On 8 March 2023, the Iziko South African National Gallery played host to a masterful demonstration of Arabic Calligraphy by Chinese Islamic artist Haji Noor Deen Mi Guang Jiang. This event was facilitated by Sameer Sirkhoth and Jay van den Berg as an event associated with the exhibition “Breaking Down the Walls”. Haji Noor Deen had been brought out to South Africa by Deen Arts Foundation South Africa, a registered non-profit company aimed to revive, promote and preserve the traditional Islamic sacred arts, and the event formed part of a series of workshops throughout Cape Town with calligraphers from around the world.
Haji Noor Deen Mi Guang Jiang is a renowned master of Arabic calligraphy and is responsible for the formal codification of the ancient Arabic writing system in the Chinese tradition. He is listed as one of the 500 Most Influential Muslims in the world. His work has been displayed in galleries and museums worldwide, including the British Museum, the Asian Art Museum of San Francisco, the National Museum of Scotland, and the Center for Government and International Studies (CGIS) at Harvard University. He was also awarded the Dubai Islamic Economy Development Center 2016 Islamic Economy Award in the category of Islamic Arts.
The demonstration was attended by visiting calligraphers, Iziko staff members and members of the public to great acclaim.