Arabic Letterism is a contemporary style of abstract art created by Arab artists. As the name implies, it features Arabic letters and Arabic calligraphy as the main expressive element. Arabic Letterism attempts to establish identity in Arabic abstract art and invests in the beauty of Arabic calligraphy to achieve novel forms of expression.
Arabic Letterism deviates from traditional calligraphy and combines calligraphic motifs within modern abstract art themes. Traditional calligraphy is about the aesthetic representation of semantic content through the controlled and fluid drafting of letter shapes. Letterism on the other hand is not concerned with the semantic content and is freer in the use of medium and forms of presentation.
Arabic Lettersim was not invented by calligraphers who were seeking new forms of expression. It was created by abstract artists who needed to achieve identity in the works they produced. It could also be considered as a modern interpretation of the traditional calligraphic styles. Arabic Letterism has also developed into many distinctive styles that reflect their cultural background and the approaches of their creators.
A final observation I wish to make about Arabic Letterism is its deconstructive nature. Arabic Letterism seems to be a critical and reconsidering view of Arabic calligraphy. It attempts to deconstruct the traditional usage of calligraphy in the attempt of finding a contemporary meaning and expression of the calligraphic vehicle.