A journalist, a poet, a calligraphic artist, a cartoonist, a
short-story writer… adjectives galore for Khaleelullah Chemnad. This
multi-talented personality, who has marked his own imprint in all
the fields he has attempted, has received recognition everywhere. As
the life of his father, who was a famous poet and writer, was left
before him like an open book, Khaleel did not take much time to find
his own way. However, his was a new path, which was a
synchronization of writing and drawing. Literature was so dear to
this talented personality from childhood when he used to carry works
of famous literary personalities along with his school books. He had
started publishing stories, poems and cartoons in children's
magazines at a tender age.
Today, Khaleel is a famous Arabic calligraphic artist and perhaps
the only one in the world who has specialized in anatomic
calligraphy, which is the unique feature of this artist.
Young Khaleel got inspiration to choose calligraphy as his field
seeing the artistic beauty of the letters in the Arabic magazines,
which used to come to his father's address from UAE, Iran, Iraq,
Saudi Arabia and Qatar. Even though Khaleel was not proficient in
Arabic language, his calligraphic works became inevitable for the
regional publications in India due to its sheer quality and beauty.
Since 1987, when he was only 15, Khaleel started drawing
calligraphic pictures for two publications in Kerala. His unique
talent in calligraphy got noticed very quickly, especially because
he was a non-Arab, a specialty, which enhanced the significance of
Khaleel started his calligraphic works by drawing verses from the
Holy Quran as pictures that carry its meaning. Later, many of
organizations in Kerala started using his works for Islamic
preaching. Khaleel started getting many awards and laurels. During
one of the exhibitions in Kerala, Sheikh Nadir Noori asked for
Khaleel's calligraphy work, which was a drawing of the holy word La
Ilaha Illallah in the shape of a lamp. Khaleel considers this as the
biggest recognition and award at a young age. He handed over his
work to Sheikh Nadir during the exhibition itself. Khaleel's works
were exhibited in many exhibitions in India and abroad at that time
Khaleel has in his kitty 15 awards for art and literature including
the Kerala Cartoon Academy Award, which he won at a very young age,
World Health Organization Award, Thoolika Award, Malayattoor Award,
MP Narayana Pillai Award and Anti-Narcotic Movement Award.
Khaleel's search for a job landed him in one of the Malayalam Radio
stations in Dubai 14 years ago. During the initial years in Dubai,
he was very active in the media as part of his job. However, his
hectic professional life compelled him to keep literature and art
aside. But, today Khaleel has become active in the field of
calligraphy once again.
Now, Khaleel has to his credit more than 1000 calligraphic works and
calligraphic logos. However, his master piece was the drawing of
Sheikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nahyan, the founder president of the UAE.
Khaleel drew this picture of Sheikh Zayed 13 years ago only by using
his name in Arabic. Since then, he drew pictures of many rulers and
poets in the UAE using anatomic calligraphy method. Famous among
them is the drawing of poet Sheikh Mana Al Otaiba using two lines of
his poem in Arabic. Khaleel may be the only artist in the world to
use Arabic calligraphy to draw portraits.
"Till now, I haven't seen anybody who uses anatomic calligraphy and
for the last 15 years I continue to follow this style, which I
acquired myself," he said.
Khaleel is currently busy with his project, an exhibition of his
works on Dubai. He has drawn 100 calligraphic works using the name
Dubai in Arabic. Each of these wonderful works is uniquely different
from others. He has also completed a similar project on Abu Dhabi
and Al Emarat and is currently busy doing another one on Sharjah.
Khaleel is also drawing more than 100 pictures of some of the rulers
in the UAE.
Khaleel, who creates wonders with Arabic letters through his
calligraphic works, has today established himself as a different
artist in the field of Arabic calligraphy and has acquired the
recognition of Arab people at large.
"I believe that my best calligraphy is yet to be drawn. It is my
dream project. It could be a great work of anatomic calligraphy and
it may even open the doors of the Guinness Book of World Records in
front of me," says Khaleel.