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Emirates News Agency – UAE launches ‘folktale reinvention’ Korean chapter in Seoul

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SEOUL, 19th June, 2023 (WAM) — Sheikha Bodour bint Sultan Al Qasimi, Chairman of the Sharjah Book Authority (SBA) and Founder and Patron of the UAE Book Board for Youth (UAEBBY), contributed to the third edition of the ‘Folktales Reimagined’ project Held in Seoul, South Korea, as part of the Sharjah VIP Program at the Seoul International Book Fair 2023. The Hangeul section of the project is the result of close collaboration between UAEBBY and the Korean Committee for Books for Young People (KBBY) and the National Library for Children and Youth (NLCY) – located in Seoul A dedicated branch of the National Library of Korea.

Part of this creative project is a 10-part exhibition featuring artistic retellings of centuries-old stories from the folklore heritage of the UAE and Korea by 5 artists from the UAE and Korea, who interact with folk tales from each other’s countries , and visually reinterpreted these stories to present their own unique vision.

Ahmed bin Rakkad Al Ameri, CEO of SBA, Marwa Al-Aqroubi, President of UAEBBY, attended the opening of the NLCY exhibition; Dr. Abdulaziz Al Musallam, Chairman of the Sharjah Heritage Institute; Ali Al Marri, Director of Dr. Sultan Al Qasimi Center; UAE Publishers Association ( Rashid Al Kous, Executive Director, EPA; Lee Hae Young, President, Sejong Institute; Yi Chongyeol, Director, Regional Cultural Policy Division, Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism; Park Juok, Director, National Library for Children and Youth; representatives of Sharjah cultural entities participating in the book fair , Sharjah delegation and illustrator.

After successful creative collaborations with Italy and Mexico and two critically acclaimed exhibitions in those countries, Folktales Reimagined continues to promote cultural expression and creative exchange between the UAE and the world with this iteration in Korea.

Marwa Al Aqroubi noted: “UAEBBY’s ‘FolkTales Reimagined’ project has found a permanent place in our various intercultural initiatives since becoming part of the Sharjah World Book Capital (SBWC) programme, witnessing a wonderful Collaboration with the National Library of Children and Youth (NLCY) in Korea.Five artists from the UAE and South Korea delve into each other’s folklore traditions, reimagining well-loved characters and stories to create a visual journey that brings together the two folktale traditions coming together to create new fuel for young imaginations.”

She further added: “Through this creative project, which is essentially a dialogue between cultures and a fusion of ideas and expressions, we continue our aim by respecting heritage while promoting intercultural dialogue and the exchange of ideas.”

Youn Chohye’s choice, The Gazelle Boy, celebrates the power of brotherhood, highlighting the challenges faced by disadvantaged children, their unwavering determination, and the kindness of strangers in times of need; while Mun Jeongin’s retelling of Waq Waq Island highlights The importance of taking responsibility for one’s own actions.

Cho Yeong’s selection, Al Rajoul Al Booma (The Owl Man), is a touching desert story about Shamsa, who longs to be with her husband Mattar, but her brothers insist that she give birth in their ancestral home.

The story of Baeer Bela Ras (the headless camel), a testament to the importance of camels in Emirati culture and history, is deftly reinterpreted by Kim Sinae; and finally, Jo Suna retells Khonfor Zonfor, a man whose marriage, jealousy and liberation were common theme story.

South Korea’s multiculturalism takes on new looks and colors under the vivid imagination of Emirati illustrators. Alia Al Shamsi vividly captures the enchanting tale of the Fairy and the Woodman, where the worlds of humans and fairies collide, only to reveal that what drives both is love and affection.

The story of Pheasant’s Unforgettable Debt revolves around vital themes of sacrifice, redemption and the interconnectedness of action, reimagined with the eye and hands of an expert, as Arwa AlSalami transforms culture into art to inspire others.

Hungboo and Nolboo is a compelling story of two brothers who walk two very different paths to glory and face the consequences, teaching readers the importance of honest behavior, captured by talented local artist Aliyah AlAwadhi.

Reem AlMazrouei brings to life the essence of Kongji and Patji, telling a story of perseverance overcoming odds, while Sharjah-born Nasir Nasrallah brings to life the story of the Snail Bride, demonstrating the power of kindness, The rewards of honesty and the transformation of alter ego. It happens when true love is recognized and celebrated.

The Folktales Reimagined project successfully transcends generations and cultures, with centuries-old stories retold by young Emirati artists who collaborate with counterparts in Italy, Mexico and now South Korea to visually reimagine popular figures from each other’s folklore heritage .

The UAE Book Board for Youth (UAEBBY) is the local branch of the International Book Board for Youth (IBBY) in the United Arab Emirates. UAEBBY was officially established in 2010 to promote a reading culture for children and youth in the UAE. UAEBBY has a wide range of programs and initiatives in place to help publishers, authors and illustrators hone their skills, share expertise and contribute to the enrichment of Arabic children’s literature, while providing children’s book professionals with the training courses they need and through Children’s literature promotes intercultural understanding of literature.

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