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THE SHAPE OF ACCENTS
A visual reading of the Divine Comedy

Guided by calligrapher/artist Monica Dengo, our group of 24 calligraphers becomes part of ‘Writing the Divine Comedy …. in the languages of the world’.

Launched by the Italian cultural institute of Cairo, this international project envisages a graphic and calligraphic transcription of the first 21 lines of Dante’s Divine Comedy into the myriad languages world. At work are master calligraphers from many countries, as well as translators of the Divine Comedy and straightforward enthusiasts. The project is supported by the network of Italian cultural institutes around the world and similar bodies run by other nations. The Italian cultural institute of Cairo is assembling the graphic and calligraphic works with an aim to exhibiting them locally and subsequently in interested venues around the world.

The first 21 lines were chosen because they furnish, in a nutshell, the general concept of Dante’s work: illumination after a time of confusion.

Ours is a many-handed group work. Expressed in legible as well as illegible alphabets, it signifies the many accents found in spoken Italian: regional accents as well as those of people who come from different cultures and who have made their home in Italy.

The work consists of 21 books designed to be hung side by side. Each book contains 3 of Dante’s first 21 lines.

Our calligraphic books were executed entirely by hand.

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