Ahmed Moustafa

Ahmed Moustafa draws on his deep faith and scholarly knowledge of the science of Arabic script to create absorbing works that have achieved international recognition: classical Arabic poetry transformed into zoomorphic images; a single Arabic letter reverberating across the surface into swirling arabesques; Quranic verses that call forth divine power.

Preceding this signature body of work was a series drawing on Moustafa’s neoclassical European training in Egypt. Strikingly different, the earlier paintings are often figurative and thus represent a lesser-known yet equally important moment in Moustafa’s practice. Born in Alexandria in 1943, the artist began his studies in 1961 in the Faculty of Fine Arts and Architecture at Alexandria University. He then established a prominent reputation as a figurative painter in Egypt, before continuing his training in London, where he received a Master’s degree and doctorate from St. Martin’s College of Art and Design. It was during this period of research that Moustafa’s inspiration shifted focus to Islam’s highest art form: calligraphy. His visually arresting penmanship has been translated into the media of painting, stained glass, silkscreen and tapestries.

Since 1974, Moustafa has resided in London and in 1983 he founded the Fe-Noon Ahmed Moustafa Research Centre for Arab Art and Design.