At only 24, Ghaleb Hawila managed to make a solid name for his Art in the field of Arabic calligraphy in Lebanon. He first discovered his passion for this beautiful traditional Craft during his graphic design studies at AUST. Then, he sharpened his skills and developed an impressive personal style through his cat-like curiosity and strong rebel desire to experiment freely.
Ghaleb Hawila was born in Tyre, the southern Lebanese town. Pushed by his parents to study architecture, he surprised his friends and family when he chose graphic design instead at AUST. Since his early childhood, Ghaleb loved textures, colors and materials. He was already was interested in design, but “without knowing anything about it, so I wanted to learn from scratch ” he says. “I wanted to explore freely with no final vision in mind. But people do not seem to enjoy exploration without an ambitious career plan. So I tried a little of everything, such as animation & illustration, before concentrating on typography for my final project. I just had this sketch book where I drew different calligraphy forms without knowing what materials to use. I was fascinated by the craft side of this art as I’m not really comfortable on a computer ! So that’s how I continued. ”
But research is not enough to Ghaleb Hawila who reconciled the public and calligraphers by going out to make street art. “It was for me a way to show authentic calligraphy interpretations, far from the images conveyed by some of the other street artists. “I wanted to establish a kind of competition up in the street, and it worked ! My motivation was to remain true to my style even if it meant putting me out against the current. Freedom is to do what we really want in life “.
Ghaleb’s vision allowed him to earn his financial independence while finishing his studies, through tattoo designs, various commissions, events but also education, including teaching at the Lycee Abdel Kader. “I felt the need to learn the classical Arabic calligraphy, it was an enriching experience and I finally felt comfortable. Still, I needed to apply a more personal touch and develop something which would look like me. “So he experimented with different materials and tools, creating his own path.
Success is here today: “People ask me to create works for them, which is great. But what I appreciate most are the messages of support I receive every day, thanks to the art I make.” Still, his family remained skeptical upon his graduation and encouraged him to find a” real job. ”
“I did not choose a linear path, this led me to do much more than just follow the norm. I appeared on TV for ads, the media was interested in my work, and the opinion of my family also changed in the meantime.
When Mashrou’ Leila approaches you to ask you for a collaboration, you suddenly know why you took this path. It’s only a matter of time, really. ”
For Ghaleb, calligraphy is” the symbol of our identity, a difficult art full of challenges but extremely beautiful nonetheless “. Today, he is often commissioned for murals projects, for brands, and other clients.
“What I like most about this job is the authentic contact with people. When they ask me for a special project, I sit down and listen to know their story. I want my art to most closely resemble the person to whom it is intended. ”
In parallel, Ghaleb organizes calligraphy workshops, usually at Minus 1, with classical Arabic music playing in the background of course.
Currently, he would like to open a club where interested people can practice calligraphy peacefully. Ghaleb also enrolled in a workshop on Arabic typography at AUB, hoping to learn more about this art. Meanwhile, he launched jointly with the Syrian interior designer and origamist Ghaith Adeb the product “Ghain” a decorated origami lamp with Arabic calligraphy, which he describes as “a new product joining two cultures for a contemporary feel that can decorate apartments as well as modern offices and souls too.. ”