ABU DHABI, 16th March, 2022 (WAM) — The Abu Dhabi Arabic Language Centre (ALC), part of the Department of Culture and Tourism – Abu Dhabi (DCT Abu Dhabi), has launched the first edition of a new award to honour Nabati poetry, folkloric studies and research.
The ”Treasured Sayings Award” will be granted to scholars and creators whose works highlight the rich history and heritage of Nabati poetry and its inherent values.
The Award was inspired by the poetry of the UAE’s Founding Father, the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, and draws its name from one of his most renowned works. It aims to elevate poetry and underline its role as a mirror that reflects society and preserves its core values.
Dr. Ali bin Tamim, Chairman of the ALC, said, “The Emirati folklore and heritage associated with Nabati poetry is rooted in our country’s rich history. This art form was embraced by our Founding Father, the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, who sought to use poetry to inspire feelings of belonging and national identity among the people of the UAE, particularly children and youth. The UAE’s wise leadership continues along that same path, launching this new Award to not only honour and preserve this revered literary tradition but also to align with our core mission of increasing engagement with the Arabic language.”
He added that the name of the Award embodies the ‘treasured’ status that poetry occupies in Emirati and Arab minds. The word ‘Gheel’ (sayings) refers to poems in the Emirati dialect. He explained the Arabic spelling of this matches that of the Arabic word for ‘generation’, establishing a connection between poetry and sayings, on one hand, and future generations, on the other.
The Treasured Sayings Award will honour and promote distinguished poetic works, and highlight the aesthetics and values of Emirati and Arab cultures that are present throughout the late Sheikh Zayed’s poetry. In helping to preserve the art form of Nabati poetry, the Award aims to strengthen the cultural identity of future generations by connecting them more closely with their heritage.
Along with offering special sabbatical grants to scholars, the Award will promote Nabati poetry to the widest possible audiences, with grants given for translations of the poetry of Sheikh Zayed, as well as many other influential Nabati works, into various living languages.
The Award will feature six different categories, with a total prize pool of AED1.5 million. These include Poetry Matching, which will be awarded to the poem that most closely matches one of Sheikh Zayed’s poems in rhythm and rhyme, and Creative Personality, granted to a candidate who has made outstanding and effective creative contributions to Nabati poetry and affiliated studies, as well as in music, singing, drawing and Arabic calligraphy. The Arts category considers works of art that use visual tools to read, perform, and embody Sheikh Zayed’s poetry and Nabati poetry in general. These include Arabic calligraphy, plastic art, short films, or singing. The Studies and Research award is granted to research studies on Nabati poetry which address the methods, content and lexicon of this poetry in a scientific manner.
The Poetic Publications category recognises Nabati poetry books that are authentic in both form and content and constitute a notable addition to this poetic field. Finally, the Translation award considers translations of Sheikh Zayed’s poetry into living languages, or works that have rendered a great service in translating Arabic poetry into other languages.
ALC has set criteria for Award nominees, and potential candidates must have actively contributed to enriching local and Arab poetic, critical, or artistic movements. Nominated works must also boast a high degree of originality and innovation, making significant contributions to culture and knowledge.
Each candidate can submit only one work for one of the Award’s categories. A nominated work cannot be submitted for another award in person or by proxy in the same year. Nominated works must also be written in Arabic, with the exception of the translation branch, where the Award is given to poems translated from Arabic into other languages, and studies may be submitted in other living languages.
Nominations must come from academic, research, and cultural institutions, or the Higher Committee of the Award, which is led by experts in Nabati poetry, heritage, and culture.