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Égypt-actus
revue de presse sur l'actualité culturelle, archéologique, politique et sociale de l'Égypte
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Arts festivals to ‘revive’ downtown Cairo in Egypt

Cairo The concrete barriers and occasional skirmishes over the past two years have turned downtown Cairo into a bleak place. Residents and passers-by find it hard to lead their normal life. But this April a new generation of artists has been finding creative ways to overcome these challenges.

Three multidisciplinary arts festivals, the Second Downtown Contemporary Arts Festival (D-CAF), Hal Badeel (Alternative Solution) and Al Fan Midan (Art is a Square) are going to raise the curtain on their exciting programs, which cater to both the local community and hopefully those who have been avoiding the neighborhood altogether.(...)

 

Events take place in theaters and other historic buildings built between 1879 and the early 1950s, an era when Cairo’s downtown—stretching east from Tahrir Square towards Abdin Palace—was considered a cultural melting pot and the architectural Paris of the Middle East.

 

More on:http://gulfnews.com/news/region/egypt/arts-festivals-to-revive-downtown-cairo-in-egypt-1.1169769

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Three arts festivals hit downtown Cairo this April with new visions

Three arts festivals hit downtown Cairo this April with new visions | Égypt-actus | Scoop.it

On one end of the concrete wall blocking Qasr al-Aini Street stands a small grocery store with a red façade. Like with other shops across downtown Cairo sales have gone down due to the stifling traffic brought about by the concrete barriers and occasional skirmishes over the past two years. But unlike the rest, more pedestrians flock into the shop. Lucky for downtown dwellers, the store has two doors: one on each side of the wall, and the middle-aged grocer sits on any given day occasionally greeting those who walk through as he carries out his work.

(...) With funding and affordable rehearsal spaces for performing arts continuing to dwindle, and opportunities between the state’s rigid yet unclear cultural policies and commercial theater leaving little room for experimentation, three multidisciplinary arts festivals are proposing alternative models to bring performing arts to the forefront.

By the beginning of April, the Second Downtown Contemporary Arts Festival (D-CAF), Hal Badeel and Al-Fan Midan are set to raise the curtain on their exciting programs, which cater to both the local community and hopefully those who have been avoiding the neighborhood altogether.

D-CAF, although conceived prior to the 18 days, kicked off its zero edition last April with two weeks of cutting-edge plays, dance performances, music concerts, an exhibition on censorship of artworks and a film program.(....)

 

Last year, several performances and screenings were held at key downtown sites from the Radio Theater to the bustling Boursa pedestrian area. This April, the festival’s artistic director, Ahmed El Attar, has expanded the program over an entire month, with more interactive acts — from a feature where passers-by can write anything they want on a gadget and have it projected live onto a shop front on Adly Street, to a live performance in a shop window overlooking Mahmoud Basiony Street with which pedestrians become involuntarily entangled.

 

More on: http://www.egyptindependent.com/news/three-arts-festivals-hit-downtown-cairo-april-new-visions

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Downtown Contemporary Arts Festival, 4-28 April, 2013

Downtown Contemporary Arts Festival, 4-28 April, 2013 | Égypt-actus | Scoop.it

D-CAF is coming back to Downtown Cairo,

opening its doors to the public from 4-28 April 2013

Egyptian contemporary artists and performers will be joined by leading international names in a month-long calendar of independent music, performing arts, film, visual arts, street performances and workshops.

The Downtown Contemporary Arts Festival (D-CAF) opens its doors to the public for the second year, from 4-28 April 2013. After the successful launch of the festival last year, D-CAF is back with a rich program of contemporary performances and visual arts to be shown in historic locations and outdoor spaces in downtown Cairo.  D-CAF is currently Egypt’s largest international contemporary multi-disciplinary festival and, throughout the month of April, Cairo audiences will enjoy a wide variety of independent theatre and dance performances, music concerts, visual arts exhibitions, film screenings and workshops.

D-CAF 2013 will feature some of Europe’s leading independent acts who will perform in Cairo - many for the very first time - alongside artists from Egypt and the region.  For organisers this broad diversity of art forms and performers is what makes this festival unique: ” At D-CAF, we’re not presenting a single art form or a single trend. Rather, we’re trying to give Cairo audiences a snapshot of what is available, worldwide, in contemporary art today,” says Festival Director, Ahmed El Attar. “We’re trying to make the experience as varied as possible to cater to the widest possible audience”.

(Cairobserver)

 

More : http://cairobserver.com/post/45488588797/event-downtown-contemporary-arts-festival-4-28-april#.UURJkVtvwiZ


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25 Years of Arab Creativity celebrates modern art

25 Years of Arab Creativity celebrates modern art | Égypt-actus | Scoop.it

From Nadim Karam's trio of stainless steel elephants to the Egyptian painter Khaled Hafez's black-and-white silhouette of a helicopter titled Second Sonata for a Tomb in Archaeological Movements, the exhibition opening at Emirates Palace tomorrow is one of the greatest collections of Arab contemporary art ever collated.

 

Making its Arab-world debut after it was unveiled in Paris last year to mark the 25th anniversary of L'Institut du Monde Arabe (IMA), 25 Years of Arab Creativity is something of a celebration and an attempt to summarise a vast and varied artistic landscape.

Comprising the work of 40 contemporary artists from different countries, cultures, generations and even artistic practices, the show has only one underlying theme: all the artists are of Arab origin(...)

 

Some of them are well known; Hafez is represented by Al Masar Gallery in Cairo and has been exhibited in prestigious international spaces such as London's Saatchi Gallery (...)

So, with such a large collection under one title, what exactly constitutes a piece of contemporary Arab art? "The show is defined by its universality," says Mona Khazindar, the director general of the IMA. "You can always see the Arab roots by the use of a sign or a colour, a letter or a landscape, but the art is universal and, aesthetically speaking, there is no link between the pieces."

The exhibition was curated by Ehab El Labban, who worked on the collection for a year, selecting the artists and their works and gathering them in what he calls a "visual adventure". In an essay written to introduce the exhibition, El Labban, who twice headed the Cairo International Biennale, addresses the difficulties of presenting the panorama of Arab contemporary art given its often opposing sensibilities. In it he also writes that he intends the show to have "educational value, and serve as a reference for researchers and historians in the years to come".

 

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In his honor: the late Ammar El-Sherei is toast of the Cairo town

In his honor: the late Ammar El-Sherei is toast of the Cairo town | Égypt-actus | Scoop.it

Cairo Opera House, headed by Inas Abdel Dayem, is to host an artistic night dedicated to the late Egyptian musician Ammar El-Sherei on Wednesday, 27 Februrary, honoring his legacy and contribution to the Egyptian arts and culture.

The special concert will feature the Cairo Opera's Heritage Ensemble for Arab Music, the Cairo Opera Choir, and Cairo Opera Orchestra, along with a number of Egypt's well known artists who worked with El-Sherei. The concert will be directed by Gihan Morsi. 

 

The concert will be followed by the screening of a documentary about El-Sherei's life and musical contributions, as told by poets, intellectuals and artists. Poets Sayed Higab and Gamal Bekheit will, thereafter, recite poetry written

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Sharm El-Sheikh gets arty this February with International Symposium

Sharm El-Sheikh gets arty this February with International Symposium | Égypt-actus | Scoop.it

Eman Negm, director of the event, has confirmed the participation of artists from Morocco, Turkey, Tunisia, Saudi Arabia, Lebanon, UAE, France and Iraq. The group will collaborate on cross-cultural projects and exchange techniques and styles. Negm says,"The symposium this year aims to facilitate the exchange art across cultures; it is designed to be one large workshop for young artists."

Following the week-long symposium, participants will exhibit their work at the symposium's closing ceremony on 4 March, when a number of Egyptian artists will be honoured, including actors Mahmoud Hemeida and Nabila Ebeid, in addition to visual artists Ibrahim Desouky, Saeed Abu Seida, and Gamal Malika.

 

Egypt-actus's insight:

The International Fine Arts Symposium in Sharm El-Sheikh (26 February-4 March) features discussions and workshops as well as exhibitions

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Maroc: Mawazine - Mohamed Mounir ou la voix du peuple

Maroc: Mawazine - Mohamed Mounir ou la voix du peuple | Égypt-actus | Scoop.it

Ce n'est un secret pour personne : le public marocain apprécie bien la musique égyptienne et tout particulièrement ses nombreuses stars dont les titres et les rythmes ont maintes fois enflammé la scène nationale.

C'est ainsi que pour sa douzième édition, le Festival Mawazine Rythmes du monde a choisi d'offrir aux amoureux de la musique du pays des Pharaons d'agréables moments de détente en compagnie d'une des voix les plus connues et appréciées d'Egypte : Mohamed Mounir.

Présenté comme la « Voix de l'Égypte », en raison de ses chansons à coloration politique et sociale, le célèbre chanteur se produira dimanche 26 mai prochain, à la scène Nahda à Rabat.

Au cours de cette soirée, qui s'annonce très chaude, curieux et nombreux fans du chanteur pourront apprécier un répertoire forgé tout au long d'un riche parcours artistique de près de trois décennies.

Avec des titres inspirés de divers registres arabes et africains qui ont fait danser de nombreux publics en Egypte comme à l'étranger.

 

« On reconnaît l'influence de la musique traditionnelle égyptienne et nubienne dans toutes ses chansons mais aussi celles de Miles Davis, Bob Marley ou encore Otis Redding.

 

Plus:  http://fr.allafrica.com/stories/201302151060.html

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Legendary Egyptian cartoonist Ramsis Zakari dies at 69

Legendary Egyptian cartoonist Ramsis Zakari dies at 69 | Égypt-actus | Scoop.it

Egyptian cartoonist Ramsis Zakari was pronounced dead after a long battle with illness on Tuesday, 12 February evening, Egypt's state-run Middle East News Agency (MENA) reports. He was 69 years old.

Zakari is considered one of the pioneers of the art of caricature in Egypt and the Arab world. His 1990s television show Ya Telefizyoun Ya (O Tv) is recognised as one of the most famous programmes of Egyptian television history.

Zakari's show was annually featured in Ramadan during the 1990s.

MENA confirms that Zakari's funeral is to take place Wednesday,13 February at Qasr Al-Dobara church located in Cairo's Tahrir Square, followed by funeral services and condolenses on Thursday, 14 February at the Evangelical Church in Cairo suburb of Nasr City.

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Al Masry: singing for a proud and pure Egypt

Al Masry: singing for a proud and pure Egypt | Égypt-actus | Scoop.it

Since the 2011 Revolution many artists have released music that attempts to appeal to the newly found pride and patriotism of Egyptians. The recently released song Al Masry, The Egyptian, is different in that it is full of musical imagery and is focused on identifying or revealing the typical traits of the Egyptian persona. The creators of the song have dedicated it to the souls of the Egyptian martyrs, giving the song a nationalistic flair.

The music relies heavily on typical Egyptian instruments, such as the ney, oud, tabla, and the Egyptian tambourine, and is composed by Mohamed Antar, a professional ney player that studied Middle Eastern, specifically Egyptian, music.

The vocals are an ensemble of classically-trained Egyptian singers of both genders, with remarkable capabilities that warrant each one an opportunity to sing a verse. The singing style is reminiscent of the seventies or eighties when operettas were more common.

The song celebrates Egyptian heritage through the use of local artistic imagery such as hand puppets, which are often tied with Salah Jahin and Saeed Mekawy’s El Leila El Kebeera. The song seems to slightly mimic the style of this famous Egyptian operetta but when asked whether this theme in the video was intended, Antar explained that the director, Hala El-Koussy, used images “from Egyptian folklore with modifications to suit the era and current events”.

Al Masry centres on explaining the attitudes of Egyptians, rather than create comic sketches or satirical ideas. The song praises the patience, resilience and general good nature of Egyptians and tries to highlight the diversity rather than generalising them into one bland idea. According to Antar, the song lyricist, Salim Al-Shabani, wanted to present an array of “purely Egyptian characteristics.

 

More on: http://www.albawaba.com/entertainment/al-masry-song-469860

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Artists in Egypt work in a tense atmosphere

Artists in Egypt work in a tense atmosphere | Égypt-actus | Scoop.it
The Muslim Brotherhood and Salafis give artists cause for concern. Their work reflects the country's uneasy mood and conflicts.

The Muslim women in Marwa Adel's photographs are shadows, repressed by custom, religion, marriage and regret. While nude, the figures are obscured by sepia scrims, scrawled upon with stifling words — as if their true selves may never be known.

Like their creator, a single mother edging at the bounds of artistic freedom in a patriarchal society, the images are at once vulnerable and defiant. A man from the Muslim Brotherhood, the nation's dominant political force, which is infusing Islam into a once-secular government, scolded her at a recent exhibition.

"He had a long beard and he stood up and told me, 'How could you do something like this? You are a Muslim.' He said women should be veiled and covered. His kind wants us to cover our minds, our issues. I told him, 'Don't worry about me. I know my God very well.'"

She touches a computer screen. A woman, face in hands, surrounded by cages, seeps to life. She touches the screen again. And again. (...)

"The ultraconservatives say I'm an atheist," she said, adding with a piercing dig at the opposite sex, "but if you argue with a man, you argue with God."

The political rise of the Brotherhood and more extremist Salafis scares Egyptian artists, writers, satirists and journalists. Brotherhood leaders engulfed by political unrest and economic turmoil have not, at least at this point, shifted significant attention toward galleries and museums.

 

The ArtTalks gallery in Cairo's Zamalek neighborhood is prone to works that touch upon the revolution: Wailing mothers holding the hearts of fallen sons; an imam and a priest, sitting side by side with pensive expressions; a family portrait as if painted from the 1940s — before a stricter Islam was imported from the Persian Gulf — with unveiled women and men in western suits. One of the most striking paintings is a half-male, half-female nude, kneeling, the face covered by a veil, the body part of a cross. The image crystallizes the crises of religion, civil rights and identity radiating through the Middle East.

 

More on: http://www.latimes.com/entertainment/arts/culture/la-et-cm-egypt-brotherhood-artists-20130210,0,6593632.story

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Hunting down 'spaces of expression' in Alexandria

Hunting down 'spaces of expression' in Alexandria | Égypt-actus | Scoop.it

Small groups of people from all over the world were spotted around downtown Alexandria in January. Sometimes they were covered with dust from head to toe, causing people on the street to playfully ask "Why are they so dirty?" or "Are the foreigners working for us now?"

They didn’t roam aimlessly, however. This group of 27 volunteers from across continents was working on a three-week project themed Spaces of Expression

During the day, they broke down walls, sanded and plastered an apartment in a traditional Wikala 1900s building, which was throughout the 1930s and 60s the office of Egypt's leading film distributor Behna Films Selections. At night, they discovered the music, theatre, dance and other cultural treasures tucked around Egypt's second-largest city.

This project falls under the umbrella of International People's Project (IPP), one of the programmes of the international NGO, CISV, which has a volunteer-run branch in Cairo.

Alexandria has seen an upsurge of new independent culture spaces opening within the past few years. Some have been brought to life thanks to the Gudran Association for Arts and Development, the same association featured in Ahmed Abdallah's 2010 award winning film Microphone where Khaled (Played by Khaled Abu El-Naga) is a project manager seeking to find a stage for independent musicians to perform.

This film, is partly to thank in paving the way for this project to happen. The film inspired some CISV volunteers during the revolution and later met some of Gudran's staff socially. A friendship was formed between members of both organisations that quickly turned into a partnership for this project. (...)

While Egyptians are far from reclaiming their freedoms, seeing many are still put behind bars for expressing their opinions, Gudran and spaces like Behna give a glimpse of a not entirely bleak future for Egypt’s art scene.

 

 

More on: http://www.albawaba.com/entertainment/alexandria-art-468800

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Born of revolution: Egypt's enlivened art scene

Born of revolution: Egypt's enlivened art scene | Égypt-actus | Scoop.it

The Egyptian revolution meant not only a resurgence of the political scene inEgypt and the Arab world, but also the birth of a new kind of art. From the earliest days of the revolution people witnessed the colouring of the streets with slogans, revolutionary words and even poetry in the art form known as graffiti. Months later, the art transformed into another genre: political memes.

Designers and visual artists monitoring the political scene take famous comic quotes or commentaries and develop them into graphics. This form of art spreads through the internet, and Tumblr is one site frequently used.

Tumblr is a social media website based on the sharing of images, although one can also share text and videos. On the World Wide Web, Tumblr is the hipster of social media websites. Unlike Facebook or Twitter, it is used primarily by those who are artistic or creative. With the spark of the revolution, Egyptian Tumblr underwent a huge change.

Before January 2011, people shared dim black and white images of Om Kalthoum and Abdel Halim. Afterwards, people began to share graffiti snapshots and political memes portrayed in drawings, illustrations and repetitive gifs.

The Bassem Youssef show proved a fertile ground for such memes to develop, in addition to the jokes created by protesters and citizens.

One visual artist, Mohamed Gaber, also known as @gue3bara, said that for his Morsillini illustration (shown here), “the most inspiring source was Morsi himself; a hilarious muppet that inspires me every time I watch him on TV”.  

This work was also inspired by a Japanese Manga character, a figure he combined with Morsi to produce Morsillini. His work depends on “strong graphics carrying political messages for political and social awareness.”

Gaber uses Flicker and Twitter to share his work instead of Tumblr. He considers it a good website for inspiration, but one of the drawbacks is that “you do not find its content listed in the search results”. He also considers Tumblr to be a closed society, while Twitter and Facebook enable him to archive his work.  He has been basing art on political themes since 2007, but some of his older work such as Be with the Revolution became popular after the revolution.

The political aspect of life has become an integral part of every citizen’s life since 2011, and it is only natural that it seeps into our art, self-expression, and everyday life.  People not only stumbleupon political works of art, but also seek them out. They share art on social media websites, hoping that visual artists can express their thoughts in a way that they are unable to do themselves- in images.

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Laura El-Tantawy lifts the veil in Dubai exhibition

Laura El-Tantawy lifts the veil in Dubai exhibition | Égypt-actus | Scoop.it

In 'The Veil,' an exhibition of photographs, the curly haired, highly talented Egyptian photographer Laura El-Tantawy attempts to challenge the stereotype of the headscarf as being exclusively a symbol of female oppression.

A series of compelling and highly stylized photographs currently on display at Dubai’s Gulf Photo Plus captures the veil adorned by women across cultures, from Indian to the Middle East.

El-Tantawy’s photos recount her personal experience with the headscarf, which was worn with pride by the strong and feisty women in her family. Meanwhile, her exhibition puts forward an alternative identity for the veil; an aesthetically striking and colourful symbol that transcends cultural differences.

While contemporary Arab artists and activists are inclined to portray a certain sense of intrepid rebellion against the veil, regarding it as a symbol of tyranny and oppression, El-Tantawy’s collection steers away from the popular “Why do they hate us?” rhetoric.

Recent examples of artwork that rebels against the veil include; Saudi artist Sarah Abu Abdalla’s daring artwork exhibited in October 2012 in Riyadh’s first contemporary art gallery, Alaan Artspace, (...)

 

In an exhibition entitled 'Tank Girl,' held in a Cairo gallery last March, Egyptian artist Nadine Hammam exhibited a collection of brightly coloured nude paintings that sought to challenge the confines of Egypt’s patriarchal society.

Aliaa Elmahdy’s nude photos represent a more direct attack on female identity in Egypt and the Arab world. And of course, the artwork that appeared alongside Mona El-Tahawy’s much debated Foreign Policy article, “Why do they hate us?” which depicted a nude woman fully painted in black paint except for her eyes, is also reflective of a tendency to demonise the veil as a symbol of religious and cultural oppression within the Arab world's art scene.

 

However, in 'The Veil,' which opened 14 January in Dubai, London-based Egyptian photojournalist and artist Laura El-Tantawy, who grew up between Saudi Arabia and Egypt, presents a unique take on the veil. The young artist endeavoured to challenge the typical representation of the veil as a symbol of hate and repression, and instead presents a substitute paradigm that characterizes the headscarf as a beautiful force that could surpass cultural and religious boundaries.

 

  

Egypt-actus's insight:

El-Tantawy unveils the motivations behind her artwork in an email interview with Ahram Online.

Ahram Online (AO): 'The Veil' appears to defy stereotypes of the headscarf as an oppressive symbol, and instead offers a new image of the veil as merely a part of Muslim women’s wardrobe; was that the purpose of this exhibition?

Laura El-Tantawy (LT): 'The Veil' attempts to showcase the veil as something that is not just limited to Muslim women, which is the stereotype. All the way from India to the Middle East, women have traditionally worn some form of head cover due to tradition or cultural norms, not necessarily religion. Also, Catholic nuns cover their hair.

My series on the veil stems from my own memory of the veil growing up in a moderate Muslim family where the majority of the women adorn a head cover. The women in my family are some of the strongest, independent and strong-willed women I know. I also wanted to show the veil as something feminine, colourful and beautiful.

AO: Much of your photography projects take the form of a journey of discovery, such as 'In the Shadows of the Pyramids,' when in 2005 you started to document the lives of Egyptians and in the process understand your “home." How has your personal perception of the veil changed over the years, and how is it reflected in this project?

LT: I look at it now as something that should not be judged as much as understood. I think people often judge too quickly and don't ask the right questions to understand. This work has helped me do that, especially in realizing that the veil can bring women and cultures together; it doesn't have to divide them.

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Syra, cimaises de l’art contemporain égyptien

Syra, cimaises de l’art contemporain égyptien | Égypt-actus | Scoop.it

Les artistes vivant un printemps arabe dont ils n’arrivent pas à récolter les floraisons ont dû jouer les transhumances. L’art contemporain égyptien a même poussé jusqu’à la capitale fédérale.

Cet itinéraire a été tracé par la galerie Syra, créée par Sylvia Van Vliet Ragheb et Randa Fahmy. Toutes deux égyptiennes, elles ont voulu ne pas arrêter les élans des talents que menaçaient d’étouffer les troubles de leur pays et les faire connaître hors de leurs frontières, notamment aux États-Unis. Sylvia, d’origine hollandaise et mariée à un Égyptien, a vécu 20 ans durant au Caire où son hobby favori était non seulement de hanter les galeries d’art, mais de faire plus ample connaissance avec les artistes dans leurs ateliers. Ce qui lui a permis de lancer son initiative à Washington. Elle explique que la galerie Syra, qui vient d’avoir pignon sur rue, dans le quartier select de Georgetown, présente actuellement un groupe de peintres et de sculpteurs qui comptent parmi les plus grands, chez eux et ailleurs. Ils sont synonymes de la diversité de courants contemporains qui se sont développés le long du Nil : de l’éminent sculpteur Adam Honein jusqu’à Adel al-Siwi. L'Orient Le JourPlus : http://www.lorientlejour.com/article/808882/syra-cimaises-de-lart-contemporain-egyptien.html
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Designing Her Dreams

Designing Her Dreams | Égypt-actus | Scoop.it

Dina Maghawry knows all too well what it’s like struggling along a career path. After  graduating from the American University in Cairo with a major in journalism and taking on a job as a fashion editor at Enigma — a position she held for four years — she realized that not only was she in the wrong field, but that she wanted to be her own boss.

 

Today Maghawry is one of the fastest-growing jewelry designers in the country, a shrewd and ambitious businesswoman in an increasingly competitive industry.

 

In 2002, Maghawry spent a year taking goldsmithing classes with a Jordanian instructor. Shortly after, she started putting her newly acquired skills to the test by designing her own jewelry and selling it to friends and family. Despite the fact she only used the primitive form of beading and wiring, her creations were surprisingly successful.

 

Maghawry knew that this was her ‘thing’ and by 2003, she had quit her job and was focusing solely on her new-found passion: jewelry making.

 

Encouraged by her continuing success and rapidly growing love for the art, Maghawry broke the news to her parents that she was giving up her conventional, stable and well-paying job permanently to take on jewelry designing full time.

 

“When I first told my parents about my decision, they were very worried and actually disapproved of this career shift,” she says. “I spent the first four years trying to prove to them that I was serious about what I was doing. I had to be very stubborn and strong to make it this far.” (Egypt today)


More : http://www.egypttoday.com/article/artId:1078/Designing-Her-Dreams/secId:4/catId:35

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Khaled Hafez brings Egyptian identity to art-crazed Dubai

Khaled Hafez brings Egyptian identity to art-crazed Dubai | Égypt-actus | Scoop.it

In his first solo show in the art-crazed Dubai, prominent contemporary artist Khaled Hafez exhibits a series of paintings and drawings drenched in symbols and iconography that attempt to unravel the complex, multi-layered Egyptian identity.

While Hafez’s artwork since the revolution has responded to the socio-political transformation resulting from 25 January Revolution, Moving Forward by the Day, which opens 17 March at Dubai’s Meem Gallery is less political and more cultural; this new body of work aims to depict the diversity of the Egyptian character.

Khaled Hafez explains it as follows, “What I am fighting against…what I am resisting…in my work is a public discourse that seeks to unify and impose a single truth, or ideology upon the rich and diverse reality of Egyptian identity.”

An enduring characteristic of Hafez’s work is contrast; his collages juxtapose symbols of contemporary culture, such as models cut out from fashion magazines, with ancient Egyptian iconography, for example.

The appearance of a multitude of symbols and icons that reflect the underlying themes the artist toys around with; such as the collision of civilisations and generations, assembled as busy collages bathing in paint and alternative materials, renders Hafez’s work constantly vibrant and dynamic.

More on: http://www.albawaba.com/entertainment/khaled-hafez-475199

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Crotches and thighs aplenty in controversial Eros exhibition

Crotches and thighs aplenty in controversial Eros exhibition | Égypt-actus | Scoop.it

The human form has fascinated artists since the time of the Greeks. However there is a line between aesthetically pleasing and just plain creepy. El Dessouki Fahmi’s exhibition, Eros, crossed this line.

 

While it is understandable Eros was the Greek god of love and desire, it does not mean that squiggly line drawings of crotches and butts should be considered art. Going through the exhibition artwork, it is hard to feel any kind of connection to the sketches. Most of them are of strange-looking women in repose, with an emphasis on thighs and crotches

 

At a time when women are objectified in every sort of medium, you would think that art would try to correct that. The exhibition’s brochure states: “When Dessouki Fahmi was a small child, he used to spend his leisure time contemplating young peasants’ bodies, enjoying seeing their curves under the setting sun’s rays.” We fail to understand the intended effect of this paragraph, but if it attempts to imply that Fahmi was a Peeping Tom, then it has succeeded.

 

Even senior citizens did not escape the attack of the squiggly crotch.

 

The brochure mentions Botticelli, Mahmoud Mokhtar, Renoir, and Modigliani. Although Fahmi’s sketches are somewhat similar in their use of perspective to Modigliani’s nude paintings, they do not conjure the same feelings in the viewer.

 

While we are all for exploring human senses, Fahmi’s sketches do not do that. If he really wanted to differentiate between the sensual and the sexual, then in our humble opinion, he failed. We felt his sketches only managed to condense the whole idea of womanhood in female genitalia, with a side of conical boobs.

 

More on: http://www.albawaba.com/entertainment/egypt-eros-art-474074

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When Egypt Deletes Women's Rights Heroines From School Textbooks

When Egypt Deletes Women's Rights Heroines From School Textbooks | Égypt-actus | Scoop.it

Empowering women and children through street art  (...) By Maha El Nabawi AL-MASRY AL-YOUM/Worldcrunch

 

It was a landmark day when prominent women’s rights activist Doria Shafiq bravely led a march of 1,500 women to storm the gates of the Egyptian Parliamenton Feb. 19, 1951.

 

After several hours of unrelenting protest, Shafiq was finally received inside Parliament, where the council agreed to consider the demands of Egyptian women.

 

Along with her predecessors, including Hoda Shaarawi, Nabawiya Moussa and Ceza Nabarawi, Shafiq remains one of the 20th-century pioneers of the women’s liberation movement in Egypt. Her march to Parliament later led to the inclusion of women’s suffrage in the 1956 Constitution.

 

But, despite her many feats, Shafiq is likely to be forgotten in the minds of future generations in Egypt.

 

The 2013–2014 editions of the Egyptian National Education textbooks have been edited to delete the picture of Doriya Shafiq and pictures of those killed during the Jan. 25 revolution. Shafiq’s image was removed from the high-school textbook because she was not veiled.

 

But, as the subversion of Egyptian women continues, local human rights activists have become more creative in their fight for women’s equality, representation and rights.

 

Seen through local street art collectives like Noon El Neswa, the Mona Lisa Brigades and various independent efforts, a new wave of street art and visual campaigns seeks to challenge the low status of Egyptian women by painting them in a positive light.

 

“They are already deleting female activists from our history books,” says Shady Khalil, co-founder of Noon El Neswa, a gender-sensitive street art collective. “In order to help reverse the effects of this and many other attacks on women’s rights, we have been creating graffiti campaigns with the purpose of reclaiming women’s rightful position in public spaces.” (...)

 

More on: http://www.worldcrunch.com/culture-society/when-egypt-deletes-women-039-s-rights-heroines-from-school-textbooks/rights-protest-cairo-revolution-arab/c3s10972/

 

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US poet ventures across the pond to help Alexandria get cultural this Feb

US poet ventures across the pond to help Alexandria get cultural this Feb | Égypt-actus | Scoop.it

El-Cabina Arts Centre, one of the projects of the Gudran Association for Arts and Development, is to host a poetry recital by American poet Andy Young, accompanied by a music concert by Moahmoud Youssef and a photography exhibition by Salwa Rashad, on 22 February at its Alexandria venue.

 

El-Cabina's cultural night is organised to commemorate the Egyptian revolution and the struggles that Egyptians face today. American poet Andy Young will recite poetry from her book 'People is Singular' published in 2011.

Alongside the poetry recital, El-Cabina will feature a photography exhibition by Salwa Rashad, which had been published next to Young's poetry in 'People is Singular.'

 

The event will also include a music concert by one of Alexandria's local musicians, Mahmoud Youssef.

 

The poetry recital will be also translated into Arabic and will be read by Egyptian artists Khaled Hegazy and Sara Swidan.

 

Programme:
Friday, 22 February, 7pm
El-Cabina, 11 Saint Saba Street, Alexandria

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Des artistes méditerranéens parlent d’exil et de liberté

Des artistes méditerranéens parlent d’exil et de liberté | Égypt-actus | Scoop.it
Egypt-actus's insight:

Une énorme ceinture de chasteté par la Libanaise Lara Baladi, un corps de femme caché par un voile blanc, des portraits d’immigrés: les thèmes de l’émigration, de la mondialisation et de l’identité, mais aussi les espoirs et désillusions du printemps arabe traversent les œuvres exposées à Marseille d’une quarantaine d’artistes originaires du pourtour méditerranéen.
Pour cette exposition «Ici, Ailleurs», proposée jusqu’au 31 mars, la Tunisienne Mouna Karray, 42 ans, a photographié son corps couvert d’un drap blanc. «Je voulais parler d’enfermement, social, politique, intellectuel», dit-elle à l’AFP, de ce travail initié peu avant la révolution du Jasmin. 

 


Cette série «est un acte d’existence: j’existe, même si on ne me voit pas», commente-t-elle, interrogée au lendemain du meurtre de l’opposant au pouvoir islamiste Chokri Belaïd: «J’en suis malade», dit-elle. 
«Depuis la révolution, un mouvement artistique underground est en train de naître. L’artiste a compris qu’il a le droit d’occuper la rue, de sortir. Le seul moyen de lutter contre l’obscurité, c’est la culture et l’esprit critique», dit-elle encore. 
L’exposition a été organisée dans le cadre de «Marseille, capitale européenne de la culture», dans une ancienne manufacture de tabac, la Belle de mai. 
Au dernier étage, montée dans une «tour-panorama» tout juste inaugurée, la Libanaise Lara Baladi a pendu au plafond une énorme ceinture de chasteté de cuir et fer. 
La sculpture «renvoie aux événements en Égypte depuis janvier 2011», dit-elle, et «s’élève contre l’interdit, particulièrement la menace pesant sur les libertés des femmes». (L'Orient Le Jour)


Plus : http://www.lorientlejour.com/category/Culture/article/800655/Des_artistes_mediterraneens_parlent_d'exil_et_de_liberte.html



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Di-Egy Festival 0.1

Di-Egy Festival 0.1 | Égypt-actus | Scoop.it
Egypt-actus's insight:

1st Digital Art Festival in Egypt, from March 27th to April 10th, 2013.

Follow our page for continuous updates about the festival and its various activities.
We'll keep you posted before, during and after the festival...Stay tuned!DescriptionTechnology has profoundly changed the ways we connect, work and play now in Egypt. Technology even can start a revolution.

Social networks, videos, mobile networks, tablets, digital games, computers... Most of our lives in Egypt become a big part of the technology and digital world.
What is the concept we use behind a specific digital medium? How far digitalizing the arts in Egypt have become? What we need to learn from international digital arts experiences? How we can connect with international artists to open a new digital platform around us? And most important question we think about WHY we present this festival now?!

Many questions we face today and were the main reason we thought to establish our first Digital arts festival in Egypt after our revolution "DI-EGY FEST".

DI-EGY FEST activities:
Exhibitions, Round table, Conference, Workshops, DI-EGY Children, Guided tours for audience and open studio

DI-EGY FEST Organized by:
Out Of The Circle Initiative
www.outofthecircle.org

DI-EGY FEST Directors and Curators:
Elham Khattab - Haytham Nawar
https://www.facebook.com/Di.EgyFestival

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Egypt comes down with trip-hop feve (French Cultural Center, Mounira)

Egypt comes down with trip-hop feve (French Cultural Center, Mounira) | Égypt-actus | Scoop.it

Many were turned away, or were only able to sway with the music booming outside of the small concert hall at the French cultural centre in Mounira.

The interest? A heavy trip-hop beat overlaid by a live Egyptian singer's voice that reminds us of the nay. They call themselves The Egyptian Project.

The smile on many people's faces revealed their soulful reaction to the music that spoke to them: an Egyptian that loves both the traditions of their farm villages and at the same time quality electronic music, or a foreigner allured by the entirety of Egypt's tale.

The French cultural institute's website describes the concert as a collaboration between supporters of Egyptian tradition and a young French musician who mixes the sounds of the Nile Delta, the city of Cairo, the atmosphere of the trip-hop, electro, hip hop and classical music.

Egypt-actus's insight:

Programme:(...)

 

Thursday, 14 February, 8:00pm
French Institute of Egypt, Alexandria

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Egyptian artists bring mawwal music back with a bang

Egyptian artists bring mawwal music back with a bang | Égypt-actus | Scoop.it

The Egyptian Center for Culture and Art (ECCA) is reviving mawwal music by collaborating with a group of artists in the Nile Delta. In an attempt to keep cultural traditions alive, ECCA joins forces with marginalised communities that are considered the backbone of Egyptian culture.

Tonight Mawawil, a group featuring musicians from Menoufiya, Qualyoubiya and Sharqiya, are showcasing this genre of music that originated in the Egyptian countryside. The group consists of singers Reda Shiha and Mohamed El Shahhat and a team of musicians: Salama Metwally on rababa; Amin Shahin on arghoul; Ramadan Mohamed on kawala; Ragab Sadek ontable and Mohamed Kholoussy,on  hana and sagat.

Mawwal, which literally means ‘affiliated with’ is a genre of music that expresses the daily life of peasants in the delta provinces. Through Arabic poetic narratives and love songs, it produces a unique fusion of uninterrupted music accompanied by words.  A typical example of mawwal music are short words and sounds you often hear before a song starts such as ya leili, oh night, or ya ain ya leil, oh eye oh night. It has gained popularity in other Arab countries like Lebanon and has been sung by popular artists such as Sabah, Fairuz and more recently Najwa Karam.

 

More on: http://www.albawaba.com/entertainment/egypt-mawwal--468758

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The vulnerable faces of human existence, revolution

The vulnerable faces of human existence, revolution | Égypt-actus | Scoop.it

The first thing I noticed at the Laura El-Tantawy exhibition -- at National Art Gallery, Bangladesh Shilpakala Academy -- is the image of an elderly woman's face. It's hard not to notice: the blown up photo is larger than life, and the face is too powerful with wrinkles, slightly downward gaze and the very visible tear trickling down from the left eye. Some teenagers decided to pose in front of it, asking their friends to take pictures.

El-Tantawy's exhibition is titled “Faces of a Revolution: Egypt”. The same gallery also houses Ziyah Gafic's exhibition, “Quest for Identity”, which sheds light on victims of the Bosnian genocide.

It was rather surreal -- the mood these images created and the frolicking that was going on in the gallery. But maybe that's the point, that's reality. The world might not hear the roars of your revolution, for which you had sacrificed all; others may not even take it seriously. Life goes on in the rest of the world while your people face ethnic cleansing. Human existence and revolutions are vulnerable. In that sense these two exhibitions are rightfully part of Chobi Mela VII, the theme of which is 'fragility'.

Laura El-Tantawy is an Egyptian photojournalist and artist based in London, England. Her work has been published and exhibited in the United States, Europe, Asia, and the Middle East.

El-Tantawy's work is part of a larger series exploring Egypt's process of forming its identity. The work started in 2005 and has since expanded to look at the trials and tribulations of a nation in transition -- the time of Mubarak, the revolution, and the looming future.

The series focuses on images of Egyptians -- reflective of the country's current fragile state as it experiences political, social and economic turmoil. The images were taken at Tahrir Square, in Cairo, which has now become a symbol of a nation's struggle for democracy and dignity, a struggle for identity.

About her work El-Tantawy says, “…

In Tahrir Square I saw the impact of Mubarak's failed policies on the people. I saw our fragility exposed: Grown man wept like children and young women fought like old men. In Tahrir I saw an awakening of emotions I thought had long disappeared from our psyche as Egyptians.” (...)

Though Chobi Mela VII had its concluding programme yesterday, the exhibitions will continue till February 7

 

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Omar Khairat - The Eternal River

 Music by : Omar Khairat 
- Paintings @ https://www.facebook.com/EgyptOldCairoPaintings
1 - Charles Vacher (British, 1818-1883) - Above Aswan
2 - Edward Lear (English , 1812-1888) - Philae on the Nile
3 - Frank Waller. (American, 1842-1923) - On The Nile
4 - Charles Théodore Frère (French , 1814-1888) - A View of Beni Souef - Egypt
5 - Arthur Ditchfield (1842-1888) - On the Nile near Cairo 
6 - Émile Prisse d'Avennes (French,1807-1879) - Beside the east bank of the Nile at Luxor 
7 - Leon Adolphe Auguste Belly (French, 1827-1877) The Dahabieah, Egypt, 1877
8 - Joseph Farquharson (1846-1935) - Cairo: The Ferry From the Island of Gazirie on the Nile; Boulach the Port of Cairo
9 - Gervais Courtellemont ( French ,1863-1931) - Dahabeahs float in the Nile on the coast of Cairo, 
10 - Hermann Corrodi (Italian, 1844-1905) - Sunset in Cairo
11 - Auguste Veillon ( Swiss -1834-1890 ) -The Nile at Philae
12 - Auguste Veillon ( Swiss -1834-1890 ) The Temple of Philae, Aswan
13 - Ernst Koerner (German, 1846 - 1927) - The Crocodile Temple of Kom Ombo on the Nile

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