The Ministry of Culture’s Year of Arabic Calligraphy campaign has been extended into 2021 due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The decision was announced on Sunday in a tweet by the Minister of Culture Prince Badr bin Abdullah bin Farhan.
“Due to the exceptional circumstances, and what the world is witnessing in the coronavirus pandemic, the Year of Arabic Calligraphy 2020 has been extended into 2021. We will overcome this crisis and continue to fulfill our dreams,” the minister said.
Many Saudi calligraphers replied to the minister’s tweet and the official hashtag. Twitter users supported the decision and shared artwork with words of encouragement such as “stay home”, “all shall be well”, “this too shall pass” and “patience is a virtue.”
The year-long celebration was designed as a symbol of Saudi identity and a source of inspiration for artists around the world. It highlighted the importance and historical significance of Arabic calligraphy.
The ministry shared details about the initiative with adverts on social media and public billboards. It also had a booth at the inauguration of the National Theater, where guests met local calligraphers and were given artwork and memorabilia.
People throughout Kingdom were invited to submit ideas and project proposals that focus on Arabic calligraphy.
The winners will be granted an opportunity to play an important role in efforts to strengthen the presence of Arabic calligraphy. The ministry will provide winners with partial or full financial sponsorships and logistical and media support.
The ministry’s official spokesman, Abdulkareem Al-Hameed, said that the decision was made to maximize the benefit of the event.
He said: “The impact of the current circumstances and the Kingdom’s efforts in limiting the spread of the coronavirus necessitated the postponement of many cultural events organized by the Ministry of Culture.”
Al-Hameed said that the extension would improve the opportunity to celebrate the ancient art of calligrahphy and enhance its presence in society.