Sharjah Ruler witnesses agreement to promote cultural understanding between Spain and the Arab world

Sheikh Dr Sultan bin Muhammad Al Qasimi is on an official visit to the Spanish capital Madrid

Sheikh Dr Sultan bin Muhammad Al Qasimi visits the Madrid cultural centre Casa Arabe. Courtesy Sharjah Media Office
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As part of his official trip to Madrid, Sheikh Dr Sultan bin Muhammad Al Qasimi, the Ruler of Sharjah, made a visit to Casa Arabe.

Opened in 2006 and headquartered in the Spanish capital, the cultural centre – home to exhibition spaces, Arabic language classes and a mosque – is viewed as playing a central role in Spain’s cultural relationship with the Arab world.

On Tuesday, October 8, Sheikh Dr Sultan was on hand as a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was signed between Sharjah Book Authority (SBA) and Casa Arabe to promote Emirati and wider Arab cultures in Spain. Under the agreement, both bodies will plan and execute various initiatives run by arts and cultural bodies from Sharjah and Spain.

Sheikh Dr Sultan left a note at the organisation’s golden VIP registry, which read: “We are delighted to visit Casa Arabe, which is a pivotal meeting point between Spain and the Arab world. Today, we are here to take an important step towards strengthening the bond between our two cultures – one that is based on mutual respect and understanding. We hope this bond is established at a level that befits both parties.”

Sheikh Dr Sultan bin Muhammad Al Qasimi writes note at Casa Arabe's VIP registry. Picture: Sharjah Media Office

During his tour of the venue, Sheikh Dr Sultan viewed the current in house exhibition Noctornal Star by Spanish artist Cristobal Martin.

A self taught sculptor, Martin developed his craft over nearly four decades with works that cover various respects ranging from realism and symbolism to geometry.

Converting to Islam in 1995, Martin (who is also known as Abdul Wahid) says his latest work is inspired by Ibn Arabi. The 12th century mystic, philosopher, Islamic scholar, poet and sage is considered the most important spiritual leader in Sufism.

"His poetry and prose open us up to an immense and, at the same time, very close God," Martin said. "His inspiration and the transmission of his ideas are apparent in all of the Eastern turuq (Sufi brotherhoods), and his influence is also evident in Western mysticism and monasticism.”