Faouzia Hilmy calligrapher

I was born to Moroccan parents in Toulouse, France in 1974. I spent my childhood and teenage years there, before suddenly leaving school and doing casual work. I was unhappy with this lacklustre life, and decided to resume my studies in Paris. Despite obtaining a Master’s degree in Marketing, I was no happier. I became shop manager in Place de la Bastille, but felt empty inside and frustrated.

At the age of 29, I went to the USA on my own. One day, while I was sitting on a bench opposite San Francisco Bay, I felt guided to pray: ‘Please help me find my way’.

I prayed so hard that my prayer was answered. By chance? By vocation? The miracle happened when I came back to France. I was in a cyber café when I saw an ad for Arabic calligraphy courses by two Syrians calligraphers. It turned out to be a revelation for me. I was fascinated by the letters, their complex yet harmonious forms, that reminded me of the Arabic lessons I had taken as a child and teenager.

I decided to drop everything and devote all my time to learning this millenial art.

faouzia hilmy, arabic calligrapher

I gradually went from feeling down to blossoming, thanks to my artwork which helped me to become resilient.

It took me several years to learn Arabic calligraphy and was very demanding, but I stuck it out and started a blog on the Internet while creating my first calligraphy artwork. The blog was very successful; individuals and well-known brands started contacting me to create artwork and advertisements. I began exhibiting in Toulouse before going to other countries.

I became one of the few women Arabic calligraphers in a traditionally male-dominated field of activity.