UNESCO declare Arabic calligraphy a cultural heritage

UNESCO late last year added Arabic calligraphy, a key tradition in the Arab and Islamic worlds, to its Intangible Cultural Heritage list. It is nothing but the practice of handwriting and calligraphy based on the Arabic alphabet.

In total, 16 Muslim-majority countries, led by Saudi Arabia, presented the nomination to the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation, which announced the listing on Twitter.

In Arabic, this practice of calligraphy is called khatt. It is derived from the word line, 'design' or 'construction'. While most use Arabic calligraphy and Islamic calligraphy interchangeably, the two are not the same.

This listing by UNESCO is welcomed by conservationists as many have complained about the lack of people taking to Arabic calligraphy due to technological advancements. Researchers believe that the tag would contribute to developing this cultural heritage

What is intangible heritage?

It includes traditions or living expressions inherited from ancestors and passed on through generations. These may be in the form of performing arts, oral traditions, social practices, rituals, knowledge, festive events and crafts among others. Intangible cultural heritage plays an important role in maintaining cultural diversity in the times of globalisation.

As of 2021, 629 elements from 139 countries have been added to the list of Intangible Cultural Heritage. These include, the Kumbh Mela, Yoga, Chhau dance, Kutiyattam, and Ramlila among others from India.

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This artist creates incredible optical illusions using nothing but humans and body paint

Italian Johannes Stoetter is bodypainter whose nature inspired paintings featuring hidden humans will make you do a double take.

Stotter said the idea for the project started as a coincidence. He was working on another series when the model's leg reminded him of a frog's leg, so he decided to create a whole frog out of people. Stotter then created a video for the illusion to demonstrate how the frog actually consists of five models covered in body paint. 

The process begins with Stotter having models pose in different positions. He then sketches what he expects the final image to look like. It then takes him a whole week to paint the background. Next, Stotter body paints the animals on his models, which could take anywhere from two to 10 hours. Once the background and models are painted, he takes around 100 photos to get the perfect shot.

Credit : Insider 

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Artist Sipho Mabona Successfully Folds Life-sized Origami Elephant from Single Sheet of Paper

Switzerland-based origami artist Sipho Mabona folded this life-sized elephant from a single sheet of paper (50 feet x 50 feet).

The white elephant stands 10 feet tall and weighs a whopping 250 kg.

Simultaneously quiet and powerful, the towering creature proves, as the artist himself says, "there is no limit in origami".

Mabona financed the project through Internet-crowdfunding site Indiegogo where he raised over $26,000 from 631 funders. A webcam was installed that allowed people to watch the massive elephant take shape. The artist ran into some major challenges like figuring out how to spread a huge sheet of paper, measuring 15 meters by 15 meters (or 50 by 50 feet), in a hall, to transform the sheet of paper into the body of an elephant. Also, there were moments during the folding process, when he had to get the help of up to ten people to lift and fold the paper.

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Swedish Artist Transforms Old Books Into Beautiful Works of Paper Art

Swedish artist Cecilia Levy creates teacups, plates, bowls and other forms using paper from comic books and vintage volumes. She leaves the original stains and discolouration of the paper on her works as a testament to the passage of time. Created using papier mâché techniques, her works are more for display than actual use, but for Cecilia, it's a way of giving a second life to an old book.

Previously a bookbinder, Levy now takes the opposite approach to literature by tearing it up and pasting the pieces back together again. It may sound sacreligious to book-lovers, but when you take a look at the pictures below I’m sure you’ll agree that her work is in fact a loving testament to literature.

She first began experimenting with 3D paper objects in 2009. Since then she’s created a variety of different objects including cups, saucers, plates and bowls, and she’s always on the lookout for old books to transform so that their stories may continue in a new and unique form.

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What is shadowgraphy?

Have you ever made a shadow figure on the wall using your hand and a light source? Perhaps a dog or a rabbit? If so, you've already had some experience with shadow puppetry!

This magic of light and dark has transfixed the people for years together. Known as shadowgraphy or ombromanie, this ancient art was recently used by the United Nations to promote the message of climate change during the Climate Week.

Hand shadowgraphy is an ancient form of puppetry in which the puppeteer uses his hands to cast shadows of animals, people and other objects onto a flat surface. The light source can be anything a candle, an LED, or a torch. The shadows are projected onto a white screen either from the front or the back.

History of shadowgraphy

Historians believe that shadowgraphy is one of the oldest forms of art. Shadow puppetry existed in Indonesia around 850 AD and in China during the Tang Dynasty (618-907).

The art was introduced to Europe by travellers returning from China who had seen the Chinese puppet theatre shows. The first "ombres chinoises were presented in Paris in 1776 by Dominique Seraphin, but this involved only two-dimensional cut-out "puppets" made from various materials.

UNESCO World Heritage

Over the years, different forms of shadowgraphy have developed around the world. In 2011, Chinese shadow puppetry was inscribed on the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity.

Chinese shadow puppetry performances involve colourful silhouette figures made of leather or paper, and are accompanied by music and singing. Puppeteers using rods create the illusion of movement of the images on a translucent cloth screen illuminated from behind.

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