Sharjah: English actor and writer Mr. Humza Arshad joined forces with Emirati artist Sumayyah Al Suwaidi, known for her multiple accolades, and Kuwaiti publisher Mr. Mohammed Shaker Jaraq at the Sharjah Children’s Reading Festival (SCRF). Their mission was to discover the most effective approaches for nurturing passion among young individuals, harnessing the power of the creative industries.
Under the expert moderation of keynote speaker and presenter Ms. Sally Mousa, an engaging session unfolded, delving into the profound impact of the creative industry on shaping the minds of children. The esteemed panel, including Ms. Mousa, Mr. Arshad, acclaimed Emirati artist Ms. Sumayyah Al Suwaidi, and Mr. Jaraq, emphasized the transformative potential of creative pursuits.
Mr. Jaraq highlighted the ability of the creative industry to expose young minds to a diverse range of imaginative and educational experiences, igniting their intellectual curiosity and fostering boundless creativity. Recognizing the inherent power of human thought and creation, the session unveiled the inspiring possibilities that lie within the realm of the creative arts.
When asked how the creative industry impacts a child’s overall development and whether it can foster creativity in them and capture their interest, Ms. Al Suwaidi, who’s exhibited in art exhibitions and fashion shows around the world, remarked that, “The Arab world should include creative arts and expression in school. It is the schools where the children spend most of their time of the day and they must spend long hours being creative. [Creative arts] cannot be a side curriculum anymore. It has become more essential than ever before [to include creative arts in mainstream]. It is a way forward.”
In a thought-provoking discussion on representation within the arts, Mr. Arshad, renowned for his web series Diary of a Bad Man (2010–13) and Badman (2015–present), emphasized the significance of inclusivity. Arshad expressed the vital need for showcasing diverse cultures, individuals, and alternative approaches across the global stage. While acknowledging the progress made thus far, he also underscored the considerable journey that lies ahead in achieving true representation and breaking down barriers. Through his words, Mr. Arshad illuminated the imperative of embracing a multitude of perspectives and experiences to enrich the artistic landscape.
“We just need to encourage expressions from different writers from different backgrounds. We need them to share their stories,” stated the English comedian of Pakistani descent whose homemade YouTube videos have been viewed more than 100 million times, making him one of the most popular online comedians in the UK.