One of the artworks on display at the ongoing ‘Calligraphy Redefined: A Perspective in Play’ exhibition at DIFC. Image Credit: Supplied

Dubai: Dubai Culture and Arts Authority (Dubai Culture) is presenting a series of innovative artworks that highlight the modernity of calligraphy at the ‘Calligraphy Redefined: A Perspective in Play’ exhibition. This is to be hosted at the AWC Gallery in Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC) at Gate Avenue, as part of the inaugural Dubai Calligraphy Biennale, held under the patronage of Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai and Chairman of the Executive Council of Dubai, until October 31.

The ‘Calligraphy Redefined: A Perspective in Play’ exhibition comes within the context of Dubai Culture’s commitments aimed at creating various platforms to empower talent and motivate them to display their calligraphy-inspired works. This contributes to strengthening Dubai’s cultural and creative industries, in line with Dubai’s cultural vision aimed at positioning the emirate as a global centre for culture, an incubator for creativity, and a thriving hub for talent.

DIFC’s hosting of the ‘Calligraphy Redefined: A Perspective in Play’ exhibition reaffirms its longstanding position as a leading destination of art and culture and forms part of a wider series of cultural events at DIFC, including the 16th edition of Art Nights, which will take place on November 23 and 24.

DIFC’s Gate Avenue will also host a variety of interactive workshops during the exhibition, targeting all ages, during which visitors are taught methods of creating works of art using traditional and contemporary typography and calligraphy, in addition to enabling them to explore the appeal of visual arts, handicrafts, interactive games, and how to create 3D artwork using thread and fabric.

Transformations of calligraphy

The exhibition presents 22 creative works made by 11 artists from around the world, through which they seek to highlight the transformations of calligraphy and its ability to transcend traditional forms of writing styles, in addition to exploring the attractiveness of words and their interaction with movement.

Through his ‘East Breeze’ art collection, which includes three sculptures, Jassim Al Awadhi seeks to embody the essence of Arabic calligraphy with a modern visual vision, while artist Hamid Toulei Fard, through his artwork ‘Complexity’ tries to find the serenity and profound meaning of the word ‘Hu’ that symbolises the potential for finding inner peace.

Orkhan Mammadov employs artificial intelligence in his artwork ‘Whispering Scripts - Echoes of Arabic Calligraphy’ to capture the intricate aesthetics of calligraphy present in historical manuscripts, architectural engravings, and patterned fabrications. The artwork ‘Deep Ocean Layers’ by Ismail Abdul Rahman presents a three-dimensional abstract masterpiece that skillfully embodies the essence of Arabic script in a futuristic and universally appealing way. Meanwhile, Mahmoud Dayoub introduces ‘Joy of the World,’ which explores the concept of repetition to offer a fresh perspective for treating the different canvas surfaces. Azza Al Qubaisi’s sculpture, ‘Wings of Wisdom’, embodies Emirati culture by symbolising the falcon’s and Houbara’s movement with spiral twists, showcasing the creator’s fascination with calligraphy.

Inspiration from a poem

Artist Abbas Youssef presents his artwork ‘I Was Dreaming,’ drawing inspiration from the poem ‘Mural’ by the late Palestinian poet Mahmoud Darwish. He seeks to strike a harmonious balance between the classical and contemporary aspects of calligraphy. Moza Al Falasi explores the concept of presence and absence in her series ‘Letters to the Lost,’ using layers of discarded objects and everyday materials.

‘The Letters Collection’ series by Amir Hossein Jabbary, which he began designing and implementing in 2018, shows the legacy forms of calligraphy, as he displays them in modern shapes and tones. Artist Joseph El Hourany unveils ‘Basmalah,’ a wooden sculpture inscribed with Kufic script. Abd elMalik Nounouhi delves into the intricacies of our connection with the world in his piece ‘Resonance ‘Earth Sonata,’’ probing into our influence on Earth, its sustainability, and progress. In his second work, ‘Echo ‘Life Sonata,’’ he emphasizes the perpetual movement and ever-changing nature of echoes.

On the sidelines of the exhibition, DIFC Gate Avenue witnesses the presentation of the visual masterpiece ‘Kalimat’ created by the artist Alia Al Sanad, who designed the work as faux animation. Through it, she aims to convey the nature and dynamism of the art of calligraphy, in addition to highlighting how this art develops and its various capabilities for transformation.

Boccara Gallery, located in DIFC Gate Avenue, is hosting a solo exhibition by Lebanese calligrapher Ghaleb Hawila, who aims through his artworks to bridge the gap between the past and the future, showcasing the timelessness and versatility of calligraphy as an art form.

The exhibition features a diverse range of Hawila’s works, each representing his distinct style and vision, giving visitors the opportunity to explore the intricate details of his calligraphic compositions, as well as gain insight into the artist’s creative process and inspirations. Hawila also crafted an artwork live at the gallery, inviting viewers to witness his creative process. Through this, he aimed to underscore the significance of skill, precision, and innovation in the medium.

The inaugural edition of Dubai Calligraphy Biennale is supported by Al Rostamani Group (Lead Supporter) and Sandooq Al Watan (Supporter), and is being held in partnership with a variety of entities in the local cultural scene, including: Dubai Design District (D3), The Cultural and Scientific Association, Mohammed bin Rashid Library, Expo City Dubai, DIFC Gate Avenue, Museum of the Future, Sultan Bin Ali Al Owais Cultural Foundation, Juma Al-Majid Centre, Dubai’s Department of Economy and Tourism, Dubai Media Office, Dubai Municipality, Alserkal Avenue, Art Dubai, Women’s Museum, Tashkeel, Art Jameel, Mattar Bin Lahej Gallery, Boccara Gallery, Foundry, Khawla Art Gallery, Firetti Gallery, Efie Gallery, BEDU, AWC Gallery, Hobb Bookstore, Opera Gallery, Mondoir Art Gallery, thejamjar, Medaf, Mirzam, Kalimat, Slay Café, Frame Café, 3IXAM, Huawei, and Level Shoes.