Wang Dongling and Samir Al Sayegh “Strokes in Dialogue” at Jeddah in July 2013

JEDDAH, July 2013: Athr Gallery is proud to announce a unique collaborative event on July 23rd, as two globally-acclaimed calligraphers – Samir Al Sayegh and Wang Dongling – come together in ‘Strokes In Dialogue’, a joint exhibition of Arabic and Chinese calligraphy, uniting the two masters’ distinctive practices and styles.

The exhibition will be launched by an exciting artistic collaboration between Dongling (Pearl Lam Gallery in Shanghai) and Al Sayegh (Agial Gallery in Beirut) on the show’s opening night of July 23rd. In front of guests, the artists will interact live in the gallery, to produce one-off artworks in Arabic and Chinese calligraphy turning paintings into performance, which will resonate in a vibrant and contemporary expression of cross-cultural experimentation and visual forms.

For over a thousand years, calligraphy has been the most spiritual of Middle and Far Eastern artistic forms. Traditionally associated with articulating beauty and the solemnity of the written word in prayer and religious texts, the very act of executing calligraphy is almost a devotional ritual itself, passed down from generation to generation. Today, leading practitioners of the form characteristically combine historic styles, scripts and techniques with contemporary twists and approaches, ensuring the form remains culturally relevant and vital, whilst retaining its poetic ability to enchant, inspire and delight.

Lebanese-born, Paris-educated Samir Al Sayegh is a globally renowned master of Arabic calligraphy. A specialist of the form, Al Sayegh is known for his inventive approach to transposing traditional styles and textual forms into modern, progressive visual contexts. He typically experiments with the geometric, structural and abstract possibilities of traditional calligraphy, which inevitably, has led to him creating distinctive typefaces of his own.

Professor Wang Dongling, a professor at the China Academy of Art, is an acclaimed practitioner of traditional Chinese typography and calligraphic techniques. Having exhibited his dynamic works worldwide at institutions including the Metropolitan and Guggenheim Museums in New York, the British Museum in London and the Sorbonne in Paris, Dongling typically brings Daoist and Buddhist elements to his work, Dongling is known also for his performative approach to executing his vast calligraphic works – where physicality and gestural motion become integral to his large-scale, visual harmonics.

 ‘Strokes in Dialogue’ sees the gallery again position itself as one of the Gulf’s most progressive and exciting art spaces, searching out combinations of historical and contemporary forms in artistic expression.

‘Strokes In Dialogue’ opens on July 23rd at Gallery A at Athr Art Gallery. It will be complemented by new shows ‘Parallel Lines’ (gallery B), ‘Bilarabi’ by Nadine Kanso (Athr Gallery meeting room), and Bokja designs (Athr Gallery office space).