Al Ain, UAE: Under the Patronage of His Highness Sheikh Tahnoun bin Mohammed Al Nahyan, Ruler's Representative – Al Ain Region, the 11th edition of Al Ain Book Fair got underway earlier this week, with the first seminar of the cultural programme taking place. The Fair, which is organised by the Department of Culture and Tourism - Abu Dhabi (DCT Abu Dhabi) will run until 3rd October.
The cultural programme began with a seminar entitled “Nabati and Standard Arabic Poetry... A Look Towards the Future,” which featured the participation of the poet Sheikha Al Mutairi and poet Dr. Talal Al Junaibi, with the seminar being conducted by Maryam Mahmoud, a student at Emirates University. Dr. Al Junaibi won the President's Award in 2015 for his intellectual, cultural, and social contributions, as well winning the Abu Dhabi Appreciation Award in the same year. Al Junaibi is also famous for his “vocal signature” style when reciting his poetry.
Dr. Al Junaibi began by saying time preserves poetry regardless of its genre or whether it is written in Standard Arabic, Nabati, classical style, or prose. Al Junaibi went on to recite a number of his own poems.
Al Mutairi talked about the book “Our Heritage of Folk Poetry” by the late poet Hamad Bushihab, which is one of the most important references in this field, and was responsible for inspiring her love and passion for folk poetry. She said her grandmother made her and her brother watch the TV programme “Sessions of Poets” when they were young, saying: “We knew these poets from a young age. We knew everything about them and learned from their prose, how their words have a special place in our hearts.”
Afterwards, Al Mutairi recited some of her poems, including some she performed on the “Prince of Poets” programme.
The seminar was followed by a musical event entitled “Shalla... Taghrooda... Cup of Coffee” in which artist Mohammed Al Badi performed a number of traditional and old Shala pieces, including Al Radeh, Al Taghrooda, Al Wana, and Al Tareq.
In addition to the poetry seminar, another session was held on Wednesday under the title “Readings into Emriati Women's Narrative” which was presented by Dr. Muna Al Saheli, along with four students from the Arabic Language Department at Emirates University: Fatima Al Ahbabi, Maryam Mahmoud, Maryam Al Saridi, and Wafaa Al Braiki.
Dr. Al Saheli talked about the beginning and inception of Emirati novels, noting that some scholars believe that Emirati novels have experienced a delayed growth in comparison to other literary genres. She also spoke about how Emirati women's novels specifically began to grow in popularity from the early 1990’s with “Angels and Devils” by Bassima Yunus. Other examples include Rashid Abdullah who wrote the novel Shahinda in 1971, and Ali Abu Al Reesh, in addition to short stories written by women such as: Shaikha Al Naji, Maryam Juma Faraj, and others.
Al Saheli added: “The contents and issues of women's literature are varied and diverse as society began to open up to a new and contemporary era with its needs and complications, and female writers gained more awareness and took control of their writing. The reader can find social issues, particularly those that affect women directly such as marriage, divorce, jealousy, marrying foreigners, women's education and work. Also to be found are issues with a critical aspect based on a civilised vision that seeks to break the old mentality that is subject to outdated customs and traditions, in addition to the issues of urbanisation of Emirati society and the phenomena it produces.”
Al Saheli said Emirati women writers used diverse techniques in their attempt to overcome prejudice by quickly mastering the use of contemporary types of narrative.
After that, the four students discussed four models of Emirati narratives: the novel “Acute Angle” by author and storyteller Fatima Sultan Al Mazroui; “Meats for Sale: Black Trade in the Streets of Cursed Markets” by Souad Al Shamesi; “Hermes Sultanate” by Reem Al Kamali; and “Bow of Sand: Comedy of Cradle and Water” by author Lulua Al Mansouri.
This session was followed by a musical performance entitled “The Poem in Arab Song” in which Oud player and vocalist Hashem Al Nafri performed a number of Arab songs based on poems by pioneers of modern Arabic poetry.
On Thursday, Al Ain Book Fair saw a number of diverse activities including a cultural seminar entitled: “How to Write Our History in a Novel? Al Ain as a Model” which saw the participation of Emirati poet and researcher Shaikha Al Jaberi, and Emirati novelist and storyteller Ali Al Humairi. This was followed by a musical performance entitled “Malayalam Music” featuring music and songs from the Indian state of Kerala, in addition to two activities at the Painters and Arts Corner entitled “Book of Jolly Faces” and “Nature in All Colours”. The Creativity Corner saw several activities, including a yoga session for children, a workshop for children on comic books and a meeting with author Sara Silis.
About the Department of Culture and Tourism - Abu Dhabi
The Department of Culture and Tourism conserves and promotes the heritage and culture of Abu Dhabi emirate and leverages them in the development of a world-class, sustainable destination of distinction, which enriches the lives of visitors and residents alike. The organization manages the emirate’s tourism sector and markets the destination internationally through a wide range of activities aimed at attracting visitors and investment. Its policies, plans and programs relate to the preservation of heritage and culture, including protecting archaeological and historical sites and to developing museums, including Zayed National Museum, Guggenheim Abu Dhabi, and the Louvre Abu Dhabi. DCT - Abu Dhabi supports intellectual and artistic activities and cultural events to nurture a rich cultural environment and honour the emirate’s heritage. A key role is to create synergy in the destination’s development through close co-ordination with its wide-ranging stakeholder base.
© Press Release 2019