UAE Prize Celebrating Islamic Art and Culture Launches New Arabic Typography Competition
A UAE award celebrating Islamic art and culture has launched a new category for Arabic typography.
The 16th Al Burda Prize invites young people to submit their typographic creations under the theme of rhythm.
They will compete for cash prizes worth 170,000 Dh. The winner will receive 70,000 Dh and 10 finalists will receive 10,000 Dh each.
“Typography is the arrangement of letter and text shapes in a composition to visually communicate an idea for a message using digital fonts or digital letters,” said Salem Al Qassimi, Jury Member and Founder from Fikra, an educational platform focused on design.
Participants should incorporate a sense of rhythm or movement into their creations or videos.
This can take the form of letters, the way text is displayed on the screen, or the music playing in the background and the rhyming of verses.
Content can display their typography through a static design such as a poster, or moving artwork such as videos or animation.
But the text must be derived from the verses of Qasidat Al Burda – a 13th century poem that was written in praise of the Prophet Muhammad.
“We are interested in how participants use Qasidat Al Burda by expressing the notion of rhythm and challenging it in one way or another, “Al Qassimi said.
“Different people will inevitably interpret the beat differently, and it’s exciting to see how these interpretations play out across different mediums.
“Participants have complete freedom to explore what rhythm means to them vis-à-vis the verses they choose to interpret visually.”
Applicants should justify their design choices and explain how they represent the lines of the poem.
Typography has become a prevalent art form in many media, including magazines, TV show opening titles, and social media.
“It’s really everywhere,” Al Qassimi said.
“Imagine having the freedom to artistically manipulate this text in order to enhance its meaning, or to provide an alternative expression or interpretation. “
“Sometimes the typography is direct and enhances the written copy by allowing it to become more expressive. Sometimes Arabic letters are used as abstract shapes to expressively communicate an idea or feeling.
“There really is no limit to this.”
Applicants can also create a new Arab police force, said Shatha Al Mulla, director of arts at the UAE’s Ministry of Culture and Youth.
“They could use the traditional Arabic text and shape it into a new font. “
She said typography had its masters in Middle Eastern countries such as Egypt, Iran and Iraq.
“But we also know that there are young artists established in countries like Indonesia and Pakistan – and in Eurasia. We look forward to seeing their contributions, ”she said.
Artists and designers around the world, and especially in this part of the world, are using typography in creative ways, Mr. Al Qassimi said.
“Due to the extremely flexible and playful nature of Arabic writing, there is so much room to experiment and play,” he said.
“We hope this award encourages participants to really take risks in the way they use and play with Arabic.”
This year’s award also increased the number of winners for certain categories, “to give more emerging talent a chance to participate and win,” Ms. Al Mulla said.
Registration is open until June 17, while artist submissions will take place from June 17 to October 1.
Ms. Al Mulla said the registration and submission period can be extended if necessary.
The jury will meet in November to assess the applications.
The names of the winners will be announced in December at the Al Burda Festival, which was launched in 2018 to complete the award.