Sharjah, September 24 (BNA): The 21st session of the Sharjah International Narrator Forum, which is organized annually by the Sharjah Institute for Heritage, was successfully launched.
The prestigious event, which takes place at Expo Center Sharjah on September 22-30 under the theme ‘Animal Stories’, has attracted more than 38 countries from all over the world.
One of its most important goals is to shed light on the stories of the narrators and their heritage, especially the stories of the Emirates and the Arab Gulf, and to give them the appreciation and consideration they deserve.
SINF is filled with cultural sessions, most notably a session titled “Animal Stories in Emirati Heritage,” which saw the participation of His Excellency Dr. Abdulaziz Al Musallam, President of the Sharjah Institute for Heritage and Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Sharjah Institute for Heritage. The Higher Organizing Committee of the Forum, Dr. Salem Al Tunaiji, a researcher in heritage, Professor Abdullah Abdul Rahman, Emirati researcher Fatima Al Mughani spoke, and Sheikha Al Mutairi, head of the National Heritage Department at Juma Al Majid. Culture and heritage. The session was moderated by Professor Ali Al-Abdan.
Dr. Abdul Aziz Al Musallam, Chairman of the Sharjah Institute for Heritage and Chairman of the Higher Organizing Committee of the Forum, said: “Under the slogan ‘Animal Stories’, this year’s Sharjah International Narrator Forum reviews animal stories in Arab and global culture.
“From the tales of Aesop to Kalila and Dimna, including the creations of Al-Jahiz, Al-Damiri and others, it is a celebration of all that mankind has created.”
And speaking of his study of animals in folk literature, he said that he discovered during 30 years of field work that Emirati folk tales contain many symbols, whether for glorification or contempt, and that every mention of an animal is related to a sentence. A specific trait, such as sarcasm or pride.
Kenyan Grace Wangari presented a tale imitating different animal sounds, while Riya from Japan presented a children’s workshop where children were taught how to draw.
The latter introduced children and the public to the basics of manga art, and those attending the hands-on workshop were taught how to draw using manga principles. During the session, attendees were treated to live drawing of Japanese manga art, which served as instruction and inspiration. The fun and enjoyable atmosphere of the workshop ensured enthusiastic participation, as the children took the opportunity to learn about storytelling by drawing their favorite animals.
The International School of Storytelling also organized a workshop on Arabic calligraphy. Introduced by the calligrapher Najib El Kharroubi from Tunisia, the attendees were taught how to write Arabic calligraphy on animal skins, resulting in the production of wonderful and beautiful pieces of art.
Fabio Lisboa Martins, a storyteller from Brazil, said the participation in the Sharjah International Narrator Forum (SINF) was fantastic. “We have been telling stories from my country and listening to others from Africa and all over the world. It is amazing to be here!”
Legendary Brazilian storyteller Antonio is also present at the event, it was an honor to share the experience with his compatriot. “As Antonio said, stories connect us. Sometimes a story takes place in the middle of the desert and sometimes in the middle of the jungle, but in general the gist of the story is the same.”
“The Brothers Grimm, the famous German collectors of stories,” he said, “described the stories as a diamond that fell from the sky, broken into several thousand pieces.”
“I like to think that these pieces are used in rings, necklaces, bracelets – we use them in any way we can. But each one remains a little treasure, and these little treasures are all part of the larger treasure, which belongs to the oral tradition of storytelling. Here in Sharjah, by SINF , the Sharjah Institute for Heritage honors this timeless tradition. We come and go but the tradition of storytelling will continue.”