Religious transcripts evolve into artforms

Religious transcripts evolve into artforms

The International Buddhist Confederation (IBC), a Buddhist body that serves as a common platform for all Buddhists worldwide has come out with a unique calligraphy exhibition featuring Buddhist Bhoti and Islamic Calligraphy at the India International Centre.

The exhibition titled ‘Divinity in Syllables’ is showcasing artwork of the two foremost calligraphers of our times – Jamyang Dorjee Chakrishar from Sikkim and Anis Siddiqui from Delhi. Their works display the history and the spiritual links of calligraphy cutting across different cultures.

Calligraphy is an ancient artform and talking to Metrolife about the exhibition, Kshipra Simon, the curator of the show, said, “The whole aim of this exhibition is to take forward calligraphy as an artform. It is for the first time in India, that Islamic calligraphy and Buddhist Bhoti stand together under one roof. We have seen ancient transcripts only in chants, but this exhibition is showcasing how the artists have changed these transcripts into artforms.”

“These are just not letters but also a messenger of peace and harmony. It also conveys that if two religions can come together through art, why can’t people all around the world come together and live in peace and harmony without any conflicts,” added Simon. 

Islamic calligraphy evolved as an artform from the Holy Quran and through centuries it has been continuously refined and embellished to become the most recognisable visual form of Islamic art. 

Buddhist calligraphy too has its roots in the teachings of the Buddha dharma. It evolved as an integral and independent artform along with other forms of Buddhist art such as iconography, frescos, thangkas and sculptures. The Buddhist calligraphy on display at the exhibition is in Bhoti language which has its roots in the Gupta, Sanskrit and Brahmi scripts. The art of calligraphy has been an integral part of Buddha’s teaching and is also a proof of the richness of the Bhoti language.

Artist Jamyang Dorjee Chakrishar, said, “We have been getting a great response for this exhibition, but it will take some time for people to understand this artform. It is just the beginning. The art of Islamic calligraphy and Buddhist Bhoti is beautiful and spreads moral values for the long run.” 

The exhibition was inaugurated by Parvez Dewan, secretary, Ministry of Tourism, and the guests of honour were the 17th Gyalwang Karmapa, supreme head, Karma-Kagyu tradition and Mufti Mohd. Mukarram Ahmed, Shahi Imam, Masjid Fatehpuri. 

The exhibition ‘Divinity in Syllables’ is on till August 16 at the India International Centre, Annexe Building from 11 am to 7 pm.

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