Al Burda Festival honours Islamic art, culture, and the greatness of Islamic civilisation at Expo 2020 Dubai

One of the most recognisable Islamic art events—the Al Burda Festival that has taken place on December 19 to 21, opened at the Dubai Exhibition Centre, Expo 2020 Dubai.

Organised by the Ministry of Culture and Youth, this year’s edition of the Al Burda Festival that takes place under the theme ‘Transcending Spaces, Discovering the World,’ honoured the creativity and excellence in the practice of various Islamic disciplines.

The Ministry of Culture and Youth launched the Al Burda Award in AH 1425 / 2004 AD to commemorate the birthday of Prophet Mohammed, under the patronage of His Highness Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation.

In its 16th edition, various Islamic cultures and aesthetics were honoured that involves poetry (classical and Nabati), calligraphy (classical and modern), ornamentation, and Arabic typography that pay tribute to the complexity of the Arabic language through original submissions from artists whose work is inspired by the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH), the Holy Quran, and hadiths.

The Poetry category honours a medium that highlights the life and character of the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) through the art of language and the power of verbal expression. It was Egypt’s Heba El-Feki who took home the classical poetry top prize, while Abdulaziz Al-Amiri from Oman took top honours for Nabati poetry.

Calligraphy embodies one of the most versatile, disciplined, and rich practices of Islamic art, a highly respected tradition in Islamic culture. The classical calligraphy award first prize went to Muhammad Jaber Abul-Ela from Egypt, while Mahsa Jawad Dawajy from Iran took the first prize for modern calligraphy.

Ornamentation in Islamic art includes four forms: three non-figural forms – calligraphy, vegetal patterns, and geometric patterns –and figural representation. Mehribian Miza Kaya from Turkey won in this category.

The newly-introduced Arabic Typography category encouraged entrants to experiment and innovate in contemporary typographic design. The awards in this category were won by Doaa Abazid, Tarek Samir, Jamal Al-Din Muhammad, Reza Babajani and Beta Amal.

Apart from the award ceremony, several cultural performances were also held to conclude the evening. Iraq’s Watar Orchestra and the Dubai Chamber Choir performed the Al Burda Theme, whereas Egypt’s Sheikh Mahmoud Eltohamy joined the Watar Orchestra for a performance of Islamic chanting.

French-Iranian dancer Rana Gorgani, Senegalese virtuoso kora player Noumoucounda Cissoko, and Lebanese Diva Jahida Wehbe graced the stage, while the evening was rounded off by Emirates Art Group—Emirati Malid, who performed a form of religious chanting known as ‘Al Malid’.

Cover Image: Al Burda Festival | Instagram