Words and images: scheme of work

The activities outlined below can either be used together to form a unit of work or as a series of discrete activities enabling the theme to be explored in greater depth.

With reference to historic objects and contemporary art from the Arab world and Middle East, students will explore the theme of words and images.

Art project by a student from Winchmore school


Discover the Arab World image cards - Words and images: pdf (365 kb)
- Pages from the Qur’an (This card contains religious text. Please ask your students to treat it with respect)
- Page from The Wonders of Creation and the Oddities of Existence
- Astrolabe quadrant
- Page from De Materia Medica in Arabic
- Jar (albarello) with lustre decoration
- Appliqué hanging from the doorway of a tent
- Oriental scene
- Mural
- Mosque lamp

The Arabic script: pdf (95 kb)
Website of artist Athier Mousawi
See the further resources section for other useful websites and support materials

Materials: pencils, charcoal, coloured pencils, ink, paint, card, clay


In this unit, students will:

  • create an imaginative artwork that incorporates words and images based on the work of artist Athier Mousawi
  • learn how Arabic script has been used in the past and in the work of contemporary artists from the Arab world
  • make comparisons between Arabic calligraphy and the practice in other cultures


Using the information on the Pages from the Qur’an image card, briefly introduce the Arabic language and script, and explain the importance of calligraphy among Muslims. Project a range of object images from the Discover the Arab World resources to illustrate the use of Arabic on historic objects and in the work of contemporary artists. Ask the students to identify and note down the similarities and differences of the use and form of writing on the different object types.

You could also use the Word into Art exhibition online tour to highlight the diverse ways in which Arabic writing has been used in different media by contemporary artists.

Introduce the unit task – students are to create an imaginative artwork that incorporates words and images based on the work of artist Athier Mousawi.

Activity 1

Ask the students to study closely the Arabic letterforms illustrated in the Discover the Arab World resources. Working from right to left, they should use these to help them sketch and paint the Arabic letters that make up their own names. They should experiment with different scales.

Activity 2

Ask the class to use the internet to research different types of letterforms from different written languages. Again, the students should make studies of their names using the different styles. This experimentation could be extended by choosing letterforms from newspapers and magazines, packaging and advertisements. They could use these letterforms to create imaginative collages.

Activity 3

Introduce the students to the graphic work of Athier Mousawi. Discuss his individual graphic style and his animations that build slowly from a single line or phrase. Ask the students to use the letters of their name to develop an illustrated design that incorporates personal images in their letterforms.

Activity 4

Demonstrate how the letterforms can be scanned into the computer and further developed by overlaying personal images. Ask the students to try this out.

Activity 5

Demonstrate to the students how to use stop-motion animation techniques to develop a sequence of images that can be made into a short film. Students should complete their own animation that captures the sequence of creating their letters.


Once they have completed the work, the students should write up and evaluate the process, explaining the significance of their words and images piece.