Featured Story I – Mirror Images

Mirror Images

Be careful what you wish for as sometimes the consequences will bring you somewhere you don’t want to be.

Perhaps it is human nature to argue on different things or not be satisfied over the things that they have. People who know what they want have obviously have so much passion in their life’s work as well as mix in great amount of endeavours to everything they are involved with. However, for somebody who is far from reaching their point of interest, you can see that they are willing to do just everything in their power to get it. This is their means of achieving their dreams.

This story reminds us that some wishes may cost us everything. Instead of getting everything we wish for, we might actually end up with nothing. We hope you are with us as you read this. Here it is.

Mirror Images

Author: Shamma Humaid Obaid Humaid Al Mansoori

Illustrator: Noora Abdulrahman Abdulla Abdulrahman Al Shaikh

Mirror Images

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About the Author

In order to give us more insight, and get to know the writer, we have interviewed the author Shamma Humaid Obaid Humaid Al Mansoori in regards to her story. It goes here:

1. How long have you been writing stories?
I started writing a few months before this project began.

 

2. If this is your first story, has the success of your first effort encouraged you to continue writing?
Yes these are my first stories.  I wrote “Mirror Images and Hamda’s Nightmare” for this edition of the Story Mile. Yes the publication of these stories has encouraged me to keep writing.

 

3. How did you come up with your story idea?
It all started with me sitting with my cousin and making up scary stories.

 

4. What was your objective as you plotted your story?
My goal was to recreate our “Emirati” traditional stories.

 

5. How do you think your stories can relate in today’s society?
“Mirror Images” is based on a true story.  This story and the other Story Mile tales were created to share important life lessons, not just to simply entertain.  I’ve found that some parents have a tendency to play favourites with their children and as a result jealousy grows and plays a big role in their lives. Parents shouldn’t divide their children, but guide them to do the right things in life, and understand that external beauty is not the answer to everything. 
My second story, Hamda’s Nightmare is designed to show the reader how toxic fear can be when we allow it to take over our lives.  I also wanted to promote the importance of mutual respect between life partners. 

 

6. How does it feel to be featured in a publication?
Exciting yet terrifying.

 

7. What is your message to your readers?
I go by the saying “Never judge a book by its cover.” It also talks about family, siblings and how the most love and support each other.

 

8. Why do you think the Story Mile or similar projects like this are important for the community?
The Story Mile helps us to spread our words and as I mentioned previously, it allows us to share life lessons passed down to us through the generations using these ancient characters from our past.

 

9. How does your family feel about your participation in the project?
They are very supportive and proud of my success.

 

10. Do you plan on making more heritage stories in the future?
I might think about it. 

 

 

 

 About the Illustrator

Every story can spark an imagination, especially when an illustration is included. It takes the ability to relate and the skills to come up with a creative output. Here’s Noora Abdulrahman Abdulla Abdulrahman Al Shaikh, the illustrator for Mirror Images.

1. How long have you been drawing?
I do not recall the exact date I started drawing, but I do believe I started drawing sometime in 2005.

 

2. Which mediums do you work in?
I work in traditional mediums as well as digital. For traditional mediums, I work with pencils, pens, markers, and sometimes watercolors. For digital Illustrations, I use my trusty Wacom Tablet Intous 4 and Adobe Photoshop. On occasion, I do experimental sculptures with wires and different types of clay.

 

3. If this is your first illustration in a book?
No, I have published a few illustrations in an illustration book prior to the Story Mile called Garden of Pearls, which was released for the Middle East Comic Con 2013.

 

4. If so, has the success of your first effort encouraged you to continue illustrating professionally?
Regardless of any success or failures for previous and coming publications, I will continue to draw and illustrate as it is my passion to do so.

 

5. How did you approach the illustration process?
First research, then look for as many references as I could possibly find then went about planning my layout, composition and designing the characters involved.

 

6. What was your objective as you sketched your illustration?
My approach for the illustration ‘Mirror images’ was to try to portray the story in one single image. Mahra was the twin adored by her parents and Mariam was the jealous twin, and of course, there was the wicked Um Al Heilan, I wanted to show Mahra’s calm expression, oblivious to her sisters plan, Mariam’s face twisted in jealousy and hatred, and finally Um Heilan’s evil eyes gazing upon them.

 

7. How important was it to match the narrative that was written?
In my opinion, if the illustration does not match the story, then the illustrations weren’t a success. The purpose of illustrations are to draw the readers’ attention to the story, make them curious as to what the story may be about and as to who are the characters that are shown.

 

8. How do you think your visual story can relate in today’s society?
In the case of Mirror Images, it is common for individuals to be blinded by their jealousy towards their kin and friends. But the importance lies in knowing to be thankful for what they have rather than causing harm to others, because who knows? If one harms the other, the mistreatment will eventually return to the doer.

 

9. How does it feel to be featured in a publication?
I feel happy to see my illustrations in print, there is something special in knowing that the work I’ve put into the illustrations has paid off and has a purpose.

 

10. What is your message to your readers?
I would like for the readers to get inspired and to enjoy doing what they like to do most whether it is reading, writing drawing or anything! 

 

11. Why do you think the Story Mile or similar projects like this are important for the community?
Projects that are like the Story Mile are important not only as a way to conserve heritage in a special way, but also as a source of entertainment to let individuals have fun in reading about the characters that make up the cultures almost forgotten folklore, and also come to love and remember them as well.

 

12. How does your family feel about your participation in the project?
I am thankful for my family’s constant support in what I like to do most, and I hope that they are proud of me. 

 

13. Do you plan on making more heritage art in the future?
I do not plan to stop at heritage art. I would like to explore other themes as well, whatever proves to be fun and challenging.

 

14. How would you like to see your art develop professionally?
Art changes constantly, therefore styles continue to develop and improve with constant practice. For the future, I plan to create more illustrative books and other works of art and further develop my style.

 

 

This is The Story Mile and Middle East Talents Awards first featured story. What do you think of the story? Is it something the younger generation can relate into? Let us know on comments and find out the next featured story soon!

The Story Mile Project and Abu Dhabi International Book Fair

The Story Mile Project is an initiative by Zayed University and the members of Al Kharareef Storytelling Club to uphold the Emirati storytelling heritage. It resulted into many tales and illustrations featuring the arts and skills of Zayed University students, wanting to express simple lessons through the characters they are able to bring to life.

On April 30th to May 5th, 2014, Abu Dhabi held its annual Abu Dhabi International Book Fair where The Story Mile has gotten the chance to be featured and luckily, the community has responded with warm and positive vibes.

The Story Mile expanded its partnership with Sheikha Alyazia bint Sultan bint Khalifa Al Nayhan’s ZOWD Foundation as the latter expressed the interest of co-distributing and publishing the Story Mile and expand its audience.

With the Sharjah International Book Fair coming in, The Story Mile shares its exciting news as the fair is keen to add the project in their Cultural Program and workshops, allowing them to create the Story Mile’s very own gallery.

So, are you ready to jump with us? Make sure to support The Story Mile!

 

 

 

 

Middle East Talents Awards and The Story Mile – Reliving the Heritage

An Initiative of Zayed University & Pixelhunters – together to stimulate and promote the Emirati storytelling traditions.

We have always loved to be around the youth. It makes us want to help them achieve a brighter future by encouraging them to do what they are most passionate about. In our contemporary world, it is undeniable to see a lot of children and younger adults going towards the wrong road. Being individuals who want to inspire others can be one of the most fulfilling jobs we’ve had. It allows us to express the things that we think of as well as the things that we want to extend to the youth. This includes our principles and philosophies of life. We want to share it with others. This is the reason why we came up with different ideas on how to train and motivate the youth around us. This is the reason why we came up with Middle East Talents Awards. Middle East Talents Awards enables the youth to mold their minds, direct them towards the right way and help them do the right thing. In lieu with this, we have recently opened an idea with Zayed University. We have always wanted to work with young minds when it comes to art and we think telling and creating stories is one of its traditional forms of expression through words. We are used to be exposure to skilful individuals who make use of paints and visual applications to express their interest in art. When we had the chance to hear and see these amazing stories that tell lessons, we were in awe. Words are indeed a mighty way of expression. The Story Mile is an exhibition by the students of Zayed University that reveals tales of historical figures and events in light boxes along the seafront path. With its partnership with our very own Middle East Talents Awards, we dare to help these young artists reach more people through the power of the internet. We will post their stories along with their maker’s insights. We will make it closer to you. The Storyteller Club is set to revive the country’s jinn characters with its series of Emirati fairy tales and fables called the ‘Story Mile’. The first book in a three volume series was published by Zayed University and H.H. Sheikha Alyazia bint Sultan bint Khalifa Al Nahyan’s ZOWD Foundation and launched this year at the Abu Dhabi International Book Fair. In this modern society, we often forget our rich heritage and get lost with how modern fairy tales have been introduced to us since our childhood. Brionée LaThrop, Story Mile’s Program Manager got inspired to introduce the rich Emirati heritage to her students to bring back its memoirs and allow the younger generation to appreciate them once again. The project went to more than the four corners of their classroom as its initiative was commissioned by the Abu Dhabi Music & Art Foundation to yield more original stories for the Abu Dhabi Festival. Now, the Story Mile is more than a school drive. These tell tale stories of traditions reached the younger minds, allowing them to get to know more of their folklore. What is so special about these forms of arts is that the students are the creators of the stories, allowing them to express their modern form of art without losing touch with the old culture. Many times when people forget how we are molded by our ancestors, these kinds of stories tell them without leaving its readers bored. It tells a unique story with a simple lesson that can sometimes be forgotten in our modern age. This project by the Al Kharareef Storytelling Club aims to keep the city closer to its heritage and culture despite its continuous efforts to move forward in life. With our advocacy in Middle East Talents Awards and Pixelhunters, we dare to encourage everyone, not just the story creators but every dreamer to express themselves through art so that one day, no single young mind shall remain silent with their dreams sleeping. Support us in discovering the power of our youth!

Image from one8one.com

We have always loved to be around the youth. It makes us want to help them achieve a brighter future by encouraging them to do what they are most passionate about. In our contemporary world, it is undeniable to see a lot of children and younger adults going towards the wrong road. Being individuals who want to inspire others can be one of the most fulfilling jobs we’ve had. It allows us to express the things that we think of as well as the things that we want to extend to the youth. This includes our principles and philosophies of life. We want to share it with others. This is the reason why we came up with different ideas on how to train and motivate the youth around us. This is the reason why we came up with Middle East Talents Awards.

Middle East Talents Awards enables the youth to mold their minds, direct them towards the right way and help them do the right thing. In lieu with this, we have recently opened an idea with Zayed University. We have always wanted to work with young minds when it comes to art and we think telling and creating stories is one of its traditional forms of expression through words. We are used to be exposure to skilful individuals who make use of paints and visual applications to express their interest in art. When we had the chance to hear and see these amazing stories that tell lessons, we were in awe. Words are indeed a mighty way of expression.

The Story Mile is an exhibition by the students of Zayed University that reveals tales of historical figures and events in light boxes along the seafront path. With its partnership with our very own Middle East Talents Awards, we dare to help these young artists reach more people through the power of the internet. We will post their stories along with their maker’s insights. We will make it closer to you.

The Storyteller Club is set to revive the country’s jinn characters with its series of Emirati fairy tales and fables called the ‘Story Mile’. The first book in a three volume series was published by Zayed University and H.H. Sheikha Alyazia bint Sultan bint Khalifa Al Nahyan’s ZOWD Foundation and launched this year at the Abu Dhabi International Book Fair.

In this modern society, we often forget our rich heritage and get lost with how modern fairy tales have been introduced to us since our childhood. Brionée LaThrop, Story Mile’s Program Manager got inspired to introduce the rich Emirati heritage to her students to bring back its memoirs and allow the younger generation to appreciate them once again. The project went to more than the four corners of their classroom as its initiative was commissioned by the Abu Dhabi Music & Art Foundation to yield more original stories for the Abu Dhabi Festival.

Now, the Story Mile is more than a school drive. These tell tale stories of traditions reached the younger minds, allowing them to get to know more of their folklore. What is so special about these forms of arts is that the students are the creators of the stories, allowing them to express their modern form of art without losing touch with the old culture. Many times when people forget how we are molded by our ancestors, these kinds of stories tell them without leaving its readers bored. It tells a unique story with a simple lesson that can sometimes be forgotten in our modern age. This project by the Al Kharareef Storytelling Club aims to keep the city closer to its heritage and culture despite its continuous efforts to move forward in life.

With our advocacy in Middle East Talents Awards and Pixelhunters, we dare to encourage everyone, not just the story creators but every dreamer to express themselves through art so that one day, no single young mind shall remain silent with their dreams sleeping.

‘Story Mile’ project puts a fresh new spin on traditional Emirati tales

Mzraat Salama copy 2A host of Emirati folklore characters have been given a new lease of life through imaginative stories written and illustrated by students from Zayed University’s female campus. 

Members of the university’s Kharareef (Storyteller) Club have revived the country’s forgotten djinn characters with a series of Emirati fairy tales entitled ‘Story Mile’, which is set to be published this year by Zayed University.

Brione LaThrop, Story Mile’s Programme Manager, was inspired to re-introduce her students at the university to their rich Emirati heritage of storytelling after finding out how little her students appreciated them.

“Whenever I asked my students who their favourite characters from childhood were, they almost always responded with Disney characters,” she said. “When I asked them why traditional Emirati characters weren’t their favourite they looked at me in shock, saying ‘Why on earth would they ever be our favourite characters? Our parents told us they would kill us and eat us!’ That was always their reaction.”

Brione’s project became so successful that it expanded from a classroom initiative and led to a commission from Abu Dhabi Music & Art Foundation (ADMAF) to create original stories for the Abu Dhabi Festival.

After being displayed in the form of storyboards in Abu Dhabi’s Khalifa Park last month, the stories will be available in book form for the very first time at the Abu Dhabi International Book Fair, which opens on Wednesday at ADNEC.

“We had always planned to develop the Story Mile into books. It was a natural transition for the preservation of these tales and just another vehicle to allow us to re-introduce these cultural icons that make up the Story Mile back into Emirati storytelling tradition,” said Brione.

The university students were presented with 24 traditional Emirati characters and 42 themes. “As they only knew a handful of the characters, everyone wanted the same ones at first,” said Brione.

A definitive list of characters was compiled with the help of local historian and Master Storyteller Abdul Aziz Al Mussallam, who has been researching Emirati folklore characters for years and travels from emirate to emirate collecting oral stories. The characters were also authenticated as genuinely Emirati by the Department of Culture, Heritage and Information.

Umm Duwais, a female djinn character, is one of the most well known characters in Emirati folklore. She is described as a temptress with an enchanting scent and captivating beauty who lures cheating men to their death with bladed hands. Her terrifying character has been used in fables for years in Emirati culture as a warning to unfaithful men, as well as a threat to misbehaving kids. “I’ve never met an Emirati that hasn’t heard of Umm Duwais,” said Brione. “She is definitely the most iconic of them all.”

Despite the scary nature of many of the characters, Brione and her students were determined to show a different side to them with this project. “One of the reasons why the characters have died out over the years is because they were so terrifying,” said Brione.  “We all knew that in order for this project to be successful we would have to introduce different aspects to the characters.”

Students used different themes to create their own interpretations of their assigned characters. For example, one student chose to portray Umm Duwais as the guardian of Emirati love, while another portrayed her as an orphan protector who saves children from an abusive uncle.

“While the characters themselves have been around for hundreds of years, the stories are totally original,” said Brione. “We used themes to bring out different sides of the characters, like respect, integrity, selflessness, courage – universal themes that apply to every culture.”

Abu Ras, another well-known traditional Emirati character, is a guardian of the souq who traditionally catches thieves but becomes a defender of human rights for one of the stories.

Abu Ras punishes a man who abuses his servant by taking him back in time and making him work as a labourer, and the man eventually apologizes to his servant after spending time in his shoes.

“The moral of that story is nobody deserves to be mistreated,” said Brione. “We want the stories to have an impact.”

The book keeps alive stories in danger of being lost in the modern world, and Brione says: “I wanted my students to look at these characters as guardians that are here to safeguard Emirati values and heritage.” reem@7days.ae

  Abu Dhabi's storytelling tradition kept alive along the Corniche _ The National-1 Modern Emirati fables have an age-old message of respect for others _ The National-1 Modern Emirati fables have an age-old message of respect for others _ The National-2 Modern Emirati fables have an age-old message of respect for others _ The National-3 UAE's long-lost djinn find a new voice _ The National-1 UAE's long-lost djinn find a new voice _ The National-2