Manal Ataya, Director General of Sharjah Museums Authority (SMA), confirmed the importance of art and cultural diplomacy in building knowledge, enhancing human communication and raising awareness of social and global issues.
On the occasion of a virtual seminar titled “Social Support in the World of Art”, organised by the “She is Arab” platform, Ms Ataya highlighted the importance of cultural diplomacy as a tool capable of creating a positive impact on people helping them find common bonds with each other, build greater knowledge through mutual understanding and accepting differences.
The talk was about enhancing the role of women in leadership positions in entrepreneurship. The webinar dealt with several important topics, including the pivotal role that culture and art play in supporting communication among people, and their ability to educate the masses on global issues.
During the session, moderated by Samar Al Shurafa, co-founder of the “She is Arab” platform, Ataya pointed out that art is a global language that allows people to seamlessly understand and think about many issues and empathise with them, citing the Palestinian cause as an example describing it as a tragedy at the human and global level. She explained that one could show sympathy with this issue through art be it paintings, filmmaking, or literature.
Ataya stressed that preserving the art and cultural heritage of any country is to preserve its existence as this heritage is often targeted in conflicts as part of a systematic strategy to obliterate identity.
She further expounded that the Authority supports global issues and contributes to building bridges connecting people to each other, pointing out that the Authority, in cooperation with the Africa Institute in Sharjah, is currently hosting an exhibition of the Ethiopian photographer Aida Muluneh under the title ” “Homebound: A Journey in Photography”, which coincided with the shift of international attention to the dilemma of racial inequality in the United States of America after the tragic death of George Floyd.
Farah Nabulsi, Palestinian filmmaker and founder of Native Liberty Production, who reviewed her experience in employing art to serve the Palestinian cause after a visit to Palestine that, formed a turning point in her career, participated in the seminar.
Nabulsi indicated that she uses art as a tool to humanise Palestinians from behind the screen and to influence public opinion, considering art as the best tool for communication among people.