Photo essay: Arabic calligraphy thrives at the heart of the Abu Dhabi Cultural Foundation

Mohamed Mandi is helping to nurture tradition through the use of visual art

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Bait Al Khatt is a dedicated space for Arabic calligraphy. Its home is the Abu Dhabi Cultural Foundation, which was founded in 1981 and is set on the capital's oldest historical site, Qasr Al Hosn.

In addition to its history, the site offers numerous workshops, events and classes, including one on traditional Arabic calligraphy. It is open to residents and visitors and led by artist and calligrapher Mohamed Mandi. The centre provides comprehensive training from A to Z for each chosen calligraphy type, which typically consists of 12 lessons.

“Teaching calligraphy benefits the instructor as it helps to reinforce the rules of calligraphy and spreads awareness about the practice of calligraphy art," Mandi, an Emirati teacher at Cultural Foundation Qasr Al Hosn for Calligraphy, tells The National.

"The goal is to ensure that calligraphy is preserved and practised in the Arab world, because it originally originated from this region. Crucially, there needs to be collaboration between the Ministry of Education and the Department of Culture and Tourism to introduce calligraphy education to the new generation."

The programme is open to beginners, intermediates and even professionals, and combines theoretical and practical learning to foster the growth of Arabic calligraphy.

“Unfortunately, there are no longer writing classes, calligraphy pencils, or chalkboards in schools. It is my hope that a dedicated effort will be made to inspire a new generation interested in this refined art form," Mandisays.

“The calligrapher must rely on three fundamental elements: love for the art, patience, and consistent practice."

Updated: October 07, 2023, 5:44 AM