If you can't say a good word, keep silent
Calligraphy in Thuluth style, "If you can't say a good word, keep silent", 1990
Ink and gold leaf on paper
Lent by the artist
(Photo: Harry Foster  © Canadian Museum of Civilization Corporation)

" My work is the expression, in the form of calligraphy and ornaments that, in turn, represent the many schools of my life story and the stories of millions of people. It is the representation of who I am in a foreign land. It gives me peace and tranquility while at the same time passing on to present and future generations the good words of my ancestorsof writing. "

Excerpt from the artist's statement

Born in 1950 in Baghdad, Iraq, Aldin Rashid has followed a long route that led him from Bucharest to Rome, by way of Berlin, and finally to Canada. He has lived in the Vancouver area since 1991. This multitalented calligrapher is also a painter, a ceramicist and a restorer of art works, notably icons. In addition to his training in architecture, he has worked as a graphic designer and artistic director of a magazine, and as design consultant for the Egyptian Gallery of Berlin.

Aldin Rashid
Aldin Rashid, Burnaby, British Columbia, 2000
Rawi Hage
Gelatine silver prints
Collection of the Canadian Museum of Civilization

It was in Iraq that he learned the basics of Arab and Persian calligraphy under the influence of his father, himself a calligrapher, and thanks to the teaching of Hassan Massoudy and of the master Hashim al-Khattat, who introduced him to the Kufic style of writing. In 1968, he left Iraq to further his studies, and he has never returned.

When I left, I carried a seed inside me; maybe it had come from my parents, maybe from the teachings of the great heavenly religions or maybe from someone else. In foreign lands this seed became a volcano fuelled by longing for my homeland and for my people.

Sûrat Al-Qadr
Calligraphy in Nisaburi Kufic style, "Sûrat Al-Qadr", 1996
(Surat "The Night of Decree" from the Koran)
Ink and gold leaf on paper
Lent by the artist
(Photo: Harry Foster  © Canadian Museum of Civilization Corporation)

I reached freedom through my calligraphy. My work gives me peace and tranquillity while also passing on the good word of my ancestors to present and future generations. . . .

Since his arrival in Canada, Aldin Rashid has participated in numerous exhibitions in British Columbia; his works are also on display in several public and private collections in Europe and in North America. The Canadian Museum of Civilization includes some of his works in its collection.