Mohamed Zakariya



A Life in Artistry.

Growing up in Los Angeles, Mohamed Zakariya was surrounded by artists—his father, a painter and movie art director; his mother, an interior decorator; and their friends, artists, antique dealers, and designers.  But his education in art followed an uncommon path.

Zakariya started painting at an early age and was an amateur tattoo artist, then worked for a time at a micro-machining factory. After a trip to Morocco, where he was first tutored in calligraphy, he returned to California and, in 1961, accepted Islam. Zakariya spent the next five years affiliated with a French art impresario and gallerist in Los Angeles, learning fundamental principles of European design and crafting objects of wood and metal fit for a Cabinet of Curiosities.

Then, in London, Zakariya appeared in a traveling comedy show called “An Evening of British Rubbish’ and played a small role in the BBC’s 1966 film “Alice in Wonderland,” directed by Jonathan Miller. He supported himself painting restaurant murals, renovating houses, and selling his caligraphy and paintings at the Bayswater Road Sunday art market.

Back in the states, Zakariya concentrated primarily on calligraphy, which has always been an underlying passion. In 1984 he began formal calligraphy studies with masters Hasan Celebi and Ali Alparslan under the auspices of the Research Center for Islamic History, Art, and Culture (IRCICA) in Istanbul.

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