Mexican national Margret, an art expert who visited the Sharjah pavilion at the book fair in Mexico, wore the traditional Emirati women’s dress as part of her experience of Arab culture Image Credit: Supplied

Guadalajara: “This year, the Guadalajara International Book Fair spoke Arabic,” said Mexican author Zeth Arellano, describing the impact that Sharjah had as the Guest of Honour at the 36th edition of Guadalajara International Book Fair, the biggest publishing event in Latin America.

The success of the emirate’s participation was also evident in the thousands of visitors who said Sharjah’s diverse cultural events were the highlight of this year’s event.

Sharjah's Guest of Honour pavilion is located at the main entrance of the book fair Image Credit: Supplied

Visitor in Emirati dress

Margret, a visitor wearing the traditional Emirati women’s dress, said: “I explored the whole of the book fair and being an art expert, the emirate’s pavilion design, in addition to the artwork on display, including calligraphy and children’s book illustrations, really caught my attention. Once I finished touring the book fair, I had to return to Sharjah’s pavilion to attend the activities. I felt compelled to get this exquisite traditional dress, because its colours are similar to ours.”

Another visitor, Patricia Villarid, noted Sharjah’s pavilion enabled her to explore foreign cultures, adding: “We usually visit the book fair to purchase books and attend sessions. However, this year, it felt like we travelled to the Middle East and gained insight into their cultures, customs and arts. Now we are looking forward to visiting the UAE in future.”

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Arab presence

Adding to Villarid’s statement, Evan said: “The presence of Emirati and Arab culture as well as heritage in Mexico this year taught us a lot. Despite the language barrier, we learned about Emirati history, literature, art and their amazing heritage at the Sharjah pavilion. I even had a henna drawing made on my hand that will serve as a reminder of the beauty and generosity of Emirati women.”

Arabic calligraphy

As for visitor, Adriana Padilla, she said Sharjah’s activities brought her closer to the Emirati culture, explaining: “During my tour inside the Sharjah pavilion, I loved the Arabic calligraphy exhibition, the dedicated section for heritage and another one showcasing Spanish translated works of Emirati authors. The musical concerts that combined Latin music with an Emirati flavour were incredible.”