Sharjah: An Egyptian author with Uzbek/Russian roots has highlighted the importance of promoting folklores and preserving traditions to expand creativity during a cultural discussion on the opening day of the 12th Sharjah Children’s Reading Festival at Expo Centre Sharjah on Thursday.
Dinara Mirtalipova, a self-taught illustrator and designer, said: “Folk art is the art of the people; it is what connects us to our roots.” She spoke during a session titled, ‘The Power of Folklore’, hosted by Egyptian novelist, Tayeb Adib, that explored how writers and artists could get creative inspiration from local traditions.
Mirtalipova, whose captivating folkloric art is inspired by the rich traditions of her Uzbek/Russian roots, said: “My wish for the world is that all cultures are celebrated, stories continue to be written, and that one day, every child will find themselves within the pages of a book.”
“Illustration is silent story telling. When you read aloud a story, it is the illustration that visually connects what a child is hearing to what he/she is seeing. It is important therefore that every culture is represented in the pages of a book,” she added.
Keeping heritage alive
Meanwhile, Adib, another popular Egyptian children’s writer, also said that heritage plays a vital role in strengthening one’s identity, especially in the era of globalisation.
He continued: “Arab writers and artists have traditionally drawn on our ancient heritage of oral storytelling and folkloric culture to create beautiful literary masterpieces. Our folklore is rich and powerful; and it is not just through books but by establishing centres dedicated to folk traditions that we must keep our heritage alive.”
“Many people question the relevance of folkloric traditions in the age of drones and space exploration. However, without heritage, no nation can prosper,” Adib underlined.
Join the reading fest
The 12th edition of SCRF will run until May 29 at Expo Centre Sharjah. under the theme ‘For Your Imagination’, 32 authors from the Arab region and around the world will be speaking on the SCRF platform across 30 literary events, which will take place in Sharjah, Kalba, Dibba Al Hisn, Dubai, Fujairah and Ras Al Khaimah.