In 1960, Mohamed Zakariya began working as a machinist in a small Los Angeles factory catering to the aerospace industry. During this period, he refined his interest in the Islamic religion’s art and culture and began informal studies of the Arabic language and Islamic calligraphy. A man of varied interests, his work and studies took him to Morocco, Europe, and England, where he studied Islamic manuscripts at the British Museum. Zakariya returned to the United States in 1967 and worked with the antiquarian impresario Oscar Meyer, for whom he crafted a variety of instruments from the history of science, as well as other artistic constructs. In the early 1970s, he moved to Virginia, where he found a wife, some cats, and a home.
In 1984 Zakariya went to Istanbul at the invitation of the Research Center for Islamic History, Art, and Culture to study Arabic-script calligraphy with two Turkish masters. He subsequently received icazets in Sulus/Nesih scripts from Hasan Celebi, in 1988, and in Talik script from the late Ali Alparslan, in 1997. Since then, he has pursued the calligraphic life at home and abroad, concentrating primarily on calligraphy in classical Arabic and Ottoman Turkish. He has had numerous exhibitions and fulfilled many commissions and teaches the art to a circle of serious students. From 2004 to 2012, Zakariya was a member of the Joint Advisory Board, Virginia Commonwealth University School of the Arts in Qatar. He was awarded an HonoraryDoctorate of Humane Letters by the university in 2012. His work may be seen at www.MohamedZakariya.org