Arabic calligraphy

Sharjah Museum offers free Arabic calligraphy lessons

The Sharjah Calligraphy Museum has been promoting the art of Arabic calligraphy through free courses to the public since its opening in 2002.

This year, the museum is holding a month-long course that started on May 9. It offers hands-on experience of the types of ornamentation and techniques used in calligraphic work.

Every Monday and Wednesday, people learn the practice and implementation methods of Diwani script, a formal calligraphy style of the Ottoman court that was developed between the 16th and early 17th centuries.

The script expanded further to include the Riq’a Diwani and Jeli Diwani styles.

The first has no decorations and the lines are straight except for the lower parts of the letters.

The Jeli Diwani, or clear style, has intertwined letters and straight lines from top to bottom.

“Calligraphy is a unique art that distinguishes Arab nations from the rest of the world and certainly deserves the attention given to it by the government of Sharjah,” said Shaher Al Taref, a professor and calligrapher at the Sharjah Department of Culture.

Mr Al Taref said it was important to promote calligraphy due to the lack of representation of the Arabic language in modern technological tools.

“No matter how advanced the technology may be, we cannot give up the human hand to produce creative works, including masterpieces from letters,” he said.

“For us, as calligraphers, each Arabic letter is a letter that has a soul and unique characteristics that allow calligraphers to employ their own styles.”

Mr. Al Taref holds a degree in calligraphy from the Institute of Fine and Applied Arts in Syria.

“I’ve taught two other classes in previous years, one of which was online,” he said.

The Sharjah Calligraphy Museum, which is part of the Sharjah Museums Authority, runs two courses every year.

Residents of countries such as Arab countries, Afghanistan, India, Bangladesh and Pakistan have participated in training courses over the years.

Sister and brother Haseena and Abdullah Salehi from Afghanistan registered for the course for the first time.

Both have loved calligraphy since childhood.

“I’ve always loved Arabic calligraphy, but I didn’t have the time or the opportunity to take specialized courses until now,” said Haseena, 25, a cost control manager at a Ajman.

She takes two hours off work to attend the course.

“I have to stay in the office after hours to make up time for the course, but it’s a fair price for me because it means I’m learning what I love,” she said. declared.

His brother Abdullah, 20, tried to convince his friends to join him in the course.

“They will start next week,” he said.

He said he knows the basics and has learned how Arabic calligraphy styles differ from each other.

A Yemeni father of six, Yassir Al Saadi, 41, tried to share his passion for Arabic calligraphy with his children.

“None of them wanted to come but that didn’t put me off and I come from Dubai for that,” he said.

Mr. Al Saadi, a technician at the Dubai Media Corporation, said calligraphy is an art rather than a form of writing. This is his second class at the museum.

“The first was almost three years ago and taught participants the Al Thuluth script. These are unmissable opportunities for me that teach me what I love while preserving a distinctive artistry,” he said. -he declares.

Eman Yousef, 37, from Egypt, whose mother is a calligrapher, comes from Al Qudra district in Dubai to take the course.

“I attended other art and calligraphy courses that were previously organized by the Sharjah Museums Authority,” she said.

She said art and calligraphy go hand in hand.

“You can make captivating paintings using letters,” she said. “It’s even become a trend with many celebrities like Angelina Jolie using Arabic calligraphy in their tattoos.”

Located in the house of Hamad Al Midfa in the heart of Sharjah, the museum features paintings by local and international artists and calligraphers.

Exhibits include early 18th century Ottoman silver pen cases and inkwells which were presented to the museum by the ruler of Sharjah, Sheikh Dr Sultan bin Muhammad Al Qasimi.

The museum also offers exhibitions and programs accessible to all.

In May 2020, a month-long course was organized by the museum which taught 30 prisoners the basics of Al Roka and Al Diwani Arabic writing styles.

Updated: May 13, 2022, 05:08

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