Sharjah: In the presence of intellectuals, academics and university students, the Sharjah Book Authority (SBA) launched the “Sharjah Literary Days in Coimbra”, Portugal, in partnership with the historic University of Coimbra, the oldest in Portugal and one of the oldest universities in Europe.
The two-day activities kicked off with the screening of Khorfakkan, a film based on a book titled Khorfakkan’s Resistance Against the Portuguese Invasion of September 1507, authored by His Highness Sheikh Dr. Sultan bin Muhammad Al Qasimi, Supreme Council Member and Ruler of Sharjah. The epic movie is the debut film production of Sharjah Broadcasting Authority and is directed by US and Irish filmmakers Ben Mole and Maurice Sweeney.
The film was screened in Coimbra Cinema in the presence of university professors, students, history enthusiasts, and the public.
Prior to the screening, Delfim Leão, vice-rector for Culture and Open Science at the University of Coimbra, thanked the Ruler of Sharjah, for his efforts to strengthen cultural dialogue between the Arab world and Portugal.
An exhibition titled ‘Sharjah’s journey in Portugal’ was inaugurated to mark the opening of the first day of activities of the Sharjah Literary Days. On display were rare manuscripts and documents from the University of Coimbra’s archive dating between the 10th and 20th centuries, which document the Arab culture’s influence on the Portuguese language, science, mathematics, maritime, music, architecture, and more.
During the exhibition, Leão affirmed that cultural dialogue is the best sustainable tool to build strong bonds between people that are founded on understanding and mutual respect.
Led by authors, intellectuals, and academics from the two countries, the Sharjah Literary Days is aimed at bolstering the Emirati and Arab culture in Portugal through a series of seminars and discussion panels covering a broad spectrum of relevant topics including translation efforts and cultural exchange, in addition to promoting Emirati and Portuguese literary works.
Strengthening cultural bonds
Ahmed bin Rakkad Al Ameri, chairman of SBA: “The Authority is strengthening ties between Arab and global cultures under the directives and guidance of Sheikh Dr. Sultan who believes in the impact and role of culture to connect and unite people and strengthen cultural bonds between Sharjah and cities of the world.
The SBA Chairman added: “Through Sharjah Literary Days, we look forward to exploring new cooperation opportunities with Portugal, its universities and cultural institutions, as the event provides a unique opportunity to bolster our cultural bonds, advance translation efforts, and increase the participation of Arab and Portuguese intellectuals in book fairs and cultural events in both countries.”.
Mohammed Hassan Khalaf, director general of Sharjah Broadcasting Authority, said the emirate’s efforts under the directives of the Ruler of Sharjah supports Sharjah’s cultural project and provides unique opportunities to showcase the authority’s productions on a global level.
Values of Arab civilisation
He pointed out that the film, Khorfakkan, is a massive production that sets the precedent for new Emirati and Arab productions keen on turning the spotlight on the values of the Arab civilisation.
Khorfakkan highlights the epic resistance of inhabitants of the city of Khorfakkan during the Portuguese invasion in 1507 led by naval commander General Afonso de Albuquerque. The SBA production scooped the Gold award for the Best Historical Film category at the Brussels Capital Film Festival and a Golden award for Best Feature Drama Film in the July edition of the Best Istanbul Film and Art Festival. The film also won the Best Asian Feature Film, Best Cinematography/Feature Film, and Best Director/Asian Feature Film at the Athvikvaruni International Film Festival in India.