The Judging Panel of the Sharjah Exhibition for Children’s Book Illustrations has completed the selection of winning works of the exhibition’s third edition. The names of winners will be announced during the sixth edition of the Sharjah Children’s Reading Festival in the middle of next month.
The Exhibition will be held on the sidelines of the Sharjah Children’s Reading Festival, scheduled to take place from 15 April to 25 April at Expo Centre Sharjah and the winners will be awarded cash prizes to the value of $21,000.
The Organizing Committee of the exhibition had earlier invited professional artists from all over the world to participate in the illustration competition. The participating artworks must be original, with a minimum of 3 illustrations, and a maximum of 6, all covering the same story. Each illustration needs to tackle an issue related to values of humanity. Illustrators are free to choose colours, materials and techniques as well as the topic of works.
The jury received entries from more than 96 Arab and foreign artists who compete to win the first three places. The first place will be awarded $8,000, the second $6,000, and the third $4,000. The Fair will also award 3 incentive awards, each worth $1,000, to outstanding artwork.
Speaking on the occasion, Ahmed Bin Rakkad Al Ameri, Director of Sharjah International Book Fair (SIBF), said: “We have noticed an increase in the quality of the submitted applications as well as in the number of entries from year to year, adding a new feather to Sharjah’s cap of achievements and its rich cultural scheme laid by His Highness Sheikh Dr Sultan bin Muhammad Al Qasimi, Member of the Supreme Council and Ruler of Sharjah, who continually provides every form of support to the exhibition and under whose directives the exhibition is constantly being developed and expanded to be a gift to all of the world’s children.”
Al Ameri added that the 3rd edition of the Sharjah Exhibition for Children’s Book Illustrations would be a very special event and the largest edition yet, as it coincides with the Sharjah Islamic Culture Capital 2014 celebrations.
The SIBF Director commended the efforts of the Jury, whose members employed the utmost impartiality in evaluating the works competing for the prizes in order to maintain the exhibition’s reputation and position as well as its leading role in enriching the children’s book library with the most beautiful illustrations and outstanding works of art.
Al Ameri pointed out that the exhibition has become one of the most prominent art exhibitions, garnering interest from a broader spectrum of professionals concerned with children’s literature, including artists, authors and publishers than ever before, due to its great contribution to the development of children’s literature and its focus on encouraging children to read.
The Jury is composed of three prominent artists and art critics, namely Egyptian fine artist Ihab Shaker, one of the leading illustrators of children’s books and magazines in the Arab world and Europe, and Sudanese artist Dr Hassan Mousa, one of the most important contemporary African artists, whose works showcased at the African Art Museum in New York and the Centre Georges Pompidou Centre in Paris, the Mori Art Museum in Tokyo.
The Jury also includes award-winning Canadian artist Sara Tyson who has experience of 30 years in illustration and graphic design.
Members of the Jury expressed their happiness and satisfaction with selecting the winning works after weeks of examination and evaluation.
Artist Ihab shaker said that selecting the winning works of the Sharjah Children’s Book Illustrations Exhibition is the most difficult part of the Jury’s duties, especially as it concerns dealing with artworks dedicated to children, and entering into the child’s world is a very difficult task in itself.
“Children’s illustrations must be selected carefully because these illustrations will appear in future stories, which will be read by children, and encourage their imagination, ” Ihab Shaker said, adding that the winning illustration must imitate their world, and be rich in creativity and excitement that can attract children to read books.
Sarah Tayson, member of the Judging Panel, said, “The Sharjah Exhibition for Children’s Book Illustration is a great learning experience. As we are looking at the artwork of so many artists, it is very difficult to judge them because there are so many different ways to tell a story. As an artist myself, I can look at the technical details of the artwork, the rich experience behind it, the composition and depth of the piece of art.” She added that there were many artworks that were admired by the jury.
Dr Hassan Mousa noted that the entries were characterized by their artistic richness and depth as they deal with various topics related to the children’s world. “Each piece of work incorporates a lot of expertise, experience and ideas, particularly in view of the participation of artists from all around the world. Each artist has his own style worthy of praise and appreciation, but the Jury eventually agreed on three art pieces that deserve to win the prizes in the first three places, along with the incentive prizes.”
The 3rd edition of the Sharjah Exhibition for Children’s Book Illustrations is due to be held on the sidelines of the Sharjah Children’s Reading Festival, which will take place from 15-25 April 2014.
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Aliaa Al Ori