Sharjah hosts modern Arabic calligraphy exhibition

SHARJAH, 29th March, 2018 (WAM) — The Sharjah Museum of Islamic Civilization unveiled on Wednesday its latest exhibition, “Beyond the Letter: Modern Arabic Calligraphy from the collection of Islamic Arts Museum Malaysia, IAMM” that coincides with the Sharjah Calligraphy Biennial and runs until June 23rd.

Syed Mohammed Hasrin Aidid, Ambassador of Malaysia to the UAE, and his wife Dr Heba Nayel Barakat, Head of Curatorial Affairs at IAMM, and Manal Ataya, Director General of Sharjah Museums Authority, opened the exhibition alongside a number of VIP guests.

IAMM’s collection includes pieces by some of the most prominent artists working in the field of Arabic calligraphy, from both regional Islamic cultural centres, such as Iran and Egypt, as well as works by calligraphers from as far afield as Japan and Malaysia.

‘Beyond the Letter’ features works by celebrated Iranian calligraphy artists – a list of talent that includes Mohsen Daeinabi, Maryam Ghanbarian, Ebrahim Olfat as well as Ali Jamshidi and Ali Shirazi. Collectively, this group has won a raft of honours and global prizes, and their works have been displayed in exhibitions and art museums across the world.

Egypt-born fine artist Ahmed Moustafa, currently lives and works in London, but his exhibitions have touched audiences in the UAE, France, the UK and Switzerland. His portfolio has also featured in private and public collections in the British Museum, London; the Ashmolean Museum, Oxford; the Museum of Modern Arts, Alexandria, Egypt; the National Museum of Scotland, Edinburgh; and the Pontificia Universitas Gregoriana at The Vatican in Rome.

Japan is not usually a country associated with Islamic arts, but Fuad Kouichi Honda has spent many years perfecting his calligraphy. A graduate of Tokyo University of Foreign Studies in 1969, Honda was chosen as one of the top five contemporary Arabic calligraphers at a Kuwaiti Government festival and holds an ijaza awarded by Turkish master calligrapher Hassan Chelebi.

Inspired by his father at a young age, Malaysian Ahmad Dhiya’ bin Abdul Ghafur is the youngest artist featured in the exhibition. A self-taught calligrapher, he has studied the classical script forms of Kufic, Naskh, Thuluth, Riqa’, Nastaliq and Divani. As well as collaborating with local artists, his works have been displayed at the Eid Festival in Sydney, Australia.

The “Beyond the Letter” exhibit is the second successful collaboration between the Sharjah Museums Authority and IAMM. The two museums previously worked together on the “Rhythm and Verse – Persian Calligraphy” exhibit in 2016.

IAMM is home to around 10,000 artefacts including important works of calligraphy by artists from across the Middle East and Asia.

This new exhibit is a fantastic opportunity for art lovers to see some of the museum’s finest pieces, some of which are on display in the UAE for the first time.

Manal Ataya said, “The Sharjah Museums Authority is delighted to be working so closely with colleagues from the IAMM once again. “Beyond the Letter” represents our shared love and respect for the contributions of talented calligraphers from all around the world that are working today.”


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