Sharjah: The 21st edition of the Sharjah International Narrator Forum (SINF) will be held between September 22 and 30 at strategic locations across Sharjah, the organisers announced at a press conference held at the Sharjah Research Technology and Innovation Park.
Led by Dr Abdul Aziz Al Musallam, chairman of the Sharjah Institute for Heritage and the Supreme Organising Committee of SINF, along with Aisha Al-Hussan Al Shamsi, director of the Arab Heritage Centre of the Institute and General Coordinator of the SINF, the organisers further revealed that this year’s edition will have ‘Animal Stories’ as its slogan. It will include many discussion sessions, training workshops and public events. There will be an accompanying exhibition, virtual events and workshops for children, with participation from 38 countries from around the world.
Destination for narrators
Al Musallam stressed that the forum has become an exceptional cultural tradition that is held annually, with an updated and relevant calendar of events and activities — thanks to the directives of His Highness Dr Sheikh Sultan bin Muhammad Al Qasimi, Member of the Supreme Council and Ruler of Sharjah. “Through the forum, we have an excellent opportunity to celebrate our vision, as well as honour the icons and torchbearers of popular heritage as they are human treasures, whose knowledge, skills and experiences are worthy of celebration through their life’s work and cultural contributions that help to preserve our heritage,” he said.
Al Musallam added: “The path of the Sharjah International Narrator Forum encapsulates many years of serious cultural work, which has given heritage the great prestige it deserves. It has made Sharjah a destination for narrators, experts and researchers from all over, and a pioneering model to be followed in protecting human treasures and preserving heritage and its success is celebrated and acknowledged in many international forums.”
Remembering forgotten treasures
Al Musallam pointed out that this session, the forum will celebrate the rich and diverse Emirati, Arab and human narrative heritage, because of its immense importance in expressing human issues that are reflected through popular cultures.
Aisha Al-Hussan Al Shamsi, director of the Arab Heritage Centre of the Institute and general coordinator of SINF, said: “The new session of the forum includes seminars, lectures and sessions that review many important approaches to animal stories, with the participation of a group of experts, researchers and writers from more than 38 countries.”
The countries include the UAE, Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, Oman, Kuwait, Iraq, Yemen, Palestine, Syria, and Lebanon. Egypt, Tunisia, Algeria, Morocco, Mauritania, Sudan, Senegal, Kenya, Comoros, India, Philippines, Kyrgyzstan, Turkey, Bolivia, Italy, Germany, Spain, Dominican Republic, Finland, Chile, Peru, Mexico, Canada and Romania.
“The Republic of Sudan will be the country in focus at this year’s edition of the forum and will be represented by Dr Ahmed Abdel Rahim Nasr, the honoured personality of the year in recognition of his contributions to Arab cultural heritage,” she announced. “Tunisian storyteller Abdelaziz Laroui will also be honoured as a legal personality in celebration of his rich storytelling legacy,” she added.
Enriching the forum’s programme
This session will witness the participation of a number of organisations, cultural centres, universities and institutes, namely: Unesco, Isesco, Alecso, Association al Munyia de Marrakech, Shamma Council for Thought and Knowledge, Moroccan Encounter and Storytelling Art School in Marrakech.
Several government agencies will also participate in the activities this year, namely: Sharjah Art Foundation, Sharjah Environment and Protected Areas Authority, Emirates Heritage Club, and Fujairah Art Academy.
Selection of Emirati, Arab artists
A group of Emirati and Arab artists will participate in the forum, most notably Dr Yahya Al-Fakhrani, Hala Fakher from Egypt, Muhammad Yassin from Bahrain, Sana Bakr Younis from Saudi Arabia, as well as Dr Habib Ghuloom and Jassim Obaid from the UAE.
The forum includes several workshops focusing on a wide range of topics, including traditional doll making, storyteller, decorating pens and pencils, origami paper folding, making animals with wool threads, plaster colouring, recycling, drawing animals by numbers, colour painting, as well as lead and charcoal painting.
Meanwhile, the programme accompanying the forum includes various lectures, specialised seminars, dialogues, a cultural cafe and a corner for signing the forum’s publications such as ‘Animals in the Arab and World Heritage’ among others.
Story exhibition, virtual events
The forum will be accompanied by an exhibition on animal stories in Emirati, Arab and world heritage. In addition, there will be more than 30 different titles from the publications of the Sharjah Institute for Heritage, highlighting the forum’s slogan and its richness and diversity, as well as 16 workshops, including interactive sessions.
With the aim of introducing the forum to the public and enabling them to follow its comprehensive programme of events and activities, whether outside the UAE or abroad, this year’s session includes a set of virtual events to be broadcast remotely. That will cover some culture cafe seminars, storytelling sessions, as well as live transmission of the forum in some Arab countries on social media platforms.