Shaping from intuition

Shaping from intuition


Hozan Zangana was fifteen years old when he applied for asylum in The Netherlands in 1998. His future starts a decade later when he decides to study at Design Academy Eindhoven. Not an obvious choice, given the road he had to travel, but it is exactly this background that will determine the essence of his design practice.

Born and raised in Kirkuk in the north of Iraq, Hozan Zangana was mesmerized from a very early age by the original 7th century Kufic script with its heavy calligraphy full of voluptuous curves and fat strands like charmed snakes. They almost seem small sculptures. Silent shadows of ancient Mesopotamian and Persian statues. Hozan Zangana digs deep in his study of the shapes of the Kufic script and discovers how the history of the region is told through the hands of the old calligraphy masters; there must be a relation between this monumental writing style and the rise of a religion that prohibits the making of images and sculptures and that would destroy so many art treasures. Age-old cultures have been reduced to two-dimensional decorative patterns this way. The original volume, which is so meaningful for the Kufic calligraphy, disappears over time and the script slims down to mere lines. Modern Kufic can expect only one question: ‘What is it?’ This question is essential to Zangana; it draws us as spectators into an abstract space. The result is a collection of intuitive objects that communicates like the 7th century Kufic script.

In the midst of the chaos of the world and its eventful history Hozan Zangana creates silence. He works in meditative concentration; once the ratio is silenced his heart and hands can speak out freely. This is how his objects come into being; they all tell a story which contains a message for years and years to come, he hopes.

It was the designer Enzo mari who introduced Hozan Zangana to the story of an old tribal chief who urges his people to return home before dark so as to not fall prey to the animals. When two members of his tribe repeatedly return late he decides to observe them. While the others come running like hares to their nests the old chieftain finds the two dropouts lingering on a hill, their gazes caught in the beauty of the sunset. Enzo Mari was referring to our intuitive vocation towards beauty and art. For Hozan Zangana the story contains an all too familiar truth; people are still on the run and art will never loose its light.

Photography by Kasia Gatkowska

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