(MENAFN Press) British Council Announce 'Sketches by Boz' Competition Winners at 2012 Abu Dhabi International Book Fair
1 April, 2012 (Dubai, United Arab Emirates): The winners of the nationwide challenge for artists in the UAE to be inspired by Charles Dickens' work have been announced over the weekend at the Abu Dhabi International Book Fair.
Proving that inspiration knows no cultural, geographical or language boundaries, the country's artists enthusiastically accepted the British Council's challenge to capture the essence of their cities through the works of legendary British writer, Charles Dickens.
Emirati artist and student Amal Zainal Alkhaja, winner of the 18 Illustration category, chose the Dubai Metro as the basis for her sketch of the city.
"I wanted to go beyond the architectural aspect of the metro and go deeper, watch the people and observe their movements, activities and conversations then capture that in my drawings." Alkhaja said.
Comic strip writer, artist and editor ILYA, invited guest of the British Council at ADIBF 2012 and who judged the illustration categories said, "Amal's entry wins because it concentrates on the ordinary citizens as commuters through the clean lines and bright colours of their steel and glass environment, uniting depiction of the city with its people."
Drawing inspiration from Dickens' alleged last words on nature and art, Indian general practitioner Dr Ashwin Pillai was announced the winner of the 18 Creative Writing category in English.
"A city is made of a collective consciousness of the people that live in it. And amongst emotions, I have tried to capture an emotion of love, longing and homesickness that all expatriates like me feel after having left their home country in search of greener pastures," he said.
Judge of the category, British author and invited guest of British Council at ADIBF 2012, Philip Ardagh, said of the entry: "Dr Pillai not only manages to create a totally convincing setting, but also very human story at its heart, and all in so few words, which is no mean feat."
Emirati writer and journalism graduate Mona Khalifa Obaid Mohammed Hammoudi, winner of the 18 Creative Writing category in Arabic, for her take on 'Sketching the City'.
"This work is a description of my city, Dibba Fujairah, one of the historical cities in the Arabian Peninsula. Dibba is an open window on modernity and authenticity at the same time, and you can find the magic of history, simplicity, inherent love among the people and beautiful nature in this city," she said.
Egyptian poet Ahmad Yamani said of Mona's entry: "What I found so unique about Mona's piece was how she could so descriptively cover one full day in her city, passing very smoothly on different aspects of Dibba, including the spectacular nature and deep history of the city, without forgetting the human aspect by describing the daily life of the different types of people lving in the city, in such a spectacular way."
The competition was part of the global celebrations throughout 2012 marking the bicentenary of the famous novelist, which called for aspiring writers and illustrators to connect the legacy of Dickens' early sketch work with the rapidly changing cities in which they live.
"The calibre of entries British Council received from artists across the UAE was astounding, and reaffirms the UAE's position as a burgeoning creative and artistic community. We are incredibly pleased to showcase the winners to the country and to the world," said Michel Bechara, Head of Projects, British Council UAE.
Charles Dickens began his first attempts at authorship in 1836 under the pseudonym 'Boz', wandering around London and capturing the essence and character of the city in short narratives. The competition, Sketches by Boz: Sketching the City, launched on Wednesday 1 February 2012.
Winners for the below categories were also announced:
Between 14 and 17: Creative Writing - Describing the City “ English: Chandeep Seth
Between 14 and 17: Creative Urban Illustration “ Sketches and Painting: Khalifa Al Saeedi
Audience Choice (with 171 'likes' on Facebook): Between 14 and 17: Creative Writing “ Describing the City “ Ayatollah Yehia