The Sultan Bin Ali Al Owais Cultural Foundation, in collaboration with the Cultural and Scientific Association has organized a symposium on Wednesday, November10, 2021, under the title of “Mohammed Saleh Al Gurg: Present in the Questions of Existence”, to mark the first anniversary of the passing of late author, poet and translator Mohammed Saleh Al Gurg (1936-2020). The event took place at the premises of the Cultural and Scientific Association in Al Mamzar, Dubai.
The symposium was attended by a wide audience of authors, culture enthusiasts and friends and family members of the late writer, led by HE Mohammed Ahmed Al Murr, Chairman of the Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum Library Foundation, HE Bilal Al Budoor, General Secretary of the Cultural and Scientific Association, HE Dr. Fatima Al Sayegh, Member of the Board of Trustees of the Sultan Bin Ali Al Owais Cultural Foundation and Ali Obaid Al Hameli, Director of the News Centre at Dubai Media.
At the beginning of the event, the audience toured an exhibition of a selection of various editions of Ruba’iyyat Al Khayyam (Al Khayyam’s Quatrains) that had beenpublished around the world in different languages, and which the late author had compiled over many years. The collection reflects different periods of time and different geographical locales. Moreover, the exhibition also showcased handwritten notes of some of the quartets Al Gurg had translated over a nine-year period in hiselegant handwriting. His own Arabic translation of the book, completed over a nine-year period was published in a volume in four languages (Arabic, Farsi, English and French).
Next, the symposium started with a tribute speech, given by HE Mohammed Ahmed Al Murr, who talked about his relationship with the late Al Gurg, extending for many years, and shed light on his calm and contemplative personality and wide knowledge, which informed his contributions to culture. Al Budoor also talked about another aspect of Al Gurg’spersonality, highlighting his love for travelling, which had begun in 1956 when he went on a touristic trip to Egypt via Bahrain and Beirut, and was constantly accompanied by his camera, which helped him document his various trips to the different museums, castles, citadels, and mansions of famous authors. He was very keen on documenting every detail he saw to a great extent, Al Budoor explained.
On the other hand, Dr. Omar Abdul Aziz spoke about the experience of writing his book Mohammed Saleh Al Gurg: Present in the Questions of Existence, which tackles a number of philosophical and existential questions. The book is part of the Foundation’s “Figures from the UAE” book series, which aims at documenting the literary, cultural, artistic and public memories of the UAE by shedding light on notable personalities that have left an indelible mark on local and Arab cultural life.
The session was moderated by Ali Obaid Al Hameli, who shed light on Al Gurg and the key events that have shaped his long literary career. In addition, poet and journalist Hussein Darwish shared a testimonial about a personal encounter with the late Al Gurg, which reflected his humbleness and down-to-earth personality. Author and journalist Wael Al Jassi also talked about the late author’s admirable personality, which brought him closer to anyone who knew him.
The symposium concluded with a book signing event of Mohammed Saleh Al Gurg: Present in the Questions of Existence, by Dr. Omar Abdul Aziz. It is worth mentioning that the new book is available at the Sharjah Book Fair, at the pavilion of Dar Al UnwanPublishing and Distribution, Hall #3. In addition, tens of books published by the Sultan Bin Ali Al Owais Cultural Foundation are also available there.
Mohammed Saleh Al Gurg was born in Dubai in 1936. He studied at Al Falah and Al Ahmadieh Schools. Since childhood, he was passionate about literature and culture and had a great love of reading, making use of the many books in his father’s library. He worked in a number of government posts for a few years before retiring and working in his own business in addition to pursuing his cultural and literary interests. He mastered a number of languages, including English, Farsi and Urdu as well as Arabic. He did not publish his poetry in book form, but mostly in magazines and newspapers. Apart from his poetry, he wrote a weekly column in local newspapers under the title of “GhaidMin Faid”, in which he shed light on selected poetry, proverbs, and interesting literary and scientific anecdotes.