If you think of beautiful writing on paper when you think of calligraphy, then think again. The ancient Arab art, which is being celebrated as part of a first-of-its-kind month-long biennale in Dubai, is adding oomph to abayas, jewellery, and fabric.

The inaugural Dubai Calligraphy Biennale, which will run till the end of October, will bring together some of the best calligraphers in the country in more than 19 exhibitions across 35 locations.

Historically, calligraphy was used to adorn architecture and personal objects but later became an instrument of artistic expression and visual communication. Today it continues to shape various creative disciples.

At the exhibition held at Al Safa Art and Design Library, there were several exhibits that vowed art lovers:

This dress, titled Pearla, is the brainchild of sister Hessa and Fatma Ali Aljoker. Working with renowned calligrapher Diaa Allam, the sisters got a poem of the UAE’s Founding Father, the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, crafted on this beautiful white dress.

Calligraphy on jewellery resulted in some breathtaking designs. This black ring has verses of the opening Surah (chapter) of the Holy Quran — Surah Al Fatiha — carved in silver.

This piece of jewellery — the Maktoub Cuff — is described as 'organised chaos' by the designer Nadine Kanso. Part of the Bilarabi collection, it reflects architectural designs in the form of different letters of varying heights.

This dress designed by Areen is titled The Portrayal of Paradise. It sports a geometric abstract pattern of calligraphy, instead of letters, and explores the concept of paradise among cultures.

For artist and fashion designer Feryal Albastaki, the exhibition was a way to express her appreciation for calligraphy. She has combined a painting of hers with the literary work of renowned Emirati poet Ousha al Suwaidi to create a spectacular jalabiya.

The regular abaya was elevated to pieces of art with calligraphy. Designer Shatha Essa has crafted a remarkable collection called Letters of Art that reflects the beauty of Arabic calligraphy.

Emirati artist Amna AlBanna exhibited five different types of fabric, which were inspired by brushwork and calligraphy aesthetics.

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