scarves that form Nahara's first scarf collection. With a background studying Arabic calligraphy at Damascus University in Syria, Samir fuses traditional Islamic calligraphy with contemporary free-form styles, creating curved, flowing letters that express thoughts and feelings from his own spiritual journey.
It was Samir's use of colour that first attracted Nahara designer, Sonya, to his work. Samir applies several layers of colour into fragmented words or text, which serve as abstract designs. He uses paint or ink applied with kalams and wooden implements, as well as digital manipulation, to create contemporary designs that are both accessible and visually compelling. This unfinished, abstract look has has earned Samir his recognition as an artist and is a key part of the vision for the Nahara clothing line: building on Islamic tradition to create modern expressions of art and design.
Though Samir experiments with his own styles and materials, he also works to preserve the spiritual foundation of traditional Islamic calligraphy. Eternal Design, for example, is inspired by one of the Quranic names of God, Al-Hayy, or 'The Ever-living, The Eternal'. Focused on the theme of eternity in creating the design, Samir used sweeping brush strokes and blocks of colour that he applied intuitively. Other scarves in the range are also based on words with significant spiritual meaning within Islamic metaphysics, such as Muhabbat, meaning Love, and Noor, meaning Light.
The Samir Malik range of scarves can be appreciated on a purely aesthetic level, for the vibrant colours and fluid lines. For those who are interested in delving deeper, the letters and words provide meaning on a literal level, and beyond the literal translations of the paintings, there is further existential and spiritual meaning. Each of the arabic words can contribute to a lifetime's study.
Samir works in fine art, design and photography, and has exhibited internationally at art galleries and universities. He has worked with a wide range of clients, including the Liverpool Arabic Arts Festival, Chloe fashion house, Burton Snowboards and the Meridian Institute among others. His work is part of the UK National Collection and can be found in many private collections across the globe.