Inaugural Dubai Calligraphy Biennale opens doors in October with dynamic programme - GulfToday

Inaugural Dubai Calligraphy Biennale opens doors in October with dynamic programme

The Museum of the Future is one of the sites of the biennial.

Muhammad Yusuf, Features Writer

Dubai Culture and Arts Authority (Dubai Culture) has revealed the schedule of activities and workshops for the inaugural edition of Dubai Calligraphy Biennale (October 1 – 31), with the participation and support of over 200 local and international artists. The biennale will highlight the art of calligraphy, its beauty, and its role in enhancing communication between cultures.

“The programme comes within the framework of the Authority’s commitments to creating a sustainable creative ecosystem that empowers creative talent and motivates them to develop their skills and display their calligraphy-inspired artistic works,” say biennale organisers. The Biennale’s programming will include 150+ workshops and 25+ talks alongside 19 exhibitions, activating more than 30 locations that will showcase calligraphy masterpieces as well as contemporary and modern visual arts.

Etihad Museum will be one of the cultural hotspots during the course of the biennale. Concurrently, the 11th edition of the Dubai International Arabic Calligraphy Exhibition will also grace this space, showcasing over 75 diverse artworks crafted by approximately 50 calligraphers and artists from 17 different countries. The museum will be a hub for a wide array of workshops that explore Thuluth, Naskh, Kufi, Ruq’a and Muhaqqiq scripts, alongside other traditional Arabic fonts. Participants can attend a group of workshops hosted by Tashkeel at Al Safa Art and Design Library, during which they will learn about collage techniques, lettering, and methods of mixing words from different languages to produce creative works, in addition to Japanese bookbinding methods and the use of pencils, ballpoint and coloured pens.

 Many activities of the biennial will be held in Etihad Museum.


Al Jalila Cultural Centre for Children enables visitors to get acquainted with embroidery arts, the basics of making handmade pottery, the origins and foundations of ornamentation, the process of writing letters and connecting them using different artistic methods, and how to design and create animation. Simultaneously, the School of Life programme in October will be held under the theme ‘Beauty of Calligraphy’. It features an array of workshops designed to empower participants and hone their creative skills in the medium.

Attendees will have the opportunity to explore the creative dimensions of Arabic, Japanese and English calligraphy, and venture into the world of vibrancy and precision inherent in drawing, composing words and connecting letters. Furthermore, they will look at the art of manga, and learn techniques involving pottery and beads to craft diverse artworks. This year’s Reading Box will also host three workshops on calligraphy in celebration of the biennale’s inaugural edition.Visitors to Umm Suqeim Library can participate in a creative writing project focused on enhancing their abilities in employing rhetorical expressions.

 Biennial workshops will be held in the Mohammed bin Rashid Library.


The project will help people gain insights into the principles and components of creative writing and learn to critique texts. At DIFC Gate Avenue, a series of workshops will cater to all age groups, teaching them the intricacies of crafting diverse artworks through traditional and contemporary typography and calligraphy. Participants will investigate visual arts, crafts, interactive games, and the techniques for creating 3D artwork using threads and fabric.

At Dubai Design District, the biennale provides advanced courses in various arts, including traditional craftsmanship from the UAE brought by artist Sheikha Alserkal, while artists Noura Alserkal and Azza Al Qubaisi reveal the secrets of jewellery-making and Islamic ornamentation.Other workshops will also be held by Medaf, Lablicious and thejamjar, to provide visitors the chance to discover mixed media compositions. They will teach the audience how to use letters and images to create experimental works of art.

 Expo City Dubai is one of the venues of the biennial.


Participants in Expo City Dubai’s school programme and mid-term camp will be treated to a series of interactive and educational workshops organised during the biennale that highlight the aesthetics of contemporary and traditional calligraphy, typography and mixed media techniques, while Al Shindagha Museum will host a journey through Egypt’s ancient history and culture, to unveil the secrets and arts of hieroglyphic writing, its complex symbols, and its role in inter-cultural communication.

At Mohammed bin Rashid Library, artists Yoshimi Fujii, Dr Antoine Abi Aad, Zena Adhami and Alanood Bukhammas, will offer workshops that celebrate classical and contemporary Arabic typography and Japanese calligraphy, while visitors to the Museum of the Future will be able to explore the intersection of tradition and calligraphic innovation, and the ways artists interact with different materials. Meanwhile, Alserkal Avenue comes alive with the world of language and storytelling sessions through the biennale’s engaging creative experiences led by artists Mark Nashed, Azra Khamissa, Amal Alsaadi, Anood Alkhoory, Latifa Al Hammadi, Meera Yaqoub and Mryam Anwahi.

Slay Cafe is hosting a series of workshops and masterclasses dealing with the art of Arabic calligraphy painting and the Al-Wissam and Al Diwani scripts. Efie Gallery has a session titled ‘Dialogue on African Writing Systems’ and a workshop on up-cycled bookbinding.

The inaugural edition of Dubai Calligraphy Biennale is supported by Al Rostamani Group (Lead Supporter) and Sandooq Al Watan (Supporter), and is being held in partnership with a variety of entities of the local cultural scene, including Dubai Design District (D3), The Cultural and Scientific Association, Mohammed bin Rashid Library, Expo City Dubai, DIFC Gate Avenue, Sultan Bin Ali Al Owais Cultural Foundation, Juma Al-Majid Center, Dubai’s Department of Economy and Tourism, Dubai Media Office, Dubai Municipality, Alserkal Avenue, Art Dubai, Women’s Museum, Tashkeel, Art Jameel, Mattar Bin Lahej Gallery, Boccara Gallery, Foundry, Khawla Art Gallery, Firetti Gallery, Efie Gallery, BEDU, AWC Gallery, Hobb Bookstore, Opera Gallery, Mondoir Art Gallery, thejamjar, Medaf, Mirzam, Kalimat, Slay Cafe, Frame Cafe, 3IXAM, Huawei and Level Shoes. 




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