“Asilah Forum” discusses the relationship between literary and artistic achievements
The reality and manifestations of the relationship between the Arabic novel and the visual arts, and thus between Arab novelists, artists and filmmakers, were the focus of the second day of the symposium “Arab Novel and Visual Discourse” within the activities of the 44th “ Assilah Forum.”
The interventions and discussions of the participants in the three sessions of the symposium, which was chaired by the Egyptian novelist Mai Al-Tilmisani, demonstrated the importance of the relationship at the level of both literary and artistic achievements, highlighting the positive sides of the openness of society were emphasized. writing a novel about the aesthetics of art and film.
Mojab Saeed Al-Adawani, the Saudi critic and university professor, attempted to shed light on two works of Arabic novels, ‘My Journey, O Sergeant’ by Saudi novelist Raja Alam, and ‘The Confinement of a Continent’ by Moroccan novelist Saeed Bensaïd Al-Alawi, from the perspective of their relationship to visual discourse.
Al-Adwani said in the context of his treatment of the novel Alam: The antiquity in dealing with writing was not only an inspiration for the heritage dimension, based on the fact that the work of the Saudi writer is based on the aspect of interrelationships . and connection with visual art, through a written text and 10 accompanying artistic paintings, signed by her sister. It is as if these paintings are going to add other dimensions to the written text, in a way that bridges the gap between the written and the visual the first step to cross the bridge of modernity, adding: “I saw that this work is a mixture of modernity and antiquity.” He also discussed the mythological dimension in the novel, and its use of spaces of whiteness.
As for Al-Alawi’s novel, Al-Adwani adds: ‘It has two storylines. The first refers to the French painter Eugène Delacroix’s relationship with Morocco and the paintings he inspired from it, which provide important clues to consolidate the country’s history. these paintings in Morocco also have a human meaning, because they are a field of love and beauty between people, Moroccans and French.
Katia Ghosn, the Lebanese critic and professor at the University of Paris 8, spoke on the topic “Cinema is impenetrable in the Arabic novel and questions Western modernity.” Aiming to explore how the Arabic novel expressed the relationship between East and West by incorporating cinema as its subject.
In her article, Ghosn focused on four novels: ‘Sarah’ by Egypt’s Abbas Mahmoud Al-Akkad, ‘The Inlusion of Meryl Streep’ by Lebanese Rashid Al-Daif, ‘Harmah’ by Yemeni Ali Al-Muqri, and ‘ The trained dog of my country” by the Egyptian Muhammad Alaa El-Din.
She said, “Sarah” and “Merl Streep’s Inlusion,” even though far apart in place and time, offer a similar view of modernity, drawn from the Renaissance movement. I also talked about common aspects and overlap at the level of the story between the two works. As for the other two works, they expressed the topic of the cultural shift, but in a different approach and with a different idea about the cultural transformations in the relationship with the West.
Ghosn returned to the history of cinema in the Arab world, noting that its appearance was linked to the beginning of the Arab Renaissance. She said: The greatest example of the intersection of the worlds of novels and film in the Arab world is the Egyptian novelist Naguib Mahfouz, so 28 of his novels were adapted into films and 29 screenplays were written especially for them. Today there are other Arab novelists writing screenplays.
Egyptian critic Amani Fouad, in turn, analyzed the relationship between ‘narrative art and architectural art’, and how each architecture has a personal philosophy, stories and an extensive history of places.
Fouad said: The novel uses the techniques of one of the arts, but at the same time uses these techniques in its construction. She added that the fictional text is informed by these techniques and at the same time emphasized, so that they also become its subject and technique. I concluded that this reality imposes a series of questions concerning the way in which literary criticism, through study and analysis, deals with these stories whose structure is intertwined with a group of arts.
In her analysis, Fouad discussed three novels: ‘The Loved Boy and the Teacher’ by Turkey’s Elif Shafak, ‘Aunty Zahawi’ by Iraq’s Khudair Falih Al-Zaidi, and ‘The Mountain’ by Egypt’s Fathi Ghanem. She said: They are novels that deal with the art of architecture, and that as she read each novel she deliberately focused on the art of architecture to learn about the period or type of architecture where she has left.
For his part, the Moroccan critic and university professor Hassan Bahraoui discussed some Moroccan and even Arab paradoxes, namely that the writer only accidentally visits exhibitions or watches films, in addition to the fact that most painters and photographers do not accept to read literature except occasionally or out of necessity, and thus the chances of benefit between both parties. The writer is a writer and the artist is an artist, and in many cases there is no connection between them.
Bahrawi spoke of the relationship between composition and narrative, pointing out that the former is static and calmly pictorial, and the latter expressive and moving, governed by time and place, which are the time and place of the narrative.
Bahrawi particularly recalled the history of the novel and cinema in Europe, saying that they shared the same values and preached the same common dreams and ambitions. He also spoke about “breaking down the wall of division” between writers and artists in Morocco. As on the first day of the symposium, organizers devoted the final session, on the second day of the symposium, which was chaired by Palestinian novelist Liana Badr, to talks by novelists on examples of their fictional works. The Moroccan Mubarak Rabie read from his novel ‘Red and Black’, the Lebanese Alawiya Sobh read from her novel ‘To Love Life’, the Tunisian Hassouna Al-Mesbahi read from his novel ‘Winter Garden Night’, and the Sudanese -Egyptian Tariq Al-Tayeb read from his novels ‘Palm House’ and ‘I Roam Naked’.
Hani Naqshbandi… in a special loyalty session
During a special loyalty session held by the forum and chaired by Egyptian novelist Mai Al-Tilmisani, friends and researchers recalled scenes from the life and work of the late Saudi novelist and journalist Hani Naqshbandi.
Saudi critic and university professor Mujeeb Saeed Al-Adawani said during this session: Naqshbandi belongs to an elite group of Saudi youth, who have worked to enter the era of modernity in Arab society at the media level, and they have quickly succeeded. and with distinction. He also spoke about the other field in which the late man excelled and worked, namely novel writing, pointing out that Naqshbandi’s writing was very different from many works written in the Saudi cultural community, indicating that the place of difference is due was due to the fact that the deceased man focused on the recipient and did not address the elite, whether in his writings, writing the new sentence was one of the most prominent factors that made his works reach readers and received a large number of recipients, in addition to the acceptance of his works by many Arab critics.
For his part, Moroccan researcher and critic Charafeddine Magdoline said: Naqshbandi was part of the cultural season of Asilah, because of its human depth and the cultural aura it spread wherever it went and traveled.
Magdalena elaborated on specific moments in the history of his relationship with him, focusing on the contact they had when the deceased was working on his novel ‘Peace’. He said: Naqshbandi did not have many dreams or claims in the field of novels, and that he spoke about his work with great humility, pointing out that one of the most important achievements he made in terms of his work as a novelist was that he introduced to the culture of Andalusia, as he was very interested in it, and to details of its history and customs. He added that the late man became an important researcher in the field of Andalusian studies.
The Moroccan novelist Mubarak Rabie said: When you approach Naqshbandi or move away from him, what you are left with is that he is a person who can be said to be transparent. You approach him and find him friendly and smiling, and you meet him as if he were on a date with you, as if he wasn’t waiting for someone else.
Rabie added: All this expresses a characteristic of Naqshbandi’s deep human and cultural qualities, adding that he was a man who did not anger anyone.
Rabie also spoke about Naqshbandi’s relationship with the Asilah season, and how he volunteered in his workshops, hoping to serve Arab culture.
After talking about his experiences with the novel, Rabie pointed out that the deceased loved Morocco. That is why he lovingly explored his Andalusian heritage, his Arab culture and Arab glory.
For his part, the Tunisian writer Hassouna Al-Mesbahi, in recalling the friendship that brought him together with Naqshbandi, drew on a quote from the German poet Rilke, that life always says yes and no at the same time. As for death, it is the true proof, because it only says yes to eternity.
Al-Mesbahi said: He did not think that Naqshbandi, the calm man who spoke about life smiling and happily, could disappear so quickly and in such a way.
As for Saudi journalist Hussein Al-Harbi, he said: Naqshbandi lived for sixty years as a noble bubulul, life was sweetened by his strength, he moved and brought his humanity, kindness, love and tolerance, which helped him overcome his rivals brought together. Al-Harbi added that Naqshbandi’s extensive lectures on the sociology and psychology of life were used in his narrative work. One day he wrote in the introduction to one of his novels: ‘I often felt that life was repeating itself without our will. I imagine that God gives us the opportunity to rediscover ourselves and get rid of our sins so that we can become purer and closer to Him.”