Sheikha Bodour bint Sultan Al Qasimi, Head of the Sharjah World Book Capital (SWBC) Advisory Committee and Vice President of International Publishers Association (IPA) inaugurated the ‘Fairytales Come True: Worlds from the Imagination of Hans Christian Andersen’ exhibition at Sharjah Art Museum on Sunday (March 1). The exhibition, which was created in celebration of Sharjah World Book Capital 2019, is organised by the UAE Board on Books for Young People (UAEBBY) in collaboration with Sharjah Museums Authority
Sheikha Bodour bint Sultan Al Qasimi, Head of the Sharjah World Book Capital (SWBC) Advisory Committee and Vice President of International Publishers Association (IPA) inaugurated the ‘Fairytales Come True: Worlds from the Imagination of Hans Christian Andersen’ exhibition at Sharjah Art Museum on Sunday (March 1). The exhibition, which was created in celebration of Sharjah World Book Capital 2019, is organised by the UAE Board on Books for Young People (UAEBBY) in collaboration with Sharjah Museums Authority.
The interactive and experiential celebration of the acclaimed Danish writer’s life and works is the first of its kind in the Arab region and will be displayed at the Sharjah Art Museum for three months until May 30. Andersen’s rich literary legacy and his contributions to children’s literature are honoured every year on April 2nd – the author’s birthday and International Children’s Book Day.
Her Excellency Noura bint Mohammed Al Kaabi, UAE Minister of Culture and Knowledge Development; Her Excellency Hessa Buhumaid, UAE Minister of Community Development; Manal Ataya, Director-General of Sharjah Museums Authority (SMA); ; Salha Gabish, General Director of the Media and Cultural Office of the Supreme Council for Family Affairs (SCFA); Ahlam Bolooki, Director of the Emirates Airline Festival of Literature; Abdullatif Al Hammadi, Director of Etisalat’s Public Relations were present at the opening ceremony.
Fifteen rooms at the Sharjah Art Museum will be dedicated to displays of items, drawings and artworks Andersen created as well as themes inspired by some of his greatest fairytale stories. Props and digital solutions will bring his literary works to life at the exhibition.
Marwa Al Aqroubi, President of the UAEBBY said, “The Sharjah World Book Capital 2019 celebrations promote cross-cultural communication by enabling the UAE community’s direct engagement with literary and artistic creations from around the world. This unique exhibition celebrates the creativity of one of the greatest storytellers of all time. The enduring appeal of Hans Christian Andersen’s fairy tales which have been translated into many languages, although set in a different time period and culture, have much to teach us almost 200 years later, and ties in with our belief that knowledge is timeless and that creativity fosters intercultural dialogue”.
“We are hosting this exhibition as part of our mission to promote a culture of reading among children and young people and opening their minds to the remarkable wonders of story books. We believe that bright minds can create a better future,” she added.
Manal Ataya, Director-General of Sharjah Museums Authority (SMA), said: “We are delighted to be part of the Sharjah World Book Capital calendar and contribute in achieving the Emirate’s strategic goals that are in harmony with its cultural position, where all art forms from literature to painting are celebrated as essential for one’s growth and knowledge. With the UAE Board of Books for Young People as our partner, we are excited to showcase the creativity of Hans Christian Andersen, whose fairytales have been an inspiration to adults and children alike.”
“Given the popularity of Andersen’s works that have been translated to numerous languages, we believe that this exhibition will attract many children and adults from different cultures and backgrounds residing in the UAE, and that they will connect with the deep values and universal lessons embedded in the author’s books.”
A rich cultural programme for young readers on the side-lines of the exhibition
Happening alongside the exhibition are a series of workshops and activities in both Arabic and English designed to enhance children’s creative and thinking skills. Children can join workshops to illustrate a creative cover for The Little Mermaid and The Ugly Duckling; or take part in activities such as ink blotting, designing fanciful costumes from strips of cloth, shadow theatre and the creative art of paper cutting and folding, all of which are pursuits that Andersen himself enjoyed. Several story telling sessions will be held from March to May and children will be encouraged to draw their favourite characters after listening to a story or rewrite the fairytales and give a free rein to their imagination by adding an Emirati twist to the tale!
All programmes are offered free of charge.
In addition, a creative writing and fantasy drawing competition is also being organised for children. Organisers will accept original written work between 500 and 1,000 words which will be judged on the moral values it imparts, and its imaginative content while the drawing competition must feature a fantasy scene with human goals and moral lessons, and be produced on an A3 canvas in acrylic colours.
All final works should be submitted at Sharjah Art Museum no later than Thursday, April 30, 2020.
Visitors to the exhibition can also hashtag their experience with #WorldofHans on their socials for a chance to win exciting prizes.