A genius like an imprint of the time
A journalist, a poet, a calligraphic artist, a cartoonist, a short-story writerâ€¦ adjectives galore for Khaleelullah Chemnad. This multi-talented personality, who has marked his own imprint in all the fields he has attempted, has received recognition everywhere. As the life of his father, who was a famous poet and writer, was left before him like an open book, Khaleel did not take much time to find his own way. However, his was a new path, which was a synchronization of writing and drawing. Literature was so dear to this talented personality from childhood when he used to carry works of famous literary personalities along with his school books. He had started publishing stories, poems and cartoons in children's magazines at a tender age.
Today, Khaleel is a famous Arabic calligraphic artist and perhaps the only one in the world who has specialized in anatomic calligraphy, which is the unique feature of this artist.
Young Khaleel got inspiration to choose calligraphy as his field seeing the artistic beauty of the letters in the Arabic magazines, which used to come to his father's address from UAE, Iran, Iraq, Saudi Arabia and Qatar. Even though Khaleel was not proficient in Arabic language, his calligraphic works became inevitable for the regional publications in India due to its sheer quality and beauty. Since 1987, when he was only 15, Khaleel started drawing calligraphic pictures for two publications in Kerala. His unique talent in calligraphy got noticed very quickly, especially because he was a non-Arab, a specialty, which enhanced the significance of his works.
Khaleel started his calligraphic works by drawing verses from the Holy Quran as pictures that carry its meaning. Later, many of organizations in Kerala started using his works for Islamic preaching. Khaleel started getting many awards and laurels. During one of the exhibitions in Kerala, Sheikh Nadir Noori asked for Khaleel's calligraphy work, which was a drawing of the holy word La Ilaha Illallah in the shape of a lamp. Khaleel considers this as the biggest recognition and award at a young age. He handed over his work to Sheikh Nadir during the exhibition itself. Khaleel's works were exhibited in many exhibitions in India and abroad at that time itself.
Khaleel has in his kitty 15 awards for art and literature including the Kerala Cartoon Academy Award, which he won at a very young age, World Health Organization Award, Thoolika Award, Malayattoor Award, MP Narayana Pillai Award and Anti-Narcotic Movement Award.
Khaleel's search for a job landed him in one of the Malayalam Radio stations in Dubai 14 years ago. During the initial years in Dubai, he was very active in the media as part of his job. However, his hectic professional life compelled him to keep literature and art aside. But, today Khaleel has become active in the field of calligraphy once again.
Now, Khaleel has to his credit more than 1000 calligraphic works and calligraphic logos. However, his master piece was the drawing of Sheikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nahyan, the founder president of the UAE. Khaleel drew this picture of Sheikh Zayed 13 years ago only by using his name in Arabic. Since then, he drew pictures of many rulers and poets in the UAE using anatomic calligraphy method. Famous among them is the drawing of poet Sheikh Mana Al Otaiba using two lines of his poem in Arabic. Khaleel may be the only artist in the world to use Arabic calligraphy to draw portraits.
'Till now, I haven't seen anybody who uses anatomic calligraphy and for the last 15 years I continue to follow this style, which I acquired myself,' he said.
Khaleel is currently busy with his project, an exhibition of his works on Dubai. He has drawn 100 calligraphic works using the name Dubai in Arabic. Each of these wonderful works is uniquely different from others. He has also completed a similar project on Abu Dhabi and Al Emarat and is currently busy doing another one on Sharjah. Khaleel is also drawing more than 100 pictures of some of the rulers in the UAE.
Khaleel, who creates wonders with Arabic letters through his calligraphic works, has today established himself as a different artist in the field of Arabic calligraphy and has acquired the recognition of Arab people at large.
'I believe that my best calligraphy is yet to be drawn. It is my dream project. It could be a great work of anatomic calligraphy and it may even open the doors of the Guinness Book of World Records in front of me,' says Khaleel.
Khaleelullah Chemnad joined Fine Art America on May 1st, 2008.