The Art of Calligraphy: Exhibition, Lectures and Training Sessions organized at the Centre for Arts and Humanities, American University of Beirut, 13-17 March 2017
A series of activities on the arts of calligraphy and gilding were organized jointly by IRCICA and the Center for Arts and Humanities of the American University of Beirut (CAH/AUB) in Beirut, Lebanon, from 13-17 March 2017. The program included a large exhibition of calligraphy and gilding; three lectures on the arts of calligraphy and gilding; a demonstration session on gilding; and, four days of training sessions on calligraphy. The opening of the exhibition on 13 March was addressed by Prof. Nadia Sheikh, Dean of the School of Arts and Sciences, Dr. Halit Eren, Director General of IRCICA, Prof. Abdulrahim Abuhusayn, Director of the Center for Arts and Humanities of AUB. The Ambassador of Turkey Mr. Çağatay Erciyes, faculty members, artists and art lovers and representatives of the local and international press were present at the opening. After the speeches, Dr. Halit Eren briefed the visitors and the press on the characteristics of the works displayed at the exhibition. The exhibition featured works by living contemporary masters of calligraphy together with award-winning works in IRCICA’s calligraphy competitions. 70 works in 10 styles of writing were displayed. A Calligraphy Demonstration by Master Calligrapher Dr. Jamal Naja (Lebanon) accompanied the exhibition. This was the first exhibition, training and lectures program on the arts of calligraphy and gilding to be held in Lebanon. The activities aroused high interest and attracted greater numbers of participants than anticipated.
During the event, lectures were given by
- Master Calligrapher Mehmet Özçay (Turkey), titled “The Inscriptions of the Yeni Cami (New Mosque) Fountain and Sebil”. In this lecture Mr. Özçay highlighted the main theme, the art of calligraphy, explaining its concept, spirit, significance, methods, rules, applications and development over history. Mr. Özçay illustrated the main properties of this art on the basis of an outstanding example, the inscriptions on Yeni Cami Mosque in Istanbul written by Ottoman master calligrapher Sami Efendi (1838-1912). The lecturer explained the specific features of calligraphy such as positioning, symmetry, proportions of the letters and the numerous other aesthetical, geometrical and technical specificities of this art as represented in this Jaly Thuluth masterpiece.
- Master Gilder Necati Sancaktutan (Turkey), “The Art of Gilding. An overview of its history, development and methods”. In his lecture Mr. Sancaktutan underscored the concept, spirit and significance of this art. He gave an overview of the history of development of the art of gilding over the ages in different cultures; its interpretations and advancements in different periods - the Seljukid, the Mamluk, Rumi, Maghribi epochs; the evolution of motifs and patterns, aesthetical and technical trends, interactions and mutual influences across cultures.
- Master Gilder Necati Sancaktutan (Turkey), “The Art of Gilding and its uses in manuscripts”: demonstration session on the application of the art of gilding. In this session Mr. Sancaktutan introduced the different types of tools and supplies, the materials gold and paints and their methods of preparation; the terms and methods used in the practice of this art. Mr. Sancaktutan then made a demonstration of the application of gilding on paper.
Training Sessions on the Art of Calligraphy were conducted by Master Calligrapher Efdaluddin Kılıç (Turkey) every day from 14 to 17 March inclusive. Thirty participants, from among a much larger number of applicants, could be accommodated in the training class due to practical reasons. In this course Professor Kılıç gave a first-level training in the riq’a style of calligraphy. The curriculum included theoretical and practical learning of the tools and supplies (the reed pen, the paper, the ink, and others) their preparation; holding and handling the reed pen; rules and methods to respect; the letters, their positioning, and the myriad other aspects of artistic writing in the Arabic script. Finally the class practiced writing specific words and sentences.