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To celebrate Vikings Live, we have replaced our Roman alphabet with the runic alphabet used by the Vikings, the Scandinavian ‘Younger Futhark’. The ‘Younger Futhark’ has only 16 letters, so we have used some of the runic letters more than once or combined two runes for one Roman letter.

For an excellent introduction to runes, we recommend Martin Findell’s book published by British Museum Press.

More information about how we have ‘runified’ this site


Khalid Ben Slimane, ceramic panel

© 2004 Khalid Ben Slimane

This work by Tunisian artist Ben Slimane is on a ceramic panel. He uses Arabic letters and words and this piece is written in a characteristically hurried style. It consists of the single word huwa (He) in bold, with 'Allah' (God) repeated across the panel. These words are from the beginning of chapter 112 of the Qur'an: 'Say: He is God the one and only...'.

In Sufi ceremonies (known as Zikr) phrases are chanted repeatedly. Slimane often listens to Sufi Zikr before he starts work and this is reflected in his art. The script used here is basically handwriting and not calligraphy; it has been described as 'calligraffiti'.

Ben Slimane comes from the region of Nabeul in Tunisia, a well known centre of ceramic production. He trained as an artist in Tunis and received further training in Spain and Japan.