Saudi Ministry of Culture launched the second edition of the Scripts and Calligraphy Exhibition
Open to the public, the exhibition explores the spiritual dimension of calligraphy in the Arab and Islamic world, featuring stunning works from master calligraphers
The Scripts and Calligraphy Exhibition further builds on Saudi Arabia’s efforts to preserve Arabic calligraphy as a treasured aspect of the Kingdom’s identity and cultural heritage
Saudi Ministry of Culture launched the second edition of the Scripts and Calligraphy exhibition at the Irqah Hospital in Riyadh, in a ceremony attended by distinguished figures from the art and culture world. This year’s edition, held under the theme ‘Paths to the Soul,’ explores the spiritual dimension of calligraphy and its contribution to the Arab and Islamic world, through a captivating collection of historical, classical, and contemporary artworks.
For the second edition of the exhibition, the Saudi Ministry of Culture is featuring numerous commissioned works from local, regional, and international master calligraphers, as well as artists and designers, to create a unique collection of artworks curated thematically. The curation of the artworks was undertaken with guidance from a Steering Committee comprising leading experts from around the world in the fields of calligraphy, Islamic art, poetry, and design.
In a space designed by acclaimed architects and scenographers, Jean-Paul Boulanger, Margo Renisio and Tang Tu, the exhibition features works from thirty-four calligraphers and contemporary artists from twelve countries, including sixteen from Saudi Arabia.
Alongside calligraphic artworks, the exhibition will showcase a range of Islamic art and treasured manuscripts, as well as unique pieces lent from the Museum of the Institut du Monde Arabe in Paris, the National Heritage Institute in Tunis, and various other works from private collectors across the region.
The exhibition is divided into four complementary subthemes: “Light, Letter, Space, and Poetry”. These subthemes shed light on the spirituality that infuses both the reflection and techniques of the calligrapher, artist, and designer, as well as the emotion that Arabic calligraphy arouses in those who read and contemplate it. The notions of light, letter,space, andpoetry aim to embody universal and spiritual values that frame the works on display, grouping them together to spark an instructive dialogue. Throughout the exhibition, Arabic script and calligraphy play a central role as the binding agent of disparate objects, from different time periods and of diverse nature.
The first three days of the exhibition are accompanied by a symposium, open to the public, that explores the different dimensions of Arabic calligraphy with a line-up of acclaimed artists and experts. Panel discussions will explore the development of the Arabic script, the spiritual dimension of calligraphy, the relationship between aesthetics and calligraphy in Arab Islamic civilisation, and the use of calligraphy in architectural design.
The Saudi Ministry of Culture is committed to preserving Arabic calligraphy as a treasured aspect of the Kingdom’s identity and cultural heritage, and as a unique artistic practice. In recognition of this distinctive tradition, the Ministry of Culture has launched several programs and initiatives to celebrate its significance, including the designation of the year 2020 as the Year of Arabic Calligraphy. In addition, Saudi Arabia led a successful collaboration with fifteen Arab countries to inscribe Arabic calligraphy on UNESCO’s Intangible Cultural Heritage list, consolidating its status as a global symbol of Arab culture.
The exhibition will be held in Riyadh from 11 June to 2 September 2023 at the Irqah Hospital and will then move to Medina from 15 October to 23 December 2023 at the Madina Arts Center.