Sharjah: The 21st edition of the Sharjah International Narrator Forum (SINF), which is organised annually by the Sharjah Institute for Heritage, is currently being held at Expo Centre Sharjah under the slogan ‘Animal Stories’.
One goal of the event is to illuminate the stories of narrators and their heritage, especially those of the emirates and the Arabian Gulf region, and to bestow upon them the recognition and consideration they deserve.
SINF is filled to the brim with cultural sessions, a highlight of which has been the session titled ‘Animal Stories in the Emirati Heritage’, which saw the participation of Dr Abdulaziz Al Musallam, Chairman of the Sharjah Institute for Heritage and Chairman of the Higher Organising Committee of the Forum; Dr Salem Al Tunaiji, a researcher in heritage; Professor Abdullah Abdul Rahman, an Emirati researcher; and Sheikha Al-Mutairi, Head of National Heritage Department in Juma’a Al Majed for Culture and Heritage. The session was moderated by Professor Ali Al-Abdan.
Navigating animal stories
Dr Al Musallam said: “Under the slogan ‘Animal Stories’, this year’s Sharjah International Narrator Forum is navigating animal stories in Arab and global culture. From the tales of Aesop to Kalila and Dimna, and including the creations of Al-Jahiz, Al-Damiri and others, it is a celebration of all humanity has created.”
Kenya’s Grace Wangari presented a tale in which she imitated the sounds of various animals, while Riya from Japan presented a children’s workshop where children were taught how to draw. Riya later introduced children and the audience 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 joyful atmosphere of the workshop ensured enthusiastic participation, with the children using the opportunity to learn about storytelling through the drawing of their favourite animals.
An Arabic calligraphy workshop was also organised by the International School of Storytelling. Presented by calligrapher Najib El Kharroubi from Tunisia, attendees were taught how to write Arabic calligraphy on animal skins, resulting in superb and beautiful pieces of art.
Fabio Lisboa Martins, storyteller from Brazil said that participating in the Sharjah International Narrator Forum (SINF) has been wonderful. “We have been telling stories from my country and listening to others from Africa and around the world. It is amazing to be here!”
Legendary Brazilian storyteller Antonio is also attending the event.