Silk Road exhibition showcases human history - GulfToday

Silk Road exhibition showcases human history


A display of Chinese culture at Maraya Art Centre at Al Qasba in Sharjah, on Sunday.

Imran Mojib, Special Correspondent

A two-month exhibition titled ‘Silk Road Books’ opened at the Maraya Art Centre at Al Qasba in Sharjah, on Sunday. Organised by the UAE Board on Books for Young People (UAEBBY), the exhibition showcases Chinese literature and culture through the works of many Chinese and international authors and artists.

The exhibition, part of the year-long Sharjah World Book Capital 2019 celebrations, showcases the history of the Silk Road through a collection of books and manuscripts. The commercial route’s historical significance in fostering human culture as it connected major civilisations – starting from Chang’an, the capital of ancient China, to Europe through Central Asia and the Middle East, for two thousand years, covering the period 200 BC to 1600 AD – is the main message of the exhibition.

Marwa Al Aqroubi, President of the UAEBBY and Project Manager of the Sharjah World Book Capital 2019, noted that the exhibition is a unique portrayal to visitors of the importance of cultural interactions and exchange in shaping civilisations and adding value to collective human history.

“In celebration of the Sharjah World Book Capital 2019, we have made it a point to promote Chinese culture and one of world’s most celebrated icons it created, which ended up playing a crucial role in shaping our present. The Silk Road is an unparalleled example of human determination and passion for accessing different cultures and peoples worldwide. The 5,000 km Silk Road played a vital role in facilitating the exchange of scientific knowledge, new inventions, languages, arts and, of course, goods and commodities. It is an honour for Sharjah and its duty as a regional leader in culture to lead an endeavour, which shows the wealth of our centuries-old cultural journey, especially to our younger generations,” Al Aqroubi added.

The exhibition contains a collection of children’s and young adults’ books, spanning folktales, historical events, legends and contemporary literature, written and illustrated by renowned Chinese authors and artists. The exhibition also offers visitors the opportunity to explore the growth of Chinese and other Asian civilisations via a selection of 100 picture books.

In the selection displayed, there are some books written or illustrated by the likes Mauro Evangelista, Professor at the Macerata Fine Arts Academy, and the classic Chinese novel Journey to the West, which chronicles the beauty of the Silk Road and the most significant developments it witnessed. The first edition was illustrated by Czech artist Zdenek Sklenar, followed by Korean artist Shin Dong Jun, who illustrated the second edition.

An array of cultural and educational workshops, based on the curated collection, will enable especially young participants to gain a better understanding of the materials on display. Other art and music shows will also be conducted through the length of the exhibition. Traditional Chinese occasions and festivals like the harvest festival, Mid-Autumn Festival (Moon Festival) and the semi-annual national holiday, Golden Week, will also be featured at this unique event.

Recently, following an invitation from Xi Jinping, President of China, His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, visited the People’s Republic of China from 21st to 23rd July, 2019, to consolidate and strengthen the close relations between the UAE and China and their peoples.

During the visit, President Xi and His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed discussed ways of strengthening the comprehensive strategic partnership between the two countries, as well as the positive outcomes of their cooperation, while exchanging their options. They also discussed several international and regional issues of common interest and reached a common understanding of the importance of achieving international peace and security.

The UAE congratulated China’s leadership and people on the 70-year anniversary of its establishment. Both countries are also celebrating the 35-year anniversary of the establishment of their diplomatic relations in 1984, which have since witnessed considerable developments, leading to the establishment of a strategic partnership in 2012.

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