1024 GMT May 24, 2022
Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Yemen and Algeria held celebrations to mark UNESCO’s International Day of Islamic Art (November 18).
The Saudi Ministry of Culture hosted the first Islamic Art Biennale at the Islamic Museum in Riyadh to mark the day.
The day aims to raise awareness about the art of Islam and its contribution to culture and civilization. The ministry is working with the Islamic World Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization to produce the biennale, wrote arabnews.com.
Islamic art is not restricted to religious art — it includes the art of the rich and varied cultures of Islamic societies throughout history. It is a complex art to define because it spans over 1,400 years, covering many lands and populations, and is not restricted to a single medium. Instead, Islamic art covers a range of artistic fields, including architecture, calligraphy, painting, glass, ceramics and textiles.
Last year, Saudi Ministry of Culture designated 2021 as the Year of Arabic Calligraphy in appreciation of its importance in expressing the Arabic language's historic significance. The ministry has launched “The Calligrapher Platform,” an electronic platform to teach Arabic calligraphy and Islamic ornamentation with the support of the Quality of Life Program.
Following the setting up of the Diriyah Biennale Foundation last year, the first Diriyah Contemporary Art Biennale will host international artists from Dec. 11 to March 11 in Diriyah’s Jax neighborhood.
In Pakistan, Lahore Arts Council (LAC) organised a splendid exhibition at Alhamra Art Gallery.
LAC Executive Director Ijaz Ahmad Minhas, famous calligrapher Irfan Qureshi, Director of the Cultural Center of the Islamic Republic of Iran, or Khana-e-Farhang in Pakistan’s Lahore, Jafar Ronas, Director of Turkish Cultural Centre Olash Ertaash and others jointly inaugurated the exhibition.
Ijaz Ahmad Minhas said the exhibition reflected the great Islamic cultural heritage, adding that Alhamra strives in all aspects to promote Islamic art. He said that Alhamra had always supported efforts to promote Islamic civilisation, culture, arts, heritage, calligraphy and other essential references worldwide.
The exhibition will continue till November 23.
Alegria’s Minister of Culture and Arts Wafaa Chaalal, at Moufdi Zakaria Palace of Culture in Algiers, kicked off the celebration of the International Day of Islamic Art, declared by UNESCO in 2019.
In the UAE, the University of Sharjah (UoS) held an international forum entitled: ‘Rethinking the Future of Islamic Arts and Heritage,’ organized by the Regional Office for the Conservation of Cultural Heritage in the Arab States (ICCROM-Sharjah), within the framework of its periodic program of the "Arab Forum for Cultural Heritage" and the Sharjah International Foundation for the History of Muslim and Arab Sciences at the University of Sharjah, as part of the activities of its annual international scientific forum.
The forum focused on a number of themes, including the role of Islamic artistic legacy in bridging times and geographies, converging cultures, and promoting inter-cultural dialogue, wrote sharjah24.ae.
According to arabnews.com, Director General of the Islamic World Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization Salem bin Mohammed al-Malik, and the Director of the Oxford Center for Islamic Studies in Britain Farhan Nizami signed a memorandum of understanding to promote and develop cooperation in the fields of education, science and culture.
The agreement provided for working to meet the educational needs of younger generations in Islamic societies, developing cooperation in health fields, and enhancing ISESCO’s participation in the programs of young Islamic leaders organized annually in partnership with Prince Charles’s charitable foundation, to contribute to promoting a correct understanding of Islamic civilization across the world.
The two also discussed proposed practical programs and activities for building youth capacity, developing scientific research, enhancing the use of modern technology, and working to offer students from the Islamic world scholarships to Oxford University.
In Yemen, Yemeni calligrapher Zaki al-Hashimi is working on a project to handwrite a copy of the Qur’an in the Arabic-language Naskh font.
For al-Hashimi, Arabic calligraphy is one of the Islamic arts that carries a distinct trait, yenisafak.com wrote.