21st edition of Sharjah International Narrator Forum a celebration of storytelling from around the world

21st edition of Sharjah International Narrator Forum a celebration of storytelling from around the world

SHARJAH, 24th September 2021 The 21st edition of the Sharjah International Narrator Forum (SINF), which is organized annually by the Sharjah Institute for Heritage, is currently taking place the Expo Centre Sharjah until 24 September, under the slogan “Animal Stories”.

More than 38 countries from around the world are participating in the prestigious event, which will run until 30 September in other different places.

One goal of the event is to illuminate the stories of narrators and their heritage, especially those of the Emirates and the Arab Gulf, 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 a 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, the Emirati researcher Fatima spoke Al-Mughni, 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.

Dr Abdulaziz Al Musallam, Chairman of the Sharjah Institute for Heritage and Chairman of the Higher Organizing Committee of the Forum 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.

He spoke about his study of animals in folk literature and stated that, through 30 years of field work, he discovered that Emirati folk stories contain much symbolism, whether for glorification or out of contempt, and that every mention of an animal is related to a specific trait, such as sarcasm or pride.

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 the children were taught how to draw.

The latter introduced the children and 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 favorite animals.

An Arabic calligraphy workshop was also organized 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 at the event, it has been an honor to share the experience with his compatriot.

“As Antonio said, stories connect us.

Sometimes a story takes place in the middle of the desert and sometimes in the middle of the jungle, but generally the essence of the story is the same.

He added: “The Brothers Grimm, the famous German collectors of stories, described stories as a diamond which fell from the sky divided into many thousands of pieces.

I like to think that these pieces are used in rings, necklaces, and bracelets – we use them in any way we can.

But each one remains a little treasure, and these little treasures are all part of the bigger treasure, which belongs to the oral tradition of storytelling.

Here in Sharjah, through the SINF, the Sharjah Institute for Heritage is honoring this timeless tradition.

We come and go but the tradition of storytelling will continue.

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