“The story of our culture is strongly tied to Arabic Calligraphy and transcends all conventional boundaries,” said H.H Prince Bader Bin Abdullah Bin Farhan Al Saud, the Saudi Minister of Culture. “It is a story of civilization, heritage, culture, and life.”
It’s a timely statement, all in honor of the Kingdom’s announcement of 2020 as the ‘Year of Arabic Calligraphy’. After a year chockful of projects championing the ancient art, the Jeddah municipality is putting it all front and center.
They’re teaming up with the Oyoun Jeddah Charitable Association to install 50 Arabic calligraphy murals across the city, some of which are more than 70 meters long and 3 meters high. The artworks, produced by Tasami Creative Lab, a local artists’ platform, will cover main roads, sidewalks, flyovers, buildings and squares.
But this isn’t the first time Jeddah is showcasing art in public places. This has been a regular occurrence “since the time of the late former mayor of Jeddah, Mohammed Saeed Farsi, who had invited prominent artists to beautify Jeddah with their works,” said Anas Mohamed Serafi, chairman of Oyoun.
From sculptures by Joan Miro and Alexander Calder in the 70s to the Jeddah Sculpture Museum displaying artworks along the Jeddah Corniche since 2013, the Saudi Arabian city is truly a walking open-air art gallery.