• Imprint: Saqi Books
  • ISBN: 9780863569012
  • Published: September 2018
  • UK Price: £25.00
  • Format: 235mm x 230mm
  • Binding: Hardback
  • Extent: 160pp
  • Subject: , ,


Egypt's Calligraphic Landscape

Basma Hamdy

Noha Zayed

Egyptian cities and villages abound with an enormous wealth of khatt, or calligraphic script, ranging from casual scrawls and scribbles to elaborately-painted colourful murals. These historical and contemporary versions of urban lettering, varying in surface, medium and technique, adorn mosques, shop-fronts, houses, trucks, boats, schools, tuk tuks and walls. They are records of human existence, documenting expressions of hope, fears, dreams and anxieties.

Featuring beautiful and unique examples of these written expressions, Khatt is an extensive visual documentation of the found typography and calligraphy in Egypt, a calligraphy hub that possesses a rich tradition of education and production in the field. This timely volume records the traditional craftsmanship of hand-painted calligraphy, which is in decline because of the digitization of the Arabic script.

Spanning cities across Egypt, and highlighting the history of language in the country and the progression into the Arabic script, Khatt is a rich visual source-book, vital for designers, artists and enthusiasts.


About the Authors

Basma Hamdy is Associate Professor of Graphic Design at Virginia Commonwealth University in Qatar. Hamdy has exhibited and appeared at international art and design festivals and conferences, including Duke University's Arts of the Revolution and Spielart Festival Munich. Her publications include Walls of Freedom: Street Art of the Egyptian Revolution.

Noha Zayed is a photographer and creative entrepreneur based in Cairo, Egypt. She co-curates the highly popular Instagram account `Arabic Typography' which has over 90K followers. Zayed has exhibited in festivals and platforms across the Middle East such as Dubai Design Week and the Sharjah Calligraphy Biennial.


‘A sumptuous guide to a phenomenon that is simultaneously popular and increasingly under threat.’ The National, UAE

‘A treasure of a volume.’ Egyptian Streets