Home Art Magazine Mathematical systems, geometric compositions and Arabic calligraphy with Lulwah Al Homoud

A pioneering figure in the Saudi Arabian art scene, Lulwah Al Homoud is acclaimed for her intricate works that transform calligraphy into geometric abstraction. 

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Lulwah Al Homoud is an established international award winning artist that examines the intricacies behind semantic and visual composition structures by breaking down Arabic letters into mathematically based geometric patterns. This distinct artistic process has become Al Homoud’s trademark. She studied sociology at King Saud University, then left for the UK, where she researched Arab calligraphy and Islamic geometry as part of her MA from Central Saint Martins. She was the first Saudi to graduate from the celebrated college of art and design, and later trained under acclaimed calligrapher Rasheed Butt. Her work is in the collections of the British Museum, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, and the Barjeel Art Foundation.

Influenced by the traditions of Islamic art, she articulates universal geometric principles that stem from the mathematical deconstruction of Arabic letters, which makes calligraphy a central point in Al Homoud’s work. Through her interpretation of calligraphy she explores the complexities of linguistic, mathematical and visual systems of communication. Al Homoud deconstructs Arabic script and applies ancient mathematical principles to devise unique systems of expression. 

 

Figure 1. Lulwah Al Homoud, Al Baqi, 2014. Courtesy of Lakum Artspace

 

In each of her works, a pattern of black ink lines forms a web that vibrates with varying intensity across the whiteness of the paper. It is through this artistic process that she develops contrasts to illuminate her works: black and white; density and lightness; abstraction and representation. The processes that comprise the intricate symmetry of these forms align the spiritual with the mathematical, evidencing a delicate balance between realms of logic, language, and mysticism. 

These bases are also common founding principles behind Islamic art, which uses geometrical archetypes to decorate holy sites. She claimed in an interview with Vogue Arabia that “It’s an extension of the philosophy of Islamic art because that’s my inspiration. It is the relationship between the finite and the infinite, the periphery and the center.” However, she does not typify her art as ‘religious’ but rather a system of meaningful signs. Her artworks are very precise, yet full of movement, with each element being perfectly balanced.

She has been a strong advocate for more attention, academic reception and analysis of Saudi Arabian art, which has earned her a pioneering figure in it. In line with this strong pioneering purpose, she heads the Lulwah Al Homoud Art Foundation, which publishes books, organizes exhibitions, and promotes cross-cultural research.

 

Figure 2. Lulwah Al Homoud, Hwa, 2021. Courtesy of Lakum Artspace

Lakum Artspace is a multifunctional contemporary gallery that means “an artspace for all”. It speaks and operates to the core of its meaning. Designed with the community in mind, it develops engaging, approachable, and supportive platforms for art professionals and art enthusiasts to learn, communicate, and create dialogue surrounding the true nature of art and design. More than an artspace, Lakum is one of its kind in Saudi Arabia to exist as a multifunctional hub that creatively compliments the current art scene in the country.

Cover image: Lulwah Al Homoud, Al Akhir, 2008. Courtesy of Lakum Artspace

Written by: Zara Colombo

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