Sharjah to showcase shared history of Arab, Andalusian cultures at LIBER 2019

SHARJAH, Sharjah is gearing up to participate in the 37th edition of the LIBER International Book Fair-Madrid 2019, where the emirate will celebrate its “Guest of Honour” status with a grand show to introduce the best of Emirati and Arab culture to Spanish and European audiences.

Taking place at Feria de Madrid from 9th to 11th, October, the event will host 11,200 professional guests, 458 companies and more than 300 journalists and media outlets from 51 countries.

A packed itinerary of literary events and art-related activities has been planned to enable Spanish and international visitors to gain a deeper insight into the rich Emirati cultural heritage.

Throughout its three-day programme, Sharjah will tell the story of the shared history binding the Arabs with Spain, through a series of cultural sessions and seminars highlighting their deep historical and cultural ties.

An elite group of Emirati and Spanish intellectuals, literati and historians who will engage in panel discussions and interactive sessions on poetry, intellect and the arts. The sessions will be held at the Arab House of Madrid, LIBER Exhibition’s Conference Hall, the Spanish National Library and Complutense University of Madrid.

The Sharjah pavilion at LIBER 2019 will showcase a collection of 70 books written by Emirati and Arab authors and novelists translated to Spanish under the supervision of the Sharjah Book Authority, SBA.

LIBER’s visitors will also get the opportunity to enjoy a slice of Emirati folklore through a range of heritage activities and traditional rituals that reflect the authentic Emirati identity. The Sharjah National Band will perform folk music featuring traditional Emirati songs and dances that exemplify the Emirati people’s relationship with the desert, their life on the coast and diving trips. The Sharjah Institute for Heritage’s stand will offer visitors an opportunity to experiment with traditional henna designs and drawings while trying out traditional Emirati attire.

The Sharjah Department of Culture is participating with a stand where Emirati calligrapher Khalid Al Jallaf will take visitors on a short journey of the art of Arabic calligraphy and get their names written in the three Arabic styles of writing: Thuluth, Naskh and Diwani.

The department is also organising an art exhibition displaying paintings and artworks by Arab calligraphers and artists. These activities are a continuation of Sharjah’s efforts to promote Arab and Islamic culture worldwide by sharing its history and achievements in various genres of literature and art.

On the first day, a panel discussion will be hosted titled “Arabs in Spanish Literature and the Spanish in Arabic Literature: Perspectives for Understanding Others and Fighting Stereotypical Images”. The session will see Dr. Habib Ghaloum, an Emirati actor and writer, Emirati novelist, Reem Al Kamali and Spanish author Fernando de Agreda Burillo. Moderated by Emirati poet Shaikha Al Mutairi, the speakers will examine the presence of Arab culture in Spanish literature and vice versa.

A session titled “Common History: Arabs in Spain”, will bring Emirati poet Bushra Abdullah, Emirati writer Eman Al Yousuf, together with Emirati novelist Saleha Obeid and Spanish author Jeronimo Paez. The speakers will address the history of Arabs in Spain and the impact they had on its art and literature.

Emirati calligrapher Khalid Al Jallaf will join Emirati artist Abdul Qader Al Rais and Spanish researcher Juan Castilla Brazales in headlining a panel discussion titled, “The Aesthetics of Arabic calligraphy in Art: The Presence of Arabic Calligraphy in Spanish Architecture and Plastic Arts”.

Moderated by Eman Al Yousuf, the panel will focus on the influence of Arabic calligraphy on Andalusian architecture and the UAE’s efforts to preserve the art of Arabic calligraphy through a series of art conservation and sponsorship initiatives in the presence of calligraphy in contemporary painting.

In an effort to shine a light on Sharjah’s cultural achievements and introduce Spanish visitors to its pioneering cultural initiatives, a panel will be hosted on the Sharjah Translation Award “Turjuman”, which was launched to encourage the translation of Arabic works into other languages to show the world the true bright image of Arabs and Muslims and their contributions to human civilisation. Speakers include Dr. Luis Miguel, Salvador Pina Martin and Luis Rafael Hernandez.

On day two, a panel discussion titled “School of Andalusian Architecture and Aesthetics of Architecture in Sharjah”, will be led by Dr. Ali Al Abdan, Professor and Researcher, and moderated by Saleha Obeid. The seminar will shed light on the most important characteristics of Andalusian architecture and its contribution to bringing the Arab culture closer to the Spanish. The session will also address the main features of the influence of Andalusian architecture on the emirate of Sharjah.

There will be a poetry reading session in the evening for the Spanish community titled “Poetry from the East and the West”.

Emirati poets Sheikha Al Mutairi, Abdullah Al Hadiya and AlHanoof Mohamed, along with Spanish poet Teresa Garolo, will enthral the audience by reciting a selection of their inspiring and thought-provoking poems that reflect their concepts and philosophies.

The second session of the evening will see women poets Khulood Al Mualla, Bushra Abdullah, Najat Al Dhahiri and Bahira Abdul Latif, reciting some of their poems.

The poetry readings will be followed by a session titled “Spanish Travelers in Arab Countries”, to be presented by Dr Hamad Bin Sarai and Geronimo Baez. Moderated by poet Shaikha Al Mutairi, the panel will examine how the Spanish communicated with the Arabs during their trips and how the Spanish people were influenced by Arab Islamic customs and traditions.

On day three, Sharjah will host a seminar titled “Andalusian Poetry and its Impact on Contemporary Emirati Poetry”. Novelist Eman Al Yousuf will ask Dr. Sultan Al Omaimi about the golden age of the Andalusian Arabic poetry and the impact of Andalusia on the Emirati and Arab poetry.

Moderated by Saleha Obeid, a session titled “Contemporary Challenges to Culture and Intellectuals Worldwide”, will have writers Nadia El Najjar, Fathia Al Nemer and Manuel Pimentel highlighting the main challenges facing authors, poets, and publishing professionals.

The pavilion will highlight the efforts of leading Emirati cultural institutions and organisations, such as the Emirates Writers Union, Sharjah World Book Capital Office (SWBC Office), Sharjah Broadcasting Authority, Emirates Publishers Association, Sharjah Publishing City, Sharjah Department of Culture, Sharjah Institute for Heritage, Irthi Contemporary Crafts Council, Al Qasimi Publications, Kalimat Group, Knowledge without Borders and 1001 Titles Initiative.

Source: Emirates News Agency