Everitte Barbee is a U.S. citizen who grew up in Nashville, Tennessee. He’s also a calligraphy artist. About a year and a half ago, the 24-year-old commenced work on a unique project: The Quran for Solidarity is, as far as Barbee is aware, the first Quran to be completely handwritten by a non-Muslim. He also believes it may be the first edition of the book entirely written in figurative calligraphy.
“I don’t know of any other non-Muslims to write the entire Quran by
hand,” Barbee, who currently lives in Beirut, told The Daily Star. “I
[also] don’t know of another Quran written completely in pictures, in
actual figurative designs ... Normally it’s just linear text.”
Master of calligraphy Haji Noor Deen wowed Harvard in April during a demonstration of his singular Arabic Islamic calligraphy in the Chinese style. Now his work is on display in the CGIS South building in an exhibit titled “Arabic Islamic Calligraphy in the Chinese Tradition: Works by Master Haji Noor Deen.” The exhibit is sponsored by the Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal Islamic Studies Program at Harvard University.
Knowledge of Arabic and Chinese may help the viewer access added joys — tilt your head to the left and a Chinese character for “peace” gives way to a cursive Arabic salaam — but even those who do not read either language can appreciate the beauty of Noor Deen’s work.