I am writing to you…

The largest world exhibition for calligraphy in Moscow
Oksana Naralenkova

The largest exhibition for the art of calligraphy opened one of these days in Moscow.

The script masterpieces by the artists from thirty countries (Russia, Ukraine, Belarus, France, Italy, Germany, Australia, Brazil and some others) are on display in the three pavilions in Sokolniki.

An artifact from Jerusalem, a unique artwork by the master of sacral calligraphy Abraham Hersh-Borshevsky, the largest mezuzah in the world (104 cm vs. the customary 20 cm) placed in the Guinness World records, was brought to Moscow. A mezuzah is a sacral script made in parchment which is traditionally attached above the doorways in the homes of orthodox Jews. A mezuzah is kept in a case and can be unrolled once a year.

As for the secular calligraphy, here Nja Mahdaoui, Arabic calligrapher, “Bill Gates” of calligraphy, stands apart. He specializes in commissions of Arabic sheikhs and kings, designs stained glasses and buildings. In Bahrain, Oman and Arab Emirates he decorated the planes of the national airlines. Some of his works are available at the exhibition in Moscow.

The artworks by Barbara Calzolari, the artist calligrapher of Pope Benedict XVI, are at the interface of governmental and religious matters.

The exhibition demonstrates a rare work by Barbara Calzolari, a copy of the Russian National Anthem, a present from the Prime-Minister of Italy Silvio Berlusconi to the President of Russia.
For the G8 summit Silvio Berlusconi prepared presents for all the presidents, they were illustrated copies of their national anthems. Barbara Calzolari was commissioning the orders.

However, she couldn’t manage the Cyrillic alphabet. It turned out, for Western calligraphers it is also difficult to correlate the image and letter when they work with hieroglyphs. Then a Russian calligrapher Evgeny Drobyazin came to Barbara’s rescue. He assisted with the transformation of the Cyrillic letters into the images.

The key calligrapher’s task here is to transmit expression, movement and image which is inherent to a letter or word. Thus a letter can be transformed into a dress, carpet, sculpture or ceramics. Thus, calligrapher Bruno Niver designs clothes based on poetry, Yuri Koverdyaev, the author of the contemporary 50 ruble banknote, draws portraits with calligraphic poems. And a calligrapher from Thailand, perhaps being inspired by the Russian Levsha who had sculpted a flea, made a calligraphic composition on a fly’s wing. He wrote: “Russia. I love you”.
The exhibition will run until November 14th.

PHOTO captions

From left to right clockwise:

1. A job application can be executed in a quantity of manners. One of the calligraphers used a birch bark and Old Slavonic script.
2. A copy of the Russian National Anthem –a present of Silvio Berlusconi to President Dmitry Medvedev.
3. A calligrapher of Pope Benedict XVI saw a girl’s face in the initial letter of the poem Your Caress.
4. A dress can be made of words. The most important thing here is to write properly.
5. Nja Mahdaoui, “Bill Gates” in calligraphy, works on a large scale — he paints planes.
6. A Buddhist mantra will give you the strength of all Gods. A work made of leaf gold in yellow sandstone.
7. A portrait can be written with poetry. A work by Yuri Koverdyaev.

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