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Israeli and Emirati artists in Hebrew and Arabic calligraphy exhibit

November 21, 2021

By Stephen Fryszczuk

‘Maktoub’ - meaning ‘written’ and ‘destined' in Arabic, described as a 'metaphoric celebration of what is shared and sacred for both Muslims and Jews'

Emirati and Israeli artists have combined to create an exhibition in Jerusalem featuring calligraphy in Hebrew and Arabic.

The exhibition is called ‘Maktoub’, meaning both ‘written’ and ‘destined’ in Arabic. Organisers said it was “a metaphoric celebration of what is shared and sacred for both Muslims and Jews and a reminder that we have always shared our past and are destined to share our future”.

It comes after five Israeli artists teamed up with five peers from the United Arab Emirates on the first-of-its-kind collaboration, the results of which have now gone on display at the Jerusalem Theatre until 20 December.

The exhibition is part of the Jerusalem Biennale, held every two years, and has been co-curated by a Dubai-based Moroccan-born artist and a Jerusalem-based Syrian-American artist.

“Calligraphy and the written word have vital importance for Jewish and Islamic cultures and religions,” said Britain’s Ambassador to Israel, Neil Wigan.

“Maktoub is a natural fit to be the first exhibition presenting collaborations between Israeli and Emirati artists. That’s why the British Embassy is delighted to support it.”

Deputy Jerusalem Mayor Fleur Hassan Nahum opened the exhibition in the presence of diplomats from Bahrain, Jordan, Egypt, and the UAE, as well as Israeli politician Amir Ohana.

She said its aim was to “encourage increased cultural exchange” between Jerusalem and the UAE, adding: “It embodies the values of the friendship between our respective countries and will carry the message of tolerance.”

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