UAE-based foundation explores art of colour calligraphy

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Hind Al Soulia - Riyadh - An artwork by Sheikha Khawla bint Ahmed Khalifa Al Suwaidi,. (WAM)

ABU DHABI – The Abu Dhabi-based Khawla Art and Cultural Foundation organised Monday a virtual art seminar, under the theme, “Colour Philosophy in Arabic Calligraphy.”

The seminar, attended by calligraphers, scholars and experts in Islamic art and Arabic calligraphy, was moderated by Karim Ifrak, a specialist in the history of texts.

During the seminar, Ifrak, who addressed the nature of colours, explained their related effects on manuscripts. He highlighted the need to revive Arab art, literature and culture, including the art of Arabic calligraphy, through organising cultural seminars focusing on the study of the history of Arabic calligraphy.

The Khawla Art and Cultural Foundation was founded by Sheikha Khawla bint Ahmed Khalifa al-Suwaidi, who is the wife of UAE’s National Security Adviser Sheikh Tahnoun bin Zayed Al Nahyan. The Foundation’s activities cover classic and contemporary art, literature, whether prose or classical, Arabic calligraphy (both traditional “Mawzoun” and modern) and music.

Sheikha Khawla said the seminar shows “the foundation’s keenness to promote Arabic calligraphy and showcase its beauty, as well as highlight the cultural significance of traditional heritage art, which are key components of Arab and Islamic identity.”

She also stressed the keenness of the UAE’s leadership to promote Arab cultural heritage.

SALAM YA HAWA..Words of Sheikha Khawla bint Ahmed bin Khalifa Al Suwaidi.(

Sheikha Khawla noted that the foundation’s interest in showcasing Arabic calligraphy is part of its general keenness to promote Arab art, literature and knowledge, through holding cultural lectures and workshops that aim to teach the youth accurate information about classic and modern art.

Calligraphy is the most beautiful expression of Arab Islamic culture and has captivated generations of Arab and foreign artists. From being a communication medium, it blossomed into an art form boasting approximately 80 different scripts. 

The UAE is increasingly interested in preserving and developing this art as an expression of Arabic and Islamic culture, an interest shown through efforts by cultural institutions and organisations in the country.

Among challenges facing calligraphy is poor working conditions of calligraphers in many Arab countries, where few calligraphers can earn a living solely from their work.  Most of them must have other jobs to buy the necessary tools and make ends meet.

Fast-paced technological developments that have allowed machines to be in competition with humans in producing calligraphic works create other challenges.

Technology offers new vistas for calligraphy by helping the evolution and development of the art. However, some developments are considered a threat to calligraphers who are wary of technology capable of producing calligraphic works.

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