Wed, Aug 07, 2013 - Page 5 News List

Turkish calligrapher uses art to promote cultural exchanges

Staff writer, with CNA

A renowned Turkish artist hopes to use calligraphy, one of the most prestigious art forms in Islamic and Chinese cultures, to promote closer cultural ties between the people of Turkey and Taiwan.

Aydin Cayir, a calligrapher with the Turkish Ministry of Culture and Tourism, said during a visit to Taipei that Taiwan and Turkey are countries that appreciate beautiful handwriting and he hopes to introduce Turkish and Islamic culture to Taiwanese through the art form.

“Art should be shared,” said the 43-year-old, who has held calligraphy exhibitions and workshops in about 30 countries, including China, Japan, Germany, Switzerland and the US.

The art of fine handwriting is slowly disappearing in both Taiwan and Turkey, Cayir said, adding that he hopes to encourage young people to preserve the ancient art.

He said Turkish calligraphy often conveys traditional Turkish myths, stories and values, such as piety and appreciation, which he hopes to share with Taiwanese.

Cayir, whose professional career as a calligrapher began 25 years ago, makes Arabic and Latin calligraphies in sync with traditional Turkish music.

Contemporary Turkish calligraphy combines the Latin alphabet, which was adopted by Turkey in the 20th century, with Islamic calligraphy styles that often have a religious theme and include passages from the Koran.

During his visit to Taiwan, Cayir has given calligraphy demonstrations at places such as the National Taiwan Museum and at a Ramadan dinner in Taipei attended by officials, academics and the media.

He was invited to Taiwan by the Anatolia Formosa Association, a group that promotes cultural and academic exchanges between Taiwan and Turkey.

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