SCRF 2021 highlights the power of finding creativity through folklore
Cultural discussion at 12th edition of Sharjah Children’s Reading Festival
explores how traditional heritage inspires writers and artists
“My wish for the world is that all cultures are celebrated, stories continue to be written, and that one day, every child will find themselves within the pages of a book,” said Dinara Mirtalipova, a self-taught illustrator and designer, while speaking at a cultural discussion on the opening day of the 12th Sharjah Children’s Reading Festival at Expo Centre Sharjah.
Mirtalipova, whose captivating folkloric art is inspired by the rich traditions of her Uzbek/Russian roots, was speaking at a session titled, ‘The Power of Folklore’, held at SCRF’s Cultural Forum. The session also hosted Egyptian novelist, Tayeb Adib, and explored how writers and artists could gain creative inspiration from their respective traditional heritage.
“Folk art is art of the people; it is what connects us to our roots,” said Mirtalipova, who has worked with publishing companies, popular consumer brands, and ad agencies.
She added: “Illustration is silent story telling. When you read aloud a story, it is the illustration that visually connects what a child is hearing to what he/she is seeing. It is important therefore that every culture is represented in the pages of a book.”
In the era of globalisation, heritage plays a vital role in strengthening one’s identity, said Tayeb Adib, a popular children’s writer. “Arab writers and artists have traditionally drawn on our ancient heritage of oral storytelling and folkloric culture to create beautiful literary masterpieces.”
“Our folklore is rich and powerful; and it is not just through books but by establishing centres dedicated to folk traditions that we must keep our heritage alive,” he said.
The Egyptian author added: “Many people question the relevance of folkloric traditions in the age of drones and space exploration. However, without heritage, no nation can prosper.”
The 12th edition of SCRF is being held under the theme ‘For Your Imagination’. Taking place at Expo Centre Sharjah, it is the region’s largest and most important festival of its kind. This year, 32 authors from the Arab region and around the world will be speaking on the SCRF platform across 30 literary events, which will take place in Sharjah, Kalba, Dibba Al Hisn, Dubai, Fujairah and Ras Al Khaimah.