London: The Sharjah Department of Culture (SDC) organised a series of interactive workshops, led by Emirati calligrapher Khalid Al Jallaf, to introduce the beauty and history of Arabic calligraphy to visitors at the 49th edition of London Book Fair.
Al Jallaf highlighted the history of Arabic calligraphy in the golden period of the Islamic era and how interest in the art waned at the beginning of the 20th century until the UAE and Sharjah invested and rekindled interest in the ancient art form after the country’s formation.
Al Jallaf said Sharjah’s interest in Arabic calligraphy under the leadership and support of His Highness Sheikh Dr. Sultan bin Muhammad Al Qasimi, Supreme Council Member and Ruler of Sharjah, is part of a massive cultural project. He noted that the emirate was the first in the region to establish a dedicated museum for Arabic calligraphy and organise various events and initiatives that made it a preferred destination for calligraphers.
He said: “The interest of Sharjah and the UAE in Arabic calligraphy throughout history shows the amount of care and support provided by His Highness the Ruler of Sharjah, who passed a decree to honour calligraphers and preserve their work, not only in the country but in the region and the world.”
Well-received by visitors
The session ‘The New Rise of Arabic Calligraphy Under the Care of HH Sheikh Dr Sultan Al Qasimi’ and other interactive workshops were well-received by visitors. Abdullah Mohammed Al Owais, SDC chairman, said: “Sharjah’s participation emphasises the need for building cultural bridges through networking between Emirati and Arab authors, intellectuals and artists.”
“SDC in particular focused on highlighting the beauty and history of Arabic calligraphy as well as the emirate’s efforts to support the art form. It showed how Sharjah utilises culture as a bridge between people and countries of the world,” he added.
Promotion of Arabic language
The Arabic Language Academy (ALA) in Sharjah also showcased “the Historical Corpus of Arabic Language” at LBF, where Sharjah was celebrated as Market Focus.
The first 17 volumes of the Corpus, which have already been launched, were displayed in Sharjah’s Market Focus pavilion. The Corpus is part of Sharjah’s integrated cultural project, and shows the emirate’s commitment to collaborate with Arabic language academies from across the Arab world.
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The Historical Corpus of the Arabic Language is the first-of-its kind project to chronicle 17 centuries of development in the Arabic language and provides vital information about the history of Arabic lexicon. The website dedicated to the Historical Corpus offers scholars, linguists, researchers and language enthusiasts from anywhere in the world access to thousands of books, manuscripts and resources, some of which are available online for the first time.