Of Letters & Coins - National Museum of Saudi Arabia, Riyadh.
June - August 2021

In this installation, Hussein Alazaat takes us on a journey into Arabia's history, depicting the various scripts from Jordan and the Arabian Peninsula on both existing and invented oversized coins. Jordan is one of the world's oldest crossroads, harboring powerful kingdoms and trading centers, as attested to by the diversity of scripts on coins and inscriptions found within its present-day borders. The coins also display the relationship of Jordan to its neighboring Arabian civilizations, the Arabian Peninsula in particular. The exhibited scripts range from ancient petroglyphs, to Phoenician, Musnad, Dadanitic, Aramaic, Safaitic, Nabataean, Greek, Latin, and Arabic. They display a wealth of lettering styles from iconic sites and significant periods in the region. The coins are designed after researching into the visual and calligraphic/typographic material culture as well as the history that it reveals about the region and its wealth of heritage. The research and work present thousands of years of cultural exchange and interactions, ending with the contemporary coins and a representation of the early 20th century railways that brought pilgrims to Hijaz and its holy cities.

Hussein Alazaat
Of Letters & Coins, 2019-2021
12 Engraved steel disks.
Approx. 60 × 60 × 2 cm.
Originally commissioned by Amman Design Week & Khat Foundation, Jordan Script Routes exhibition, curated by Huda Smitshuijzen AbiFares.

Expanded by Commission of the Ministry of Culture of Saudi Arabia & Khat Foundation, Scripts and Calligraphy: A Timeless Journey.

Arabian Scripts in Contemporary Design section, curated by Huda Smitshuizen AbiFares.
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