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The Traveling Reed Pen: Haji Noor Deen Presents at UCI

By Iris Wang

In a union of Arabic and Chinese Islamic art and culture, the Traveling Reed Pen was hosted at UCI last week. The exhibit  presented Arabic art at one of the highest levels as Master of Arabic calligraphy Haji Noor Deen presented an Arabic calligraphy workshop in Chinese Style.

“Arabic calligraphy, the crown jewel of Islamic art and product of history is one of the most detailed modes of artistic expression among the ancient calligraphic styles that exist in the world today,” he said. “Traditional Arabic calligraphy in China represents the essence of the artistic work of generations of calligraphers, a unique cultural fusion of Chinese culture and Islamic art.”

Along with a reception and exhibit, the workshop was organized by the Arabic Language and Culture Club. The reception was supported by UCI Religious Studies, the Global Middle East Program, the Humanities Languages and Learning Program, the Departments of History and Art History, and UCI Illuminations.

Guest presenter Haji Noor Deen is a world-renowned calligrapher in Arabic language. Deen’s work has been exhibited throughout the world at the British Museum, Harvard University and Beijing University. The calligraphy class took place on Tuesday and Wednesday from 6-9 p.m., and Thursday from 6-7 p.m. followed by a reception and exhibition until 9 p.m. at Humanities Gateway.

Many UCI students, alumni and local communities attended all three days of workshop and invited family members to join. Munira Amla, a UCI graduate student alumnus and  middle and high school science teacher, made marvelous progress in the three days. A student who attended all three days of the workshop said this workshop is simply “Great and beautiful!”

Both events together welcomed more than 100 students and local community members. Though some students in attendance had Arabic backgrounds, the workshop was diverse. A teacher from the Heritage Language School in Garden Grove said, “Even for us as Arabic speakers, these arts are amazing. It has been very nice.”

Arabic Language and Culture Club vice president Daniel Carnie said, “We have been preparing this event for a few months and really happy with the turnout…We hope to see more students enroll online in Arabic classes.”