The pulsating rhythm of traditional drums and Emirati folk songs, led by the Sharjah National Band, are welcoming children and adults from around the world to the Sharjah pavilion at the 59th Bologna Children’s Book Fair (BCBF), where the emirate is being celebrated as Guest of Honour.
The band, clad in traditional Emirati clothing, is showcasing the UAE’s heritage through folk dances originating from every corner of the country, across its desert landscapes and coastal areas to the mountainous regions.
Lined up with cameras and smartphones, scores of visitors are recording the lively traditional performances and inquiring about the musical instruments and various dance forms presented by the band. The performances are drawing onlookers inside the Sharjah pavilion, where the rich literary legacy of Emirati and Arab cultures are being spotlighted through an extensive collection of translated publications and children’s books, as well as exquisite works of calligraphy by renowned Emirati and Arab calligraphers.
Emirati ladies showcased traditional henna designs and techniques, in addition to presenting UAE’s traditional art of dollmaking. Ladies and girls visiting the Sharjah pavilion have had their hands and forearms adorned with intricate henna designs, and admired the handmade dolls that highlight the beauty of Emirati traditional dresses and garments.
The Sharjah Guest of Honour pavilion has taken centerstage at BCBF as a networking platform for representatives of the UAE’s publishing sector and their Italian and European counterparts to discuss opportunities for collaboration, including copyright and publishing deals. The pavilion is also providing participating authors, publishers, and illustrators with a stimulating space for knowledge exchange.