When it comes to holy writ, in both Islam and Judaism, it’s not only what is said in the holy books that is important, but also the form and look of the letters on the page. In both religions, the art of calligraphy has traditionally been a male preserve, but there are women who express their artistic talents and their faith by producing work of great beauty. Soraya Syed Sanders is a leading practitioner of the art of Islamic penmanship and Canadian-born Avielah Barclay is unique in being a certified woman Hebrew scribe. Both now live in London and work from home and when they came together to compare notes, Judi Herman went to join them.
An exhibition of Soraya’s work, ‘Letters Embracing’, is on show at Asia House in New Cavendish Street, London until 19 September.