My Experience in Light Calligraphy with Karim Jabbari & The Ara Gallery

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Today I joined a workshop that was organized by The Ara Gallery about Light Calligraphy by one of the most known Arab light calligraphists and street artists, Karim Jabbari.

We went in not knowing what to expect exactly, but the experience was amazing! And Karim is so passionate about this form of art that you can’t help but to ride on his wave of enthusiasm!

The workshop was outdoors at the area right outside The Ara Gallery in Downtown Dubai, between 6-9 PM. Thank God it was a time friendly to us corporate slaves so I finally could join one of their so many interesting workshops! But the workshop was held at such a time specifically because light calligraphy is best practiced during the night so that the lights being used can be distinguished clearly in the artwork made.

The workshop started with Karim taking us through the right camera’s configuration and setup that would help capture the right aspects of light calligraphy and the scene we were making, he then shared with us some of his artwork and explained the different setup he did for each. Needless to say, his artwork was simply mind blowing!

Karim then gave each of us a flashlight to use for the workshop, and explained that the sense of light calligraphy is basically to draw the words we want to write as if our flashlight was our brush, having the air as our canvas, BUT, the tricky part was that we’ll have to write in a mirrored effect so it can be reflected correctly on the camera! Not easy I tell you! Let me try to show you how does a scene typically look like:

light calligraphy scene

By the time he explained what we need to do, it was dark enough for us to start experimenting with different backgrounds. It was so much fun cause you discover how not easy it is to write in a mirrored effect! And you get reminded by how beautiful Arabic calligraphy is! A lot of trials and errors to figure how to write words correctly! But it is absolutely worth it!

Here are some of my trial and error attempts:

IMG_5962 IMG_5966 IMG_5982

And with some more practice:

IMG_5983 IMG_6000 IMG_5970

Karim was generous enough to conclude the workshop with actually writing our names artistically!


Of course, I couldn’t not get Sail as well pimped up, so check what he did:


Karim may host an advanced workshop soon in Dubai, I highly recommend it! Grab your friends and go cause it’s way more fun to do it in groups. And make sure you have a DSR camera and a tripod with you.

Karim will also be having a solo exhibition soon in Dubai. I won’t reveal details of the exhibition opening, but from what I’ve heard about the concept and so, this will be an event you do NOT want to miss!

Thank you Ara Gallery & Karim Jabbari!

One thought on “My Experience in Light Calligraphy with Karim Jabbari & The Ara Gallery

    D said:
    September 15, 2013 at 11:22 PM

    Hi Iman,
    I am really interested in light calligraphy,
    It is awesome!!
    I have two questions for you.

    1) what camera and what setting did you use during your experience?
    2) what kind of flash light did you use? (any link to actual product in amazon?)

    thank you,


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