DUBAI: People in large numbers have started visiting the Pakistan Pavilion at Dubai Expo 2020 to see what is said be the world’s largest Qur’an designed by a Pakistani-Canadian artist Shahid Rassam.
Surah Ar-Rahman, a chapter of the Islamic scripture which has been cast on a high-quality canvas with aluminum and gold-plated script, was unveiled at the pavilion on January 24 by Pakistan’s commerce chief Abdul Razak Dawood and its envoy to the United Arab Emirates (UAE) Afzaal Mahmood.
Speaking to Arab News on Sunday, the 49-year-old artist said the portion of the Qur’an will continue to be exhibited at the event until its end on March 31.
“I did not expect the Qur’an to become the highlight at the expo,” Rassam, who is currently visiting Dubai to promote the project, said.
He noted that writing the whole scripture in such a huge size was going to be a multimillion-dollar project since it would require 200 kilograms of gold and 2,000 kilograms of aluminum to cast around 80,000 words on 550 pages.
“This will be a gigantic multimillion-dollar project requiring the support of the governments of Pakistan and the UAE,” he continued.
Rassam informed his financial team was working on assessing the exact amount required to cast the entire Qur’an in aluminum and gold.
He also maintained that the installation was unique and innovative in several ways, adding it had 1,585 letters, 352 words and 78 verses which were spread over six pages.
He informed the first two pages had only five lines while the rest of them had ten.
Rassam said the text required 15 kilograms of aluminum and more than one kilogram of gold on the special canvas.
“I have not written the Holy Qur’an with color or ink. Instead, it has been cast on the canvas with aluminum and gold-plated words for the first time in the Islamic history,” he said in a press release.
Speaking to Arab News in September 2021, he said he had created his own design with acrylic colors and used an Italian glazing technique.
The project had been completed in almost four months with the help of 200 artists, painters, calligraphers, designers, and sculptors.
Irfan Mustafa, a Dubai-based entrepreneur, played a significant role in making the project a reality: Not only did he sponsor it but also convinced Rassam to share it at the expo.
Mustafa told Arab News he decided to support the project since it was unique.
“This is a masterpiece which is being created and must be supported,” he said, adding the project would also strengthen Pakistan’s international image.
Farkhanda Jalil, a Dubai-based house wife who heard about the Qur’anic installation and decided to visit the pavilion, said she found it “completely amazing.”
“I have never seen anything like this and I think it is a great initiative,” she added.
Speaking to Arab News, Afroz Abro, director programming and marketing at the pavilion, said the team managing of the Pakistani venue was striving to highlight the potential fellow citizens and tell the international community that the people of Pakistan were capable of accomplishing big things when given the right opportunities.
“The Qur’anic installation by artist Shahid Rassam is a true example of that potential,” he maintained. “It adds a great value to the visitor’s experience. This is the true Pakistan that we all want to believe in.”