Calligraphy from the Qur'an, by the modern Afghan calligrapher Ismail Sediqi
Source: New York Times, Arts & Leisure Section, p. 20, Sunday March 10, 2002; scan by FWP
From the accompanying article by Andrew Solomon, "An Awakening from the Nightmare of the Taliban":
It was hard for the Taliban to attack calligraphers, whose work was holy; but it held them in considerable suspicion, and men like Ismail Sediqi kept a low profile. He stopped making beautiful images of his own poems, with lines like "I am a treasure within a ruin." Instead, he became "a simple scribe" who wrote verses from the Koran. Even here, however, there was room for sedition: he often copied out the opening verse of the holy book, which announces--contrary to the restrictive practices of the Taliban--that God is the God of all men. "Innovation?" he said. "Well, I sometimes put modern makeup on the beautiful face of the classic forms.