Hamid Ajami was born in 1962 in a traditional family in Tehran. His late father, Mr. Hedayatollah, a respectful poet and a prestiged calligrapher, was his first instructor.
Hamid Ajami started his serious activities with Iran’s Calligraphy Association in 1978, to get familiar with principles and regulations of academic calligraphy. His favorite style of calligraphy was “Nasta’ligh Script”, which took four years of schooling under the supervision of Master Keykhosro Khoroosh and there he learned the most important principles of calligraphy. Passing “Good” and “Best” levels in this field, he went to the great Master, Gholam-Hossein Amirkhani, to complete what he had learned before. He started his professional activities in 1981. It took him about eight years of training to become qualified for the achievement of “Excellent” degree from Iran’s Calligraphy Association. Then he began to teach “Nasta’ligh Script” to those interested in this style. While teaching, he continued his great attempts to get acquainted with printing, layout, and essentials of coloring and illuminating (Tazhib).
Consequently, he learned visual arts basis, specially its role in calligraphy. In relation to this matter, during the next six years he met some outstanding artists and obtained very precious experiences. In order to achieve his advanced objectives, like any other artists, he established “Fard-A Cultural and Art Institute”. So, six well-known and prominent artists rounded up, cooperating with this Institute. All these people together have created a fascinating atmosphere in Fard-A to present visual arts, especially calligraphy, to those who are enthusiastically interested in arts.
Now after twenty-two years of perseverance and hard work, it is evident that a talented, decisive and genuine artist has got the power to make fundamental changes as an invention in the field of art. Since 1995, he has been working on the new “script” he invented. In this new script, he has obeyed all traditional principles and regulations of calligraphy. By the acceptance and confirmation of Iran’s Art Society, particularly those of experts, Hamid Ajami has the honor of naming his new script “Mo’alla” (the Exalted).The issue of claiming the invention of “Mo’alla”, regardless of genuine background of calligraphy in the last hundred years, will leave doubts for calligraphy and art enthusiasts, though it is ascertained that such an initiation had not been manifested during the last two hundred years. His first individual exhibition was held in October 1999 in Tehran, consisting of forty handwritings called “Mo’alla Script”, showing his technical and specialized abilities in this style of writing. The exhibition was very successful and was visited by various art groups in Iran with enthusiasm.
This raises the question of how and with what knowledge did the late Mir Ali Tabrizi (the inventor of Nastaligh) create such a magnificent and solid style that after four centuries it is still standing as an impenetrable fortress. It is as if in a spiritual experience, all the principles of Nastaligh were suddenly revealed to him or as if he had seen a model of Nastaligh in his visions. (of course the richness of the form of letters and their complicated compositions were achieved and perfected years later by master Mir Emadol Hossien.)
By emphasizing the spiritual/artistic connection of great masters of calligraphy and the sacredness of their art, my aim here is not to cover my sinful face with a pious mask, but rather to defend the spirituality and sacredness of the art of calligraphy and perhaps to explain that the invention of a calligraphic style was never a conscious undertaking and depended entirely on the grace of God, his benevolence, and his mercy.
The above introduction finally leads me to the present endeavor which is introducing a new calligraphic style I have invented and called “Moalla.” In the course of the last two hundred years there has not been any movement in the development of a new style in the Islamic world of calligraphy or among various peoples who write in Persian or Arabic script. Today after two hundred years, we have received such an endowment and must therefore try to see, learn, and appreciate it, so that we might better succeed in its presentation.
The invention of Moalla calligraphic style, is on the one hand due to the special grace of God and the mediation of Imam Ali and on the other hand to the Iranians’ zeal and enthusiasm as truth seekers and art lovers.
Moalla calligraphy is based on the calligrapher’s own subjective and imaginative interpretation of various calligraphic styles which influence the new style indirectly as visual models. Nevertheless, a calligraphic style is considered as such when it follows the traditional calligraphy and previous known principles governing the form, and letter and word format. Moalla style is also based on the same principles of calligraphy and respects the rules governing the traditional calligraphy. This explains why the new style (Moalla) shares clear similarities with other calligraphic styles.
The graphic aspect of Moalla style does not divert it from the traditional course of calligraphy; rather it makes it possible for the other arts to use the new style in better ways.
Characteristics of Moalla style:
Using the entire potential of the calligraphic pen in writing (using all sides), which leads to increased clarity and conveys solidity.
-Sudden and abrupt transfer of strength to weakness which creates extreme contrast in thickness.
-The possibility of creating complicated compositions in asymmetrical forms
-Conveying more passion and rapture, as compared to other traditional styles, plus an epic spirit and excitement.
-The possibility of changing the proportions and sizes of the letters and ascending lines to fit for various compositions.
Independence in terms of teaching and learning (there is no need to know other styles in order to learn Moalla)
-Possibility of use in Modern architectural spaces.
-Creating curves and changing the base of words in any given composition and/or line without effecting the proportion and base of the entire composition. (In other words, there is the possibility of writing in the reverse direction and/or changing the angles of letters within one or more words.)
-Other points relating to details are better understood in close verbal discussions.
It is of course useless to compare Moalla style with other known calligraphic styles. Each calligraphic style needs to be studied in reference to its aims and goals. As a new movement strongly based on tradition, Moalla style does not claim superiority over other styles. It simply follows the same rules and can make contributions according to its own limitations and potentials.
In conclusion, I once again remind the reader that the invention of a new calligraphic style by an Iranian Moslem is a collective endeavor and achievement relating to all Moslems, and has no individual claimant. Therefore, through following aesthetic principles and traditional rules, all Moslems must help in its expansion, development, and perfection.