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July 24, 2010

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An artist who lets the spirit move him

WRITE your name, and Turkish calligraphy master Aydin Cayir will make you a unique calligraphic signature in just a minute.

The Turkey Pavilion has invited Cayir to showcase the Turkish art of calligraphy to visitors from Sunday.

Cayir uses an ordinary color pen to create a calligraphic signature, drawing and writing whatever comes into his mind.

As a result, no two works are the same.

"Sometimes I don't know who is controlling my pen, me or some magical spirits inside my mind and soul," Cayir said. He said he forgets about each piece of art after finishing it.

"I would always look back at the works I've done previously, but to my surprise, they were totally new to me," said Cayir. "I took delight in appreciating it as a viewer instead of its creator."

Cayir is not only a master of Turkish calligraphy, but also a pioneer of the art.

The 40-year-old artist learnt everything about the classical form of Turkish calligraphy, or "Ottaman," from an elder master since the age of 10, and he invented a new branch of the art with his own style, which he called the "New Age" during the past 20 years of his professional life.

Cayir said the classical "Ottaman" form originated in his hometown of Istanbul around the 14th or 15th century.

The form has strict rules in drawing Arabic numerals into an artistic form with a bamboo pen. But he found that English letters were being used more frequently around the world and they were not to be used in the classical form, so he invented a new style to accept English letters while still sticking to classical tradition.

The new form has no rules and he can write the letters in 16 different styles.

"If you read the calligraphic signature closely, there are English letters; but if you read it from a distance, they look like Arabic numerals."

Cayir has been working with Turkish government to send calligraphic signatures to other country's presidents and senior officials.

He said his masterpiece was a signature for Bill Clinton, the former American president who visited Turkey about 10 years ago.


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