Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Crowd-drawer: Arabic calligraphy exhibit welcomes 380,000 visitors

The annual 8th Dubai International Arabic Calligraphy Exhibition, held under the patronage of H.H. Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai and Chairman of Dubai Executive Council, welcomed over 380,000 visitors, with nearly 80 per cent of calligraphy works on display purchased by art-enthusiasts.

Vice President and Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, visited the exhibition and expressed his satisfaction with its contribution to establishing Dubai as a global hub for culture, according to the Dubai Culture and Arts Authority (Dubai Culture), which says that through the exhibition, the Dubai Culture has further underlined the support of His Highness to all cultural activities that celebrates the Arabic language and promotes it among the young generation.

In honour of supporting Emirati artists, H.H. Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, expressed interest in obtaining local artistic pieces to shed the light on the importance of heritage and culture in the city.

Inaugurated by Sheikh Nahyan bin Mubarak Al Nahyan, UAE Minister of Culture, Youth and Community Development, the Dubai International Arabic Calligraphy Exhibition, held at Wafi Mall, was also one of the main highlights of the second Dubai Art Season, the city’s umbrella arts initiative organised by Dubai Culture.

Earning appreciation as the most outstanding calligraphy exhibition in the city to date, the event was highlighted by the participation of over 50 calligraphy artists including classicists and modernists along with 500 people who participated in the workshops, thus presenting the diversity, evolution and trends in this highly accomplished art form.

Over 70 workshops and seminars were held as part of the event that showcased the myriad facets of Arabic calligraphy, and its various forms of expression, styles and historical and social context. The workshops aimed to reinforce the art of using modern design and challenging the artform of calligraphy to go beyond its usual classical expression and to bring it closer to the modern artforms of Islamic and Arab communities of today. This ensures that calligraphy reaches the largest possible audience, in various international cultures, while protecting its true classical nature.

Abdul Rahman Al Owais, UAE Minister of Health and Chairman of the Dubai Culture and Arts Authority, said: "Dubai Culture is committed to fulfilling the vision of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, UAE Vice President and Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai, to reinforcing the importance of Arabic language and enhancing its usage in various fields. The exhibition highlighted the richness and splendour of Arabic calligraphy, an art form that is an integral part of the Arabian heritage.

"We are delighted with the outstanding interest to the exhibition, which provided unique insights into classical and modern calligraphy. The workshops that were held enabled the participants to gain a clearer perspective of the aesthetics and heritage of Arabic calligraphy. The event also contributed to inspiring a new generation of artists in this compelling artform that celebrates the aesthetic marvel of the Arabic language."

Among the highlights of the annual exhibition was the display of a part of the exceptional, modern calligraphic collection owned by His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum and sections of the Holy Quran of King Hussein bin Talal with engravings in Mamluk Islamic style calligraphy, which was showcased in coordination with Tiba traditional Islamic Book Arts in Jordan.

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