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Iconic Tunisian Artist Nja Mahdaoui Turns Facebook’s Headquarters into a Palace of Arabic Calligraphy

Facebook has invited the Tunisian artist Nja Mahdaoui to transform the company’s headquarters in San Francisco (USA) with his colorful and dynamic calligraphy.

Facebook’s Creative Director Leonardo de Rocha proudly shared three snaps of the newly commissioned artwork with a caption saying, “Tunisian visual artist Nja Mahdaoui graced our new space (…) with this stunning choreography of letterforms and color.” 


A post shared by Leonardo De La Rocha (@delar0cha) on

Mahdaoui’s large artworks have been installed on the floor-to-ceiling windows in order for the sunlight to illuminate them from behind and thus light up the room with their vivid colors.


This new artwork was made within the framework of the so-called “FB AIR program,” which is a Facebook initiative to “promote creativity, innovation, openness and connectivity through art and design.” It was an amazing feat that Facebook was able to commission Mahdaoui to complete this artwork.

Nja Mahdaoui, who is also a UNESCO Crafts Prize laureate, was born in 1937 in Tunis and he graduated from both the Accademia di Sant'Andrea in Rome (1967) and the École du Louvre à Paris in Paris. He continued his training in Paris at the Cité Internationale des Arts on a scholarship from the Tunisian Government.

Mahdaoui’s Arabic calligraphy is remarkably innovative, and its aesthetic dimension conveys a strong sense of the poetic. He considers himself “an explorer of signs” and has been described as a “choreographer of letters” and prefers to call his own artworks “calligrams” or “graphemes”.

Mahdaoui artworks have been exhibited in countless group and solo exhibitions around the world and occasionally he will also do a live performance.

He also installed sculptures and tapestries in the Jeddah and Riyadh airports, but also in those of Oman, Bahrain and the UAE, and he even designed a whole Gulf Air aircraft for the company’s 50th anniversary:

The accomplishments if this iconic artist are too many to list, but thankfully all of his works are beautifully documented on his website, where you can flip through his whole portfolio and see how the artist has worked with just about every material imaginable, for example: Canvas, vellum, papyrus, arches paper, silkscreen print, book, poster, design, sculpture, aluminum, brass, melamine, drum, textile, embroidery, tapestry, ceramic, wood, jewelry, stained steel glass, architecture, and, yep, even airplanes - lucky Facebook.

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