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Famous Assyrians - Issa Benyamin

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Issa Benyamin, Calligraphist



Issa Benyamin was born in 1924 to Assyrian parents, Mirza Benyamin Kaldani and Esther in Tabriz , Iran.  While he was still an infant, his family moved to Uromia, which held the largest Assyrian population in Iran.

His father, Mirza Benyamin Kaldani, originally from Salamas, taught Issa (pronounced "eesa") to read, write and love the Assyrian language.

At 17, Issa became fascinated with the art of beautiful writing and took lessons from Bishop Havil Zaya, the Archbishop of Uromia and Salamas. Though for years to come he would spend the majority of his time actively involved in Assyrian cultural events, with his best friends: the late Dr. Ellya Mar-Youssef and the late Mr. Koorosh Benyamin, Issa continues to paint and master calligraphy.  A summary of his activities and accomplishments is as follows:

In 1948, he published an Assyrian calendar which broke the 35 year cycle of cultural inactivity among the Assyrians of Iran . The calendar was initially printed by using the stone press.

In 1950, Issa Benyamin published the biography of Mrs. Louise Ourshan who was the Principal of the most famous high-school in Tehran.

1962 was a hallmark year in Assyrian literature: Issa Benyamin  published the first ever booklet on principles of Assyrian writing.

On March 16, 1951, Issa published the Assyrian-Persian weekly of "Bright Future".

Issa Benyamin has published numerous books written by his father and Mr. Benyamin Arsanoos.

Issa Benyamin has  been an elected member of the Assyrian Society of Tehran for several years as well as an honorary member of the "Assyrian Graduate Society of Tehran".

From 1981 to 1983, Issa was the Assyrian editor of the weekly "Ishtar".

Since 1975 he has devoted  most of his time in creating more than three hundred paintings of Assyrian calligraphy which will be published in three books. He has selected ink /acrylics on genuine leather.

Issa Benyamin has so far created more than 52 Assyrian fonts which could be used in various word processors and publications' programs.

In 1993, a French magazine, "The Voice of Ink" compiled a book of calligraphy from around the world called "The Spirit of Words" which included two of Issa Benyamin's art works.

Issa Benyamin's art has been exhibited in Tehran, Chicago and San Jose.

In order to protect and publicize Issa Benyamin's precious art collection,     CalligRam, Inc. was founded by his children Ramica and Ramsin, in 1997.

In 1998, CalligRam, Inc. published the poster of "Assyrian Alphabet". This poster is a historic,  literary document which outlines the principles of Assyrian writing.

In recognition of his long standing service to the Assyrian art and literature, Issa Benyamin has been a recipient of several awards which are listed below:

  • Excellence award by "Assyrian Academic Society of Chicago" in 1991
  • Excellence award by "Ashurbanipal library in Chicago" in 1991
  • Hammurabi award by "The Assyrian Heritage Organization of Chicago" in 1992
  • Ashurbanipal award by "Assyrian American National Federation" at the 61st Assyrian National Convention in San Jose, California, 1994

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