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Ali Adjalli

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Ali Adjalli
Native name قربانعلی اجلی واثق
Born Qorban Ali Ajali Vaseq
February 8, 1939
Mianeh, Iran
Nationality Iranian
Education
  • Lycée Français, Tehran
  • Masters of Architectural Engineering, College of Design, Tehran
Known for Master calligrapher, painter, poet and educator

Qorban Ali Ajalli Vaseq (Persian: قربانعلی اجلی واثق‎; pen name, Vassegh; born February 8, 1939) is a master calligrapher, painter, poet and educator, noted for founding the "Gol Gasht" style of calligraphy, characterised by a dense and interlocking play of the Arabic script, a distinctive style now regularly used by Arab and Iranian calligraphers in artworks.

Life and career[edit | edit source]

Ali Adjalli was born in Mianeh, Iran, on February 8, 1939. He was the son of Mohammed Ali, a Turkish calligraphy poet and a former pupil of calligrapher, Professor Seyed Hossein Mirkhani (1907-1982). His mother taught the Q'ran at Ferdowsi Elementary School and High School.[1]

He attended the Ferdowsi Elementary School and Pahlavi Middle High School and graduated from the Iranian Razi High School in Tehran. He received his initial arts education at Tehran’s Lycée Français, following that with a Masters' Degree in Architectural Engineering from Tehran’s College of Design in 1960. Returning to his childhood love of painting, Adjalli then studied calligraphy and calligraphic painting under the direction of Professor Ibrahim Bouzari and Professor Ahmad Najafi Zanjani amongst others.[2]

Shortly after completing his studies, Adjalli developed a new style of calligraphy which he called Gol Gasht,[3][4][5] characterised by dense, interlocking style of Arabic script intended for use in painting rather than manuscripts. The script has been described as both "mesmerising and chaotic".[6]

Apart from his work as an artist and poet (writing under the pen name of Vassegh), he began a career as an educator in 1974, becoming a university lecturer on fine arts, and then Master of Calligraphy at numerous institutions including the prestigious Calligraphy Academy of Iran.

Work[edit | edit source]

His paintings are inspired by his interests in scripture, spiritual poetry and Islamic architecture. He primarily uses acrylic on canvas an applies the medium in thick layers, painting and re-painting over each form until he achieves the desired look and feel. He consciously uses colours selected from the Islamic palette.[7] His works combine non-figurative representation and abstraction.[8]

Adjalli has exhibited his works at a number of international institutions and galleries,[9] including solo exhibitions at the Tehran Museum of Contemporary Art and at the Niavaran Palace Institute and group exhibitions in Sydney, Australia (2012);[10] Abu Dhabi (2010);[11] Dubai (2010), Bahrain (2010)[12] and Rome (2016) [13]

The bulk of his Adjalli’s work is now held in private collections.[14] However, examples of his work can be found in the permanent collection of the Tehran Gallery.

Select List of Paintings

  • Autumn's Grace 2004 [15]
  • Sadness Days 2008 [16]
  • Charter Boat 2008 [17]
  • Allah, 2008-09 [18]
  • Love is Many Coloured date unknown [19]

See also[edit | edit source]

References[edit | edit source]

  1. "Gulgasht's Pedagogue", in: The Voice of Miyana, Online: (translated from Persian)
  2. "Gulgasht's Pedagogue", in: The Voice of Miyana, Online: (translated from Persian)
  3. [1]
  4. http://www.magiran.com/ppdf/nppdf/2387/p0238706930331.pdf
  5. Jamm Art & Beyond, Contemporary Art Auction, [Auction Catalogue], 2010, n.p., Online:
  6. Aossey, D.W., "Drawing Conclusions: Shedding a Vital Light on Middle Eastern Art", [Review of S. Eigner's book], Art of the Middle East: Modern and Contemporary Art of the Arab World and Iran Merrell, 2010] in: Al Jadid, vol. 16, no. 62, 2010 Online:
  7. Jamm Art & Beyond, Contemporary Art Auction, [Auction Catalogue], 2010, n.p., Online:
  8. van der Velden, F., Behr, H.H. and Haußmann, G. (eds), das Licht aus der Nische holen: Kompetenzorientierung im christlichen und islamischen Religionsunterricht der Kollegstufe, Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 2013, p. 72
  9. "Ali Adjalli" [Biographical Notes] in: Opera Gallery, Arabesque, [Illustrated Exhibition Catalogue], Beirut, Opera Gallery, n.d., p. 12
  10. The Iranian Contemporary Art, 5 July - 4 August 2012 at the New Albion Gallery, See: Iran News, 7 February 2012, Online:
  11. "Get the lowdown on The Abu Dhabi art fair at Emirate's Palace", Time Out, 26 October 2010, Online:
  12. Common Threads Exhition at NM Art Gallery, 10 March -16 April 2010, Heritage House, Bastakiya, Dubai See: Art Bahrain
  13. Oriental Art, Museum of Oriental Arts, Rome, 23 March-30 April 2016; See: "Art Exhibition of Iran at the Museum of Oriental Arts in Rome", ANA April, 1394 (2016) (translated from Persian)
  14. "Ali Adjalli" [Biographical Notes] in: Opera Gallery, Arabesque, [Illustrated Exhibition Catalogue], Beirut, Opera Gallery, n.d., p. 12
  15. van der Velden, F., Behr, H.H. and Haußmann, G. (eds), das Licht aus der Nische holen: Kompetenzorientierung im christlichen und islamischen Religionsunterricht der Kollegstufe, Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 2013, p. 72
  16. Eigner, S., Art of the Middle East: Modern and Contemporary Art of the Arab World and Iran, Merrell, 2010, p. 85
  17. Eigner, S., Art of the Middle East: Modern and Contemporary Art of the Arab World and Iran, Merrell, 2010, p. 317
  18. Eigner, S., Art of the Middle East: Modern and Contemporary Art of the Arab World and Iran, Merrell, 2010, p. 47
  19. "Abu Dhabi: Setting the pace of Art in the Middle East," Sketchbook Magazine, Online:

Further reading[edit | edit source]

  • Iranian Calligraphers: Towhidi Tabari, Mishkin-Qalam, Masih Zad, Ibn Muqlah, Mir Emad Hassani, Mir Ali Tabrizi, Abolhassan Etessami, LLC Books, 2010, ISBN 9781156842669 (includes a section on Ali Adjalli)


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