Aramco Asia Japan, with an eye to enhancing its corporate social responsibility activities by bridging Arabic and Japanese cultures, recently brought Arabic calligraphy to the attention of the general public via a venue run by Japan's third largest newspaper medium Mainichi Daily.
With a theme of “Evening with the World of Arabic Calligraphy,” the event was held at Mainichi Media Café on the ground floor of Mainichi's headquarters in Tokyo. Special guest Nobuko Sagawa — a Japanese Arabic calligrapher who often travels between Saudi Arabia and Japan as an Arabic artist — spoke at the event, which was packed with enthusiastic attendees.
A new art
Unfurling the world of Arabic calligraphy for the audience, Sagawa mesmerized the crowd with the art form's beauty and complexity. As she introduced her “qualam” — or pen in Arabic — she explained the chief differences between Arabic and Latin fonts.
Previously, Sagawa participated in the Janadriya Festival in the Kingdom (in 2011), and in 2014, she was invited by Saudi Aramco's iThra Knowledge Program to lead workshops in both Riyadh and Jiddah.
Although the modern-day technological advancement isolated people from handwriting, the moment when she put ink on a bamboo pen to make exquisite strokes reminded the audience of the power of handwriting with the human touch.
“It was a great experience; it was both visually and intellectually enlightening,” said one participant as he held a piece of paper with his name written in Arabic calligraphy.