The formal basis of Sedaghat Jabbari's compositions is the free-flowing repetition of siahmasq, or rough draft calligraphy. Siahmasq does not rely on the textual content of words, but rather is the free application of colour guided by calligraphic techniques. As such, the result shares much with Abstract Expressionism.
Manuscript writing as the most practical form of calligraphy does not offer an artistic definition of space, since it is closely tied to illumination and lay outing. Naturally, the traditional calligraphy of Iran, even in its non-functional form, is not meant to be hung on a wall. Works of calligraphy demand close inspection to reveal delicate details and perhaps this is the most obvious difference between traditional and contemporary calligraphy. On the other hand, there are no limits to siahmashq with its unconstrained use of space and the abstract quality of its shapes and forms. In traditional calligraphy the use of space in relation to the placement of elements on the page is one that should reflect a divine order. A cruciform formation, for example, has a symbolic content, possessing particular spiritual and metaphysical qualities, and appeals to one of the most ancient human archetypes.
Jabbari combines traditional and modern tools and uses the reed pen, gold leaf and traditional paint together with the brush, oil paints and canvas. In his works, we are sometimes witness to indistinct images of trees in the miniature style, the simurgh and other elements of Iranian painting in which calligraphy is lost and is only detectable upon closer examination. There is a long history in Islamic calligraphy of examples of animals or birds which have been drawn using calligraphic strokes. However, the drawings of Jabbari are more abstracted.
Sedaghat Jabbari is an award-wining artist and a prolific professor of art who has won many prizes for his outstanding works including:
Selected artist of the 3rd Biennial of Graphic Design, Tehran, 1989.
First prize at the 4th International Calligraphy Competition of the Islamic World, Istanbul, 1998.
Special prize of the 2nd International Painting Biennial of the Islamic World, Tehran, 2002.
Special prize winner of the 3rd International Painting Biennial of the Islamic World, Tehran, 2004.
Grand prize winner at the 12th Shilpakala Biennial, Dhaka, Bangladesh in 2006.