Osman Waqialla – Sudanese Calligrapher

A Sudanese calligrapher of international renown, he set a new benchmark in the Arabic canon.

Osman Waqialla, who has died of malaria aged 81, would have described himself as a simple khattat, the Arabic word for a calligrapher, but this implies in Islamic culture much more than the practice of beautiful writing. It is the living embodiment of a tradition that began in the first century of Islam (seventh century AD) when the Qur’an was revealed to the Prophet Muhammad in Arabia and began to be written down. Waqialla was one its great practitioners. 

Waqialla graduated from the Gordon Memorial College, Khartoum, Sudan, 1945;the School of Design, Khartoum, 1946;and, having received a scholarship, Camberwell School of Arts and Crafts, London, 1949. He later travelled to Egypt, where he trained as a calligrapher under the master Sayyid Muhammed Ibrahim (d. 1994) at the School of Arabic Calligraphy, Cairo.



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