Visual Artist, Calligrapher, Designer
London born Ruh has been continuously evolving his work across multiple disciplines for over a decade. From a fine art background, Ruh studied Graphic Design at the prestigious Central St. Martin’s College of Art & Design, with a focus on illustration. His work has ranged from traditional painting to digital interactive animations and videos. In 2003, he pursued a lifelong dream of learning the traditional art of penmanship, Arabic calligraphy, and spent several years in Egypt. His study placed him with some of the leading teachers of this age and added a new dimension to his work.
While not all of his work is calligraphic, it plays a significant role in the message he portrays. His passion for calligraphy stems from his graphic design background and love of typography and visual communication.
In early 2000 he founded Make Me Believe, his own creative agency which has become one of the leading specialist creative studios dealing with Arabic, Middle Eastern and Global Halal markets in the West. Ruh’s work has included high profile national and international commissions from Sony, Channel 4, BBC, National Portrait Gallery and luxury brands in the Middle East.
He has exhibited in the UK and abroad; his most recent exhibition being in Sharjah, UAE. He was a featured artist in the BBC documentary ‘The Hidden Art of Islam’.
Ruh is also actively involved in projects teaching and training young people, and campaign and cause based collaborations with other artists and designers.
As an Arabic-brand specialist, Ruh often works for agencies on commercial projects ranging from branding, web/digital design, packaging and advertising outside of his own studio commitments.
‘Visual Dhikr’ began as a personal art project in 2000, and officially launched publicly in 2003. It has become a popular brand label, going beyond just canvases and art prints.
The term ‘Visual Dhikr’ is a concept coined by Ruh to describe his work. The Arabic word ‘dhikr’ means to remember, reflect or invoke- combined with the English word ‘Visual’ the intended meaning is to “visually remember” or ponder upon the subject.
The artwork is very broad, covering a range of mediums from paintings, calligraphic work to digital and interactive projects. There is a strong focus on calligraphy, typography and letterform, with the intention that a lot of the artwork is to be ‘read’ and not just ‘seen’. To lend to the discussion of what and how art communicates with us in a modern context is at the heart of Ruh’s exercise. The aim is to reach a new narrative that somehow contributes to a change in our perspective, beyond the artist and beyond the canvas.
Visual Dhikr produces several products; in recent years introducing its own print-based clothing range, home decor and art prints, with more products in the pipeline.
All images (c) Ruh Al-Alam / Visual Dhikr