(MENAFN- APCO Worldwide) DUBAI, United Arab Emirates: December 26, 2021 – The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia pavilion at Expo 2020 Dubai highlights the art of Arabic calligraphy after the recent decision by the United Nations United for Education, Science and Culture (UNESCO) to add it to its list of “Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity”.
The Saudi-led campaign saw the Kingdom join forces with 15 other Muslim-majority countries to bid for UNESCO. The ancient practice of handwriting played a key role in the spread of Islam and forms the cornerstone of pan-Arab identity. Although the art form is not necessarily fully understood by the rest of the world, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia Pavilion has set out to change that through a series of programs designed to engage visitors.
There were a number of outstanding performances from Saudi designers. Contemporary artist Hind Al Ghamdi took Expo visitors on an exciting journey exploring the beauty of Arabic calligraphy through workshops held in the open plaza. This included a basic introduction to understanding the Arabic alphabet, distinctive shapes, and calligraphy tools. The activities also allowed visitors to learn how to write their own name using Arabic calligraphy.
The Open Square also hosted a unique show with renowned Jeddah-based artist Shaker Kashgari, known for his unusual use of photography to showcase light calligraphy, whose performance took the audience on an uplifting journey. .
Another highlight was that of Mohammed Alrabea, a calligrapher based in the eastern region of Saudi Arabia, who created a unique virtual exhibition showcasing the history of Arabic calligraphy using VR technology.
Hussain Hanbazazah, Commissioner General of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia Pavilion, said, “It has been extremely rewarding to share the rich tradition of Arabic calligraphy with visitors to the Saudi Arabia Pavilion. These special activities build on the Year of Calligraphy in Saudi Arabia and offer people the opportunity to learn about the past, present and future of an ancient but evolving practice that remains relevant in the 21st century.
The Kingdom is investing heavily in its cultural sectors, which form an important part of Saudi Arabia’s national transformation plan, Vision 2030, to diversify its economy, generate growth and create opportunities, especially for young Saudis. With over 34 million people, Saudi Arabia has 13 regions each with unique dialects, traditions and heritage.
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