Khatt Islāmi: Sufi Singing

Khaled Ben Slimane, Tunisia,
1951, White Vase,
2016, Glazed ceramic, Gift of funds from Tamara and Michael Root and the Norman Gabrick Endowment for African Art, 2018.7
© Khaled Ben Slimane

Muslims consider calligraphy to be the visual equivalent of reciting the Qur’an. Sign and sound are linked. This is even more so for followers of Sufism, the mystic branch of Islām. One Sufi artist in this show, Khaled Ben Slimane, made a tall vase whose surface writings suggest repetitive chanting.

Explore Sufi singing from across Africa

Courtesy Matthew Lavoie, “Sufi Sounds,” Music Time in Africa Blog, Voice of America, Sept. 16, 2008.
Courtesy Matthew Lavoie, “Sufi Sounds, Volume Four,” Music Time in Africa Blog, Voice of America, Oct. 8, 2008.