Hanifah Marohombsar Balangue is the calligraphic genius behind HMB Arabic Calligraphy. Her inspiration to venture into the world of creating people’s names in this colourful art form originated from the fact that people love their names created in a unique art form and that’s how HMB Arabic Calligraphy came about.
Hanifa says, “I am from the Islamic city of Marawi in Southern Philippines. My tribe called ‘Maranao’ comprises 99% Muslim population. People in my province love to display Islamic calligraphy that they have bought from other countries. Moreover, there is no formal class in our area teaching the art and I want to be able to share my skills with interested people in the future, not only sell my artwork.” She feels that there is so much to learn in the vast field of Arabic calligraphy because there are many scripts involved. For her, though, it is an adventure to delve into this field and “I always feel excited to learn new scripts and then use them to create new designs.”
Hanifa likes to use mixed media for her abstract calligraphy. These include calligraphy ink, acrylic ink, watercolour and writing in watercolour paper. As for the classic calligraphy, she uses calligraphy ink, handmade calligraphy paper and bamboo pens. She prefers working in free-style because there is freedom in creating many strokes in different colours, while, at the same time, creating a ‘conversation’ around the subject.
One piece of work that she is proud of is called the ‘Circle of Life.’ It features her name ‘Hanifa’ – the design of which starts from the centre and evolves into a circle. This artwork attracts visitors to her stand at the ARTE souq in Dubai Festival Mall, and she receives requests from customers to create similar nameplates for them to purchase.
About ARTE, she says, “It’s a pleasure being a part of ARTE. I’m so thankful there’s a community like this helping local artisans share their works. Being part of ARTE community is exciting and inspires me more to create new designs. I’m always excited when the event is approaching every month. I enjoy seeing the unique works of other artisans and of course it’s very fulfilling when people appreciate my work. I really appreciate all the works of the artisans in ARTE. They are all unique and very amazing. I’m new in ARTE but everybody is friendly and warm and enjoying the exhibition. It makes me happy sharing my work in a very friendly environment.”
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