American University in Dubai holds the first ever intercultural calligraphy workshop and demonstration

February 27, 2014 12:05 pm

The School of Architecture, Art and Design at the American University in Dubai (AUD) held today the first ever intercultural calligraphy workshop and demonstration organized in collaboration with the Consulate General of Japan in Dubai.

The workshop and presentation were led by Ms. Taki Kodaira, a modern Japanese Calligrapher based in Rome and Mr. Tagelsir Hassan, a renowned Arabic Calligrapher and Typographer. Attendees included participants joining from Zayed University, the American University in Sharjah, Sharjah University, Khalifa University, the Consulate General of Japan headed by the Consul General Mr. Daisuke Matsunaga and the Vice Consul Mr. Kentaro Niimi, as well as students and faculty members from AUD.

This occasion was a stimulus to initiate a series of future events planned to promote interaction between Japanese and Arabic worlds of design. “It has been an honor and pleasure to work with Mr. Kentaro Niimi and Ms. Kathleen Sumalpong of the Consulate General of Japan in organizing this event for the benefit of our students. My hope is that this event will be the first of many” comment Prof. Luis Castañeda, Associate Professor of Graphic Design at AUD.

“We profusely thank the Consulate General of Japan, Mr. Matsunaga, and the Japan Foundation for supporting this innovative program in the Department of Visual Communication. We also look forward to future collaborations with the Consulate General to bring multiple aspects of Japanese culture to AUD and the larger community in the UAE” added Dr. Woodman Taylor, Chair of Visual Communication and Associate Professor of Art History at AUD and Convener of the AUD Visual Cultures Forum.

The workshop introduced students to two different traditional design practices and their related aesthetic systems, and lead them towards an understanding of how history and cultural identity influence aspects of visual communication. “The concept of ‘Intercultural Calligraphy’ is profound and it begs the question: can master calligraphers from two distinct cultural traditions – in our case, from Japan and from the Arab world – work out a way to exchange and communicate with each other in their own calligraphic traditions?” offered Dr. Taylor. The answer is yes, thanks to workshops like this.

By creating a space for presenting art, architecture, design and media, the AUD Visual Cultures Forum fosters interactive discussions on visual arts amongst students and faculty at AUD as well as with the dynamic arts community to build relationships with major figures in the thriving art scene in Dubai and the U.A.E. “We anticipate the workshop to lead students towards discovering and developing a personal style which is a vital part of the design process in general, and to emphasize the role that materials, tools and techniques play in the design process and underline how they are inextricably linked to creative thinking and making” concluded Prof. Castañeda.

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