Mass audiences at two of France’s best known landmarks were given a unique insight into Emirati heritage as traditional song and dance performances took to the streets and parks of Paris at Montmartre Cathedral Square and the Eiffel Tower’s Champ-de-Mars as part of Sharjah’s celebration as Special Guest City at the 38th Paris Book Fair.
Organised by the Sharjah Institute for Heritage, Sharjah National Band led the performances of songs and dances to the Parisian crowds and tourists in traditional dress in celebration of Emirati culture and its performing arts heritage. The shows and parades will take place in the mornings and evenings on the sidelines of the fair until 17 March, highlighting just one aspect of the colourful programme of events Sharjah brings to Paris.
The shows feature four artists playing different instruments and dancing which convey the history of Emirati community through pearl trading, agriculture, and hunting.
Dr. Abdulaziz Al-Musallam, Chairman of the Sharjah Institute for Heritage, SIH, said, "To be in Paris and represent Emirati community, history and heritage is a perfect example of how art and literature can help to bring different cultures together. We are able to show these multicultural crowds the richness of our backgrounds and the importance of our traditions which show our vibrant past at its best.
"These performances will not have been seen by the vast majority of the audiences before, and for SIH to have been selected to introduce our culture on such a global platform is a great honour. The response from the spectators has been overwhelming and I am sure we have helped to broaden some horizons and create some interest into the UAE’s spirit of community along the way."
The French public will also have the opportunity to enjoy the Emirati performances at the Opera House on 16th March and at the Arab World Institute’s Yard on 17th March.
The UAE delegation to the fair, which runs until 19th March and hosts 3,000 writers and 30,000 publishing professionals from around the world, comprises more than 150 Arab and Emirati authors, intellectuals, journalists and media personnel.
Former French President Francois Hollande announced Sharjah as Special Guest City at Paris Book Fair 2018, a move that reflects the emirate’s high-profile cultural stature on the global stage. It also comes in recognition of the outstanding achievements and milestones made by Sharjah, as well as of its efforts in promoting Arab culture, whether in France or in the rest of the world.