The results of the Eighth International Calligraphy Competition, organised by IRCICA and sponsored by the Abu Dhabi Culture and Heritage Authority, have been announced in Abu Dhabi and Istanbul on 15 April 2010.

At the press conference held at Hilton Abu Dhabi on 14 April, Dr. Halit Eren, Director General of IRCICA and Chairman of the Organizing Committee, explained the efforts made by the Centre in during the last three years to implement this competition at an international level. He expressed gratitude to the Abu Dhabi Culture and Heritage Authority for sponsoring the event and for the forthcoming hosting of its award ceremony. He recorded that the eighth competition had seen a high rate of participation, with 969 works submitted by 683 participants from 31 countries. 68 awards, mentions and incentive prizes were distributed to 64 participants from 15 countries. Dr. Eren pointed to the tangible indicators of growth of interest in this art around the world since this competition series was launched in 1985. The press conference held on 15 April at IRCICA’s headquarters in Istanbul was attended by calligraphers, specialists and lovers of calligraphy as well as press representatives. Dr. Halit Eren briefed the audience on the Centre’s activities in the field of calligraphy which made it a focal point known world-wide for this art. He cited the major publication, entitled The Art of Calligraphy in Islamic Heritage, published in English, Arabic, Japanese and Turkish, the large-scale symposiums (Istanbul, 1983 and Isfahan, 2002) and the various exhibitions. He referred to the results of the earlier calligraphy competitions and the present one which indicate a steady pace of development of both participation rate and quality of works.

Addressing the press conference, Mr. Abdullah al-Amiri, Director of Culture and Arts, Abu Dhabi Culture and Heritage Authority, declared that through its sponsorship of the competition his institution aims at contributing to reviving this art, preserving its values and techniques and encouraging present and future calligraphers. He said that the United Arab Emirates’ sponsoring cultural and art activities by way of intellectual exchanges and open cultural dialogue and encouragement of artistic production and innovation reflects the artistic development and professional level attained by the country, which was achieved thanks to H.H. Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed al-Nahayan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, the sponsor par excellence of the cultural movement. At the press conference held in Istanbul, at IRCICA, Mr. al-Amiri informed the audience of the Authority’s objectives and activities, pointing out that it had achieved regional and international extension and aimed to reach all cultures of the world. The Authority considers the process of cultural exchanges as a key component of the cultural strategy of the Abu Dhabi Government and an essential element in the development of civilisation, including means to provide the potential that allows the promotion of local and Arab culture. He affirmed their understanding that this cooperation would be continual.

The calligraphy competition is organised periodically once every three years. In accordance with the tradition established at IRCICA to dedicate each competition to one of the masters of this art, the eighth competitition was dedicated to the late Syrian calligrapher Muhammad Badawi al-Dirani (1312-1387 H./1894-1967). The international competition aims to preserve and revive the principles and methods of classical Islamic calligraphy by encouraging the present day and future generations of calligraphers to follow the original principles and common concepts established throughout the ages by the masters of this art and protecting it from foreign influences which are not in conformity with its traditional concepts.

The eighth competition was conducted in the following ten styles: jaly thuluth, thuluth, naskh, jaly taliq, taliq, jaly diwani, diwani, qufi, riq'a and maghribi.

The Jury’s meeting took place between 5 - 15 April 2010 at the headquarters of IRCICA in Yıldız Palace, Istanbul. H.E. Prof. Ekmeleddin Ihsanoğlu, Honorary Chairman of the Jury, attended some of the meetings of the The sessions continued under the Chairmanship of Mr. Hasan Çelebi and with the participation of following members:

- Dr. Halit Eren, Director Genral of IRCICA, Chairman of the Organizing Committee;

-  Mr. Mustafa Uğur Derman, Expert of Calligraphy, IRCICA;

-  Mr. Mus'ad Khudair Al-Borsaidi, Professor of Calligraphy, Egypt;

-  Mr. Ubaida Muhammad Al-Banki, Professor of Calligraphy, Syria;

-  Mr. Belaid Hamidi, Professor of Calligraphy, Morocco;

-  Dr. Abdul Reza Bahia, Professor of Calligraphy, Iraq;

-  Mr. Jalil Rasouli, Master of Calligraphy, Iran;

-  Mr. Mehmet Özcay, Master of Calligraphy, Turkey;

-  Mr. Davut Bektaş, Master of Calligraphy, Turkey.

Mr. Muhammed Tamimi, Coordinator of the competition, his assistant Mr. Said Kasımoğlu, and Mrs. Özlem Bulut from the Competition Secretariat, assisted the Jury in its working sessions.

The Jury was presented with the 969 works, encoded beforehand, submitted by 683 participants from 31 countries. After a selection and evaluation process, the remaining best works were chosen for the final decision. The works were examined from all aspects and those worthy of awards and mentions were selected, as shown in the attached table.

The Jury focused on precision in writing and did not comply with any particular school. This will be reflected clearly in the catalogue of winners' works that will be published. It also took into consideration criteria such as conformity with the rules of calligraphy, performance in writing, creativity of the composition, and observance of the conditions of the competition, disregarding some small deficiencies noticed in some of the relatively good works.

The Jury noticed that the level in jaly taliq style was not as satisfactory as required; and decided to withdraw the first and second awards in this style. The level of some of the works being high in jaly thuluth, thuluth, naskh and diwani styles, the Jury decided to allocate eight incentive prizes, US$1000 each, for these styles. The results are mentioned in the attached list: 28 awards, 32 mentions and 8 incentive prizes, i.e. a total of 68 awards and mentions amounting to US$ 126.500 in total, won by 64 participants from 15 countries.

An exhibition of the winners’ works will be held at IRCICA’s headquarters in Istanbul for a few days; an award ceremony will be organised, and sponsored and hosted, by Abu Dhabi Authority for Culture and Heritage, on 2 June 2010. A catalogue of the winners’ works will be published, to be distributed to the winners. The latter will also receive certificates.

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