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Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 16 December 2018

Shh! First silent book exhibition to take place in Sharjah

Visitors can expect to see 54 wordless pictures on display, and three of these are from the Arab region

Marwa Al Aqroubi, president of the UAE Board on Books for Young People. Courtesy UAEBBY
Marwa Al Aqroubi, president of the UAE Board on Books for Young People. Courtesy UAEBBY

The first Silent Book Exhibition in the Middle East will be taking place in Sharjah this August.

The initiative was founded by the International Board on Books for Young People (IBBY) in 2012, as a response to the arrival of African and Middle Eastern refugees migrating to the Italian island of Lampedusa. To avoid language barrier conflicts, the project provided the refugee children with picture books devoid of text.

The exhibition launched in Rome in 2015, and the Sharjah Art Foundation will be hosting the UAE edition. Visitors can expect to see 54 wordless pictures on display, and three of these are from the Arab region.

“The language of pictures is universal, and can be more powerful in its communicative abilities than spoken language or the written word”, said Marwa Al Aqroubi, president of the UAE Board on Books for Young People (UAEBBY).

“We have seen how wordless books in the Silent Book Collection have been presenting young refugees with the most fascinating opportunities to share experiences with each other, get educated, have fun and alleviate the emotional and psychological stress they underwent during their trip.”

Activities and workshops aimed at publishers and illustrators will also take place during the Sharjah edition of the exhibition, which will launch on August 1 at The Flying Saucer, and will last for 8 weeks.