In the United Arab Emirate of Sharjah, the Calligraphy Biennial explored the more traditional and artistic side of writing.
The biennial, which opened earlier this month, attracted artists and enthusiasts alike to discover the modern take on the writing method that was used to transcribe the Quran.
The classical section of the exhibition is dedicated to embellished verses of the Quran.
The event, now in its fifth year, had a theme to it: that of “Universe” which featured participants from Turkey, Iraq, Iran and Egypt.
Curator Khaled al-Saii pointed out that this biennial hopes to transcend borders and joins together places, styles, and media, which is showcased in the exhibition.
He added that calligraphy isn’t limited to the Arabic language and the exhibition also hosts art from China, Japan and the United States, hence the name of the theme which encompasses all modern, cultural, variations of this ancient art form.
Saudi calligrapher Jamal Essa al-Kebasi’s work is a combination of the oldest calligraphic form of script known as Kufi and the more decorated style of Jali Diwani. He showcased his unique style which he created in the form of a boat.
From a distance, Sabah Arbili’s piece looks like a giant thumbprint but the British Iraqi calligrapher also produced a fusion of traditional and contemporary.
“I still use the form of Arabic letters to express what is on my mind,” he said.
Hassan Musa is one of the artists whose calligraphy focuses on animals. The artist, who is also an illustrator for children’s books, describes his work as allegorical, using animals to portray the universal notion of human flaws.
Japanese artists showed off their artistic skills out on the streets and engaged with the locals as the event aims to promote calligraphy as a universal form of expression.
The biennial which is currently being held in the Sharjah Calligraphy Museum plans to include more workshops as well as conferences over the next two months.