IRCICA has published the complete collection of the award-winning works of the first ten rounds of its international calligraphy competition which were held from 1986 to 2016. This unique collection of previously unpublished calligraphic works consists of the best ones in different style categories selected from among thousands of entries presented at each round of the competition.
The album contains 235 calligraphic works by 140 artists which were awarded one of the first three prizes in each category. Each competition was conducted in at least ten categories corresponding to the styles of writing most widely used across the Islamic world. The works were illuminated after each competition. Hundreds of other works having won mentions and incentive awards are also included, setting a full record of the artistic activity rewarded in the competition.
IRCICA’s international calligraphy competition, held every three years, aims to promote the performance and raise the appreciation of the classical art of Islamic calligraphy around the world, preserve and further enrich this authentic asset of the Islamic cultural heritage. The growing number and cultural diversity of the participants over thirty years and improvement of the average artistic quality of the entries reflected the positive impact of the competition in stimulating interest in this art and encouraging creativity coupled with thoroughness.
Over the past thirty years, the competition has given birth to an “IRCICA generation” of calligraphers, who have contributed to the accomplishments of this art in different parts of the world with their works and their teaching. IRCICA is proud that in this way, its competition program has touched positively the careers of thousands of calligraphers world-wide.
IRCICA regularly disseminates the results of each round of the competition to audiences interested across the world. To this aim it publishes a catalogue of each round and organizes exhibitions of winners’ works on various occasions. Half of the nearly 200 exhibitions of artworks held by IRCICA until the present have included calligraphic works selected from among prize-winners in the competition. These exhibitions have taken place in various OIC member countries, and among others, on the sidelines of conferences of the OIC Member States and during the IRCICA International Gathering on Islamic Calligraphy (Istanbul, 2014), the international symposium on “Female Calligraphers” (Istanbul, 2010); the “IRCICA Regional Calligraphy Competition in South East Asia 2018” (Singapore, 2018), in a travelling exhibition in Canada (2018) and on the 2015 OIC Day at UNESCO, Paris, France. Through these activities, the award-winning works have been introduced world-wide to artists and art lovers.
The eleventh round of the competition was finalized in 2019; the twelfth will be launched in 2021, to be finalized in 2022. By now IRCICA’s calligraphy competition has won recognition in world’s art circles as a focal event in its field. Publications resulting from IRCICA’s activities relating to Islamic calligraphy are used as textbooks and references. Its publications other than the present album include: the scholarly and artistic book entitled The Art of Calligraphy in Islamic Heritage which was published in the English, Arabic, Japanese, Malay and Turkish languages during the 1990s; reprints of selected calligraphy exercise books (mashqs) prepared by eminent masters of this art for the thuluth, naskh and riq’a styles of writing; and, catalogues of the various exhibitions.
The present album represents the culmination of a devoted continuing effort in the search of excellence in Islamic calligraphy art. It is an artistic book of documentary value that promises to be a landmark publication in its field and a superb addition to libraries.