During ‘Sharjah Literary Days’ organised by SBA in Spain’s current and historic cultural capitals
- Ahmed Al Ameri, SBA Chairman: Madrid and Cordoba’s appreciation of Sheikh Dr. Sultan’s contributions to the Arab and international theatre reveal the depth of historical and cultural bonds between Arabs and Spaniards.
- Majid Al Suwaidi, UAE Ambassador to Spain: SBA’s continuous efforts to make Arabic literature globally accessible by sponsoring international translation projects is commendable.
- Bachar Yaghi, Ambassador of Arab League to Spain: I am proud to witness this great cultural exchange that has showcased Arabic and Emirati literature to Spain and other Spanish-speaking countries of the world.
For immediate release
Sharjah, October 9, 2021
The popular theatrical works of His Highness Sheikh Dr. Sultan bin Muhammad Al Qasimi, Member of the Supreme Council and Ruler of Sharjah, have received a grand reception in Madrid and Cordoba, the historic capital of Andalusia.
Elite intellectuals and academics have discussed and celebrated the rich legacy of Sharjah Ruler’s theatrical works, including those translated into Spanish, as part of the ‘Sharjah Literary Days’ event organised by the Sharjah Book Authority (SBA) in cooperation with Cása Árabe, which is operated as the strategic centre for Spain’s relations with the Arab world. The event follows a 2019 agreement between SBA and Cása Árabe, which was signed in the presence of His Highness the Ruler of Sharjah to strengthen bilateral collaboration.
The event was held in the presence of HE Ahmed bin Rakkad Al Ameri, SBA Chairman; HE Majid Hassan Mohamed Al Suwaidi, Ambassador of the United Arab Emirates to the Kingdom of Spain; HE Dr. Abdul Aziz Al Musallam, Chairman of the Sharjah Institute for Heritage; Bachar Yaghi, Ambassador of the League of Arab States to the Kingdom of Spain; diplomats, media persons, and officials representing the UAE and Spain.
Sheikh Sultan Al Qasimi’s theatrical works are true hallmarks of his great intellect
Moderated by Muhammad Majid Al Suwaidi, two sessions to discuss a selection of the most notable works of His Highness Sheikh Dr. Sultan Al Qasimi were organised in Cása Árabe in Madrid and in Cordoba.
Emirati actor and producer, Ahmed Al Jasmi; actor and theatre researcher Lola Botello; and Spanish writer and playwright Julieta Soria, led the discussions, which began with a video presentation of His Highness’ works including Nimrod, Holaku’s Return, Reality .. A True Copy, The Case, Alexander the Great, Mighty Samson, Da’esh (ISIS) and Al Ghabra’a, and The Book of Allah: A Play on The Conflict between Light and Darkness.
Speaking about the plays, Al Jasmi said: “The theatrical works of the Ruler of Sharjah are based on historical events, not just as a narration of the past, but also to provide context to the incidents. History gives us the opportunity to learn from past mistakes, and helps us understand the many reasons why people may behave the way they do. Most importantly, His Highness very subtly urges us to heed the lessons that history teaches us so as not to repeat past mistakes which can lead to chaos, confusion and even disintegration of nations.”
He added: “His Highness’ theatrical works highlight his great command over the language and precise use of words to convey a point. They are great examples of the Sharjah Ruler’s facility with words and demonstrate his love for the art form.”
For her part, Botello said: “I was very impressed with the Spanish translations of His Highness Sheikh Dr. Sultan Al Qasimi’s theatrical works which are true hallmarks of his great intellect. They convey a wealth of knowledge and address many issues related to the human experience and existence. I am truly honoured to participate in this event.”
She added: “The Sharjah Ruler’s concerns regarding history, its influence on the present and holding a key to the future finds resonance in many Spanish plays which focus on individuals and humanity, and reject violence, racism and injustice. What is striking about His Highness’ plays is the focus on the tragic consequences of wars. I recommend everyone to read His Highness’ plays to appreciate the delicate manner in which topics of war and terrorism have been handled.”
She concluded by urging Spanish and Arab playwrights to explore each other’s literature and collaborate on projects that can advance their craft.
Julieta Soria presented a comparative study of His Highness Sheikh Dr. Sultan Al Qasimi’s plays and the works of Spanish playwrights. She emphasised the Sharjah Ruler’s precise use of words to convey philosophical ideas and the skillful use of history to voice his concerns about freedom and justice. She specifically referred to the theme of Nimrod and the Black Stone, which echoed in several Spanish plays.
She also noted that HH Sheikh Dr. Sultan Al Qasimi’s works reference cultures, history and mythology while highlighting the injustices caused by wars – a common theme in Spanish theatre. The playwright concluded with the observation that the Sharjah Ruler’s plays offered valuable reflections on political crises and social conflicts.
Sharjah Ruler’s efforts in supporting the Emirati and Arab theatre
The Sharjah Ruler’s love and support has hugely elevated Emirati and Arab theatre, said Al Jasmi, adding that the Arab Theatre Institute, established under the directives of His Highness, has grown the art form through several theatre festivals.
The Emirati author noted that the idea for the Arab Theatre Institute was born when HH Sheikh Dr Sultan Al Qasimi attended World Theatre Day celebrations in Paris in 2007 in the presence of playwrights from several Arab countries.
The discussion’s attendees noted that His Highness’ works had been staged in Sweden, Madrid, Romania, France, Italy, Moscow and several other countries. They called for translating more of HH Sheikh Dr. Sultan Al Qasimi’s plays into Spanish to enrich Spain’s literary scene and boost cultural exchange with Spanish-speaking countries. Spanish is the official language of 22 countries and is spoken by 567 million people.
Speaking about Sharjah Literary Days, HE Ahmed bin Rakkad Al Ameri said: “Nations and people share histories. Only books can bring out cultural commonalities and present them as a platform for building relationships and cooperation. In alignment with the vision of the Ruler of Sharjah, SBA continues to partner with the world’s leading cultural organisations based on the core belief that culture unites nations and people and lays the foundation for a bright future.”
He added: “The Sharjah Ruler’s theatrical works are celebrated globally with renewed enthusiasm every year. Today, Madrid and Cordoba’s appreciation of Sheikh Dr. Sultan’s contributions to the Arab and international theatre reveal the depth of historical and cultural bonds between Arabs and Spaniards. It is also a tribute to Sharjah Ruler’s humanitarian values and positive messages that are embedded in his works.”
For his part, HE Majid Al Suwaidi said SBA’s continuous efforts to make Arabic literature globally accessible by sponsoring international translation projects is commendable. This included the Spanish translations of the Sharjah Ruler’s literary works, which had been gifted to the Islamic Library of the Spanish Agency for International Cooperation for Development, which operates under the Spanish Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
He added: “Sharjah’s leading efforts have led to a strengthening of cultural relations between Spain and the UAE, increasing cooperation between their cultural institutions.”
For his part, Bachar Yaghi said: “I am honoured to be in Cása Árabe and privileged to learn about Sharjah’s leading cultural efforts under the directives of His Highness Sheikh Dr Sultan Al Qasimi. The emirate has taken an effective lead in the Arab world to promoting cultural dialogue internationally. Today’s gathering – this great cultural exchange that has showcased Arabic and Emirati literature to Spain and other Spanish-speaking countries of the world – is a fruit of these efforts.”
He praised the consistent and far-sighted efforts of His Highness in promoting multifaceted cultural dialogues between Arabs and the rest of the world, which has resulted in the birth of an important body of creative and artistic works.
Yaghi also said that the UAE’s leadership was successfully upholding the friendship initiated by the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan. The late UAE President had believed that culture was the foundation for development and a bright future, and the UAE had proved the farsightedness of his vision by developing it into a successful model of progress, love and advancement.