Culture – Daily News Egypt https://dailynewsegypt.com Egypt’s Only Daily Independent Newspaper In English Tue, 16 Apr 2019 11:30:07 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.9.1 Featuring Egypt’s rightful place under the Sun https://dailynewsegypt.com/2019/04/16/featuring-egypts-rightful-place-under-the-sun/ Tue, 16 Apr 2019 11:30:07 +0000 https://www.dailynewsegypt.com/?p=696007 Shiha’s signature style is skilful combination of painting, sculptural technique, using material such as engravings, rocks, human figurines

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Respected art collector and critic Mohamed Darwish describes Ahmed Shiha’s collection of work as “mythological realism.” It is true that much of Shiha’s work looks like it was chiselled straight out of the ancient temples of Aswan and Luxor.

In his latest art work collection, a retrospective exhibition, Shiha takes his visitors into the glory of Ancient Egyptians, and reflects the beauty of that era through his paintings.

His signature style is a skilful combination of painting and sculptural technique, using materials such as engravings, rocks, and human figurines. Sometime his figurines and moods suggest anxiety or concern, and other times they are meditative and reflective. Shiha employs plenty of Phoenician and Assyrian symbols and allegories in the form of visual poetry and songs, in addition to Egyptian ones. 

When someone walks into the Ofok gallery, one of the first seen works is of a female mummy buried into a medium-sized canvas. It is monochromatic, and might lead one to question whether this piece of work is considered a painting or a sculpture. The mummy is of a tall woman figure without arms. It is simultaneously figurative and abstract, and reminds one of the ancient history and civilisation of Egypt, but at the same time it is very contemporary.  Perhaps the artist wants us to contemplate the changing role of women throughout history.

Shiha’s work in the past decade became more subtle with the use of bright colours instead, employing retrained palettes with shades, stone grey, earthy tones of brown, terra-cotta, beige, and soil. 

His newest work does not only embrace primary colours, but one can see an almost child-like, whimsical use of brush strokes, lines, and compositions. The artist’s new experimentation is still very recognised as Shiha’s signature style, with the proud and deep understanding of Egyptian cultural lineage but with more flare and even joy. It is as if he is telling his audience not to just remember the classical beauty and craftsmanship of Ancient Egypt but also reminding us that Egyptian people were once innovative and creative–and do not you forget that. 

At the opening event, Daily News Egypt met the artist’s daughters Hala and Rasha Shiha.

Rasha feels truly blessed to be surrounded by her father’s work in such a way in the museum.  She sees her father in every single piece. When asked about some of the main messages embedded in her father’s art work, she answered that her father does not want people to forget that Egypt was once a regional power, a force to be reckoned with, in ancient time and in modern years.

She added that young Egyptians must never forget this past achievement and be confident of this historical lineage.

Shiha’s daughter asserted that her dad wished for young people to have more patience with their motherland, explaining that change does not happen overnight, and we all must contribute and make incremental improvements to ourselves and to our society.

Rasha added that Shiha beliefs always evolved around the fact that Ancient Egyptians were once a glorious, open-minded, and innovative people with advanced writings, artistic appreciation, engineering, and technology, so let us keep the good traits and let us keep our minds open for new ideas.

Ahmed Shiha and Venice Biennale 2019

The ministry of culture seems to agree with the artist’s philosophy. Shiha was invited to be the curator of Egypt’s pavilion at the Venice Biennale this year.

Titled ”Khnum across times witness”, Shiha, along with artists Ahmed Abdul Karim and Islam Abdullah, will be showing their work starting this June in one of the world’s most important and oldest biennales. 

The annual Nile flooding brings life to the surroundings, along with silt and clay. In art, Khnum was usually depicted as a ram-headed man at a potter’s wheel, with recently created children’s bodies standing on the wheel. He was also shown holding a jar from which flowed a stream of water as he is known as the source of the Nile. 

The exhibition runs until April 17 at Ofok Gallery in the Mohamed Mahmoud Khalil Museum.

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First Egyptian integrated dance show spotlights charm of dancing with disability https://dailynewsegypt.com/2019/04/16/first-egyptian-integrated-dance-show-spotlights-charm-of-dancing-with-disability/ Tue, 16 Apr 2019 11:00:25 +0000 https://www.dailynewsegypt.com/?p=696032 When you have any sort of injury, you are forced to listen to your body, which is reflected in your art productions, says choreographer

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When thinking of rehabilitating people with special movement abilities, it has become normal for many of them to re-enter society working in many fields. Most of them are desk jobs or employment that does not require movement. However, seeing a wheeled professional dancer has not-yet-become a normal scene in Egypt.

Art enthusiasts gathered last weekend downtown to thrillingly witness a heart-capturing disability integrated performance. At Al-Sharifin street, the first full Egyptian performance featuring disabled dancers took place, as part of the Down Town Contemporary Art Festival’s (D-CAF) urban visions programme.

For the first time in Egypt, the show saw the light with Egyptian performers, choreographers, and musicians.

The main performer of the show, Mahmoud El-Gazzar, is one of Egypt’s few special needs dancers. He was selected from a two-week workshop held by the show’s choreographer, Shaymaa Shoukry.

The show is not the first to take place in Egypt. It has been a part of D-CAF’s schedule since 2015. Yet, it was always choreographed by foreigners.

For almost half an hour, the duo completed each other through their performance and the wheelchair did not take away any part of its captivation, but only added to its charm, authenticity, and enchantment.

“For me, it was not about teaching the dancers new moves, it is all about combining the moves they already knew and mastered in harmony. It’s an experience of exchanging knowledge,” Shoukry told Daily News Egypt.

This is not Shoukry’s first time to be a part of an integrated dance show. She has been the assistant of another choreographer two years ago, and witnessed the details of creating the show with rhythmical moves between the dancers which reflect the harmony they feel with the music.

“At the workshop, I offered what I have been teaching as a choreographer, to see how they accepted and dealt with it,” Shoukry added. Throughout the training, Shoukry focused on the communication between the two partners, and on El-Gazaar’s self-exploration.

“I aimed to degradingly focus on his physical exploration. At first, we started exploring his capabilities of using the surrounding space. After that, we started exploring together the possibility of leaving the wheelchair and using another one, with considering the artistic movement steps, and ways to maintain his balance. It was not long after that we started exploring the ground, and what he can make out of it,” Shoukry explained.

With every training session, new explorations exposed expanding the limits of dancing movement, until the sky was their limit.

Shoukry stressed that the main focus of the workshops was the disabled partner in the dance show, not because he is in need of much efforts than others, but rather that he is the key of unlimited options and abilities which can only be achieved through his strength and capabilities. As for the female dancer, Salma Salem, she has been a partner in integrated dance performances for several years, whether with mentally or physically disabled partners.

Being the trainer added an inspiration factor to Shoukry. Breaking all of her pre-concerns, astonishment was a constructive factor with all of the workshop sessions she had with Al-Gazzar.

“You wouldn’t believe the will, mental strength, and the capability of pushing one’s self out of one’s comfort zone!” she amazingly said.

Shoukry added that her astonishment piled up with Al-Gazzar’s abilities to transform, creating new borders for the handicapped, and drawing new lines for one’s comfort zone. “It was very inspiring for me to see how he listens to his body, and accepts it in a way that many abled dancers don’t! When you have any sort of injury, you are forced to listen to your body, and start communicating with it, which is reflected in your art productions,” she added.

Both El-Gazzar and Salem danced on the music of Mohammed Shafik. Shoukry concluded with the belief that the whole experience is soul feeding. “When I choreograph something beautiful like that, it reminds me of what I am here to do, and what art can bring together,” she smilingly concluded.

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Seventh Ika Dolly cultural festival: bringing Nubia’s almost forgotten glory to the Capital https://dailynewsegypt.com/2019/04/15/seventh-ika-dolly-cultural-festival-bringing-nubias-almost-forgotten-glory-to-the-capital/ Mon, 15 Apr 2019 12:00:43 +0000 https://www.dailynewsegypt.com/?p=695911 "Music is a language without words, we were betting on the rhythms and the music-as always-to break all boundaries and present the beauty of our culture and the happiness it brings," says organiser

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“We could not bring thousands of people to Nubia, so we thought we bring it to them instead. We upheld the legacy of our home on our backs and came to the centre of Egypt, bringing our culture with us to introduce people to it,” said Dina Shaaban, the main coordinator of the 7th Ika Dolly Nubian festival, which was held on Saturday at El-Sawy Cultural Wheel.

Despite the crowdedness of Zamalek’s streets on a regular Friday night, the ear-splitting car horns, and the overwhelmed streets, one could not sense but the peace, thrill, and joy inside the cultural hub with dozens of Nubians dancing and singing together.  Attendees escaped for few hours in time and place away from the grey dusty city, through the music, food, and dance into the far away Upper Egypt region, known as the land of peace, and the alluring Nile river.

Organised by Nubian Knights, an initiative aiming to revive Nubian culture in the city, the event brought all Nubian art into one place. With ladies wearing El-Jerjar–the traditional women’s wear in Nubia–and women drawing Henna the way most of the females do, along with dancers moving together in a symmetrical steps, the festival reflected the almost forgotten legacy of the organisers’ hometown.

Nubian Knights is an initiative that was launched in 2011 by 15 Nubian youths living in Cairo. Through online campaigns, workshops, concerts, and seminars, the group aims to spread Nubian culture among Egyptians in order to raise awareness of their forgotten history.

“Unfortunately, Nubia is always neglected in movies, songs, and television programmes. People need to understand how Nubia is a valuable part of Egypt, and that is exactly the main goal of our initiative, which raises people’s awareness about this neglected land with its important customs and traditions,” Shabaan said.

She added that “For seven years, this is the main annual event we focus on. It started right after the 25 January Revolution, when everyone expressed the love and pride of his hometown, and ever since we could not stop holding it, even with all the challenges facing us.”

The event started with a ‘Nubian Zafah’. The Zafah is the beginning of the traditional Middle Eastern wedding in which certain dances are performed using a Daf. The Nubian Zafah is performed with certain songs that speak of the beauty of the bride and the groom.

“We brought a special wedding band from Nubia to perform the songs the way they are sung in a traditional wedding, and the scene could not be completed without a bride and a groom in order to bring the wedding exactly the way it is performed there,” Shabaan explained.

The bride took over the stage with her dress as she held the hand of the alleged groom, wearing all the golden necklaces and accessories brides usually wear at Nubian weddings.

Despite the fact that the zafah songs were performed in the Nubian language, with a limited number of people aware of it and what was being sung, this was not a challenge to prevent the audience from enjoying the rhythm and immediately getting in the mood of a real marriage celebration with ululations.

“Music is a language without words, we were betting on the rhythms and the music-as always-to break all boundaries and present the beauty of our culture and the happiness it brings,” Shabaan added.

Ika Dolly means ‘I love you’ in the Nubian language. The organisers decided that the festival ought to be named as such, as a way of expressing the love they have toward their hometown. 

In the festival’s seventh edition, the organisers also brought the famous Nubian food to Cairo in order to bring people’s attention to another unfamiliar part of the region’s heritage.

“We made two main meals that are widely spread in Nubia, however, almost few people know of them, and we started distributing them to the attendees as we explained their ingredients, and how they were made. We would not miss a single aspect of our culture unintroduced to as many people as possible,” she added.

Over the years, thousands of people attended the festival in its different editions. At first, the initiative launched the Ika Dolly festival for free. However, with the high costs of organising it, they had no other choice but to turn it into a commercial one with low-priced tickets.

“Funding is our biggest milestone in this event. All of us are either students or fresh graduates, which makes us limited to a strict budget. There are the costs of renting the place, the bands’ and artists’ money, and even the Henna drawing ladies. Eventually we did not have enough money to organise all of that, which led us into organising the festival with tickets,” Shabaan explained.

This year’s ticket was for EGP 60, including all the food, and the Henna drawings. Necessarily turning the Ika Dolly festival it into a commercial one, led the number of attendees to decrease.

“In the first edition that we held at Abdeen Palace, more than 4,000 people attended even when the reputation of the festival was not as big as it is now. Nonetheless, in the following ones, the number decreased into a little bit over 1,000. Unfortunately, there is nothing we can do, as we need to cover our costs,” Shabaan pointed out.

Spreading Nubia’s culture

The festival is not Nubian Knights’ only organised event to raise people’s awareness about that region. Throughout the year, they organise offline cultural campaigns to highlight a neglected part of their culture.

Last month, Shaaban with three other girls walked down the streets of Cairo’s Downtown area wearing El-Jerjar, which is made of a long-tailed, transparent black dress with another colourful dress beneath it.

Capturing people’s attention, the group soon started talking about the dress, and dug deep into their culture. For a few hours, the four women did nothing but cordially answered the questions about the reasons of why they were dressed that way. 

“Seeing the astonishment in people’s eyes before they carefully approached us to ask whether we are a group of artists, and the thrill in their eyes after they knew that it is a part of our heritage, cannot be described but it is a life goal that brings us extreme happiness,” Shabaan added.

In Nubian culture, El-Jergar is an extremely long-tailed dress. According to their belief, the dress’s tail has to be long enough to reach the ground beneath the girl who is wearing it in order to erase her foot traces. That way, no one knows the places she went to or where she lives. Nubians believe that this is a form of protecting their women and respecting their privacy.

Their culture also imposes that El-Jerjar has to be black. However, it can be transparent in order to reveal the colourful dresses worn underneath.

After they talked to some people about Nubia, they were asked why not all Nubian girls dress that way, since it looks nice, is both stylish and elegant, she added.

The team is currently working on another open event in which they would call upon all Nubian women living in Cairo to join them as they roam the streets of the city representing their own legacy.

In addition, Shaaban said that they are working on creating a website and a mobile application which contains all the details about Nubia whether geographically or culturally.

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Egypt’s first heavy metal band returns to Cairo after 6 years of absence https://dailynewsegypt.com/2019/04/14/egypts-first-heavy-metal-band-returns-to-cairo-after-6-years-of-absence/ Sun, 14 Apr 2019 09:00:53 +0000 https://www.dailynewsegypt.com/?p=695824 "We are in a sexist society that labelled the genre as macho, and I believe women conform to that standard as they believe it would not make them sexy enough" says lead singer

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Hundreds of fans gathered last week to witness Egypt’s first heavy metal band as they rocked the stage of Downtown’s grEEK campus, performing for the first time after they left the country four years ago. While the mass sang along Massive Scar Era’s vocalist, Cherine Amr, jumped with the beat and screamed with the love they hold toward the band that surged in the country’s underground music scene.

Mass Scar Era, known as Mascara, performed along the American band T-Sisters and folkloric young artist, Maram, as a part of Downtown Contemporary Art Festival’s (D-CAF) music programme.

Mascara started as a female-only heavy metal band, yet, that currently changed with the Dylan Wijdenes-Charles, the bass guitarist. Throughout their journey, the band reflected their struggles through their lyrics. Sexual discrimination, women’s empowerment, revolutionary dreams, and efforts for fitting in, were some of the main issues the band tacked throughout their 14-year journey.

The Egyptian band is currently based in Canada. Nonetheless, the violinist, Nancy Mounir, still remains in Egypt, and only travels for concerts held outside, or during the production of new songs.  Born in Alexandria, the band faced many challenges to get a chance to be identified as the first female heavy metal band.

Mascara’s star shined after performing Aba’ad Makan (The Furthest Place) at the independent film microphone, starring super star Khaled Abu El-Naga, which won several awards at various international festivals.

Daily News Egypt interviewed the band’s main vocalist, Cherine, to further understand the struggles the band faced in Egypt, the difficulties of being a female heavy metal singer, the reasons behind their decision to move, and the milestones they are trying to overcome in their new home, the transcript for which is below, lightly edited for clarity:

You moved out of Egypt as an underground band, how does it feel to perform in your hometown six years later but as an internationally accredited heavy metal band?

Well, when we left Egypt we already had a wide fan base that knew us and constantly attended our concerts. Actually, I was a bit down when I noticed that the attendees are less in number than what we were used to in our concerts. But rationally it makes sense, we have not performed in years and many thought that the band no longer existed.

On a larger scale, we were focusing more on touring internationally, as it became extremely difficult to organise musical concerts in Egypt.

What made you leave Egypt after you achieved success in the heavy metal genre?

This is the next step for any band seeking international accreditation and global spread. It is the natural development for any heavy metal singer to be productive in that field.

In Egypt, we don’t have the technology or the facilities in order to have heavy metal songs meet the international standards.

Plus, just before we left, holding musical concerts was such a difficult thing to do. With the restriction on the permits, and being allowed to perform only in one place, it made it very hard to have such a good musical night.

How do you see the heavy metal genre in Egypt?

It is nice, productive. But it has not changed since we left it. Actually, it diminished; there were many good bands that no longer play heavy metal.

I believe this is attributed to our sexist culture. It closes many doors in the faces of young artists just because heavy metal is not widely spread in Egypt, especially if the singer is a female.

Speaking of struggles facing heavy metal female artists, what were the main challenges that you met when you were regularly performing in Egypt?

As artists, we are very demanding, bossy, firm, and perfectionists so we are always being called tough to deal with and hard to convince. However, if you applied such characteristics to a male artist, you would be surprised how they are reshaped into other definitions about how devoted, goal oriented, and hard working they are.

From your point of view, why aren’t there many female heavy metal artists in Egypt?

We are in a sexist society that labelled the genre to be macho, and I believe women conform to that standard as they believe it would not make them sexy enough.

Women in Egypt believe they have to follow the social norms; they even love following these labels. In Egypt, the heavy metal genre is not considered feminine, so women feel they would not feel sexy or attractive enough if they became part of it.

What were the main challenges that met you in Canada as a heavy metal artist?

I faced many obstacles just because I am a Middle Eastern woman. We fight just to fit in the western musical scene.

Because we bring a part of our culture through eastern rhythms in our songs, we are not considered a folk band while we are not, just for the fact that they do not understand or accept the difference in our music. It’s either black or white from their point of view.

However, I have to admit this was not a major struggle in our way; it just prevented several chances to participate in several concerts.

With the violinist Nancy Mounir residing in Egypt, and the rest of you in Canada, how do you practice and play in your concerts?

Nancy is not capable of travelling due to the high expenses unless the concert is financially rewarding, which I admit is hard many times. However, she comes when we are making new songs and preparing our albums.

As for the concerts, we play backing tracks which is quite common practice in many bands.

How does being raised in Egypt affected the music you produce?

At first, I was not quite aware of the extraordinariness being raised in the Middle East adds to your music. It was not until I started playing with other musicians and started hearing about their comments on the Arabic Maqams we have before I realised that what is common in our musical culture is actually unique to the world.   

Do you aim to reflect the struggles of your hometown in your written lyrics?

Of course!

If you heard any of our songs, you can detect which period of time it was written in. If anyone listens to our song ‘My Ground,’ they can easily conclude that who wrote these lyrics is a woman from Egypt.

A few years later, I wrote ‘Colour Blind,’ and I never thought I could write something like it back when I was in Egypt because it tackled racism and struggles of being labelled and unaccepted.

I believe what makes our songs different is the experiences we went through as Arab nations. None of the white western people would understand our journey throughout the revolution and the political dilemma we all lived. When they write about it, it is all from an outsider aspect, which is totally different from living it, and having it affecting all of your life.

What are the main messages you aim to convey with your songs?

Honestly, while I am writing I think of no message. For me, it is more of venting and reflecting my thoughts into words, and I want to share with people the experience I am living.

You are dubbed the Egyptian Amy Lee, how does that make you feel?

It is the first time I this!

I feel like we are not connected together in any way. There are a number of technical differences in our singing. Amy Lee is classically trained and the scopes of our voices are totally different.

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Looking back at Egypt’s 10th Creative Industry Summit https://dailynewsegypt.com/2019/04/11/looking-back-at-egypts-10th-creative-industry-summit/ Thu, 11 Apr 2019 11:00:32 +0000 https://www.dailynewsegypt.com/?p=695685 Industry no longer one-way, it is two-way where customer is in charge, leads conversation, says founder

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After the huge success the 10th Creative Industry Summit (CIS) achieved in its latest edition, which was held last month, Egypt’s largest event for sharing creativity, innovation, and technology is celebrating another year of overcoming challenges and revealing one of Egypt’s most brilliant events in the technology field.

The event, which was held at the end of March, opened a space to a number of speakers in order to discuss the details of food innovation, e-commerce and technology, personal branding, as well as advertising.

The four main pillars of the summit were tackled with prominent speakers who enriched the topics by sharing their own experiences. Throughout half a decade, the summit has been widely and regional expanding, while attracting a significant number of specialists in almost all fields related to marketing and technology.

The annual attendees always anticipated the event, as it was the first time to bring Sophia the robot to Egypt last year, creating a thrill with such a participation in the technology scene in Egypt.   

In its 10th edition, the CIS invited controversial artist Mohammed Ramadan to speak about his experience in creating his social media brand identity.   

Daily News Egypt interviewed Mai Salama, the co-founder of the CIS, to discuss the details of the last edition, the obstacles they faced behind the scenes, and their future plans regarding the summit. The transcript for which is below, lightly edited for clarity:

After a global echo which last year’s summit caused, what were the main challenges which you faced in organising the CIS 2019?

I believe the main struggles were identifying the new tracks, formulating them, and educating our attendees through parallel tracks, in addition to surpassing previous editions and again setting new firsts on our stage and in our content.

What is the difference you added to this year’s round of the CIS?

We added multiple tracks and focused more on e-commerce, technology, and food innovation.

From your point of view, how did the industry change in the last 10 years, with the rise of social media and digital advertising?

It is no longer a one-way industry, it is a two-way industry where the customer is in charge and leads the conversation.

What were the criteria which the main pillars of the 10th edition were based upon?

When we did our research, we discovered that we, as a country, are very strong in e-commerce, technology, and food innovation markets. We in fact have had many creative solutions and are quite developed. We also discovered that even though we are strong in these areas, there is a need in the market in order to know more and learn more about them. It felt right to start focusing on them. 

How did having Sophia the robot for the first time in Egypt help you with the summit’s regional expansion?

Sophia’s participation had nothing to do with expanding in the region. However, it impacted last year’s growth and we are very happy with choosing to bring her to Egypt for the first time ever.

Where does Egypt stand in the global marketing and advertising scene?

Egypt is very strong when it comes to the advertising and creative scene. In fact, we are ranked as the third winning country in the Dubai Lynx 2019. Philip Thomas, the chairperson of Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity, mentioned Egypt and the quality of work that is produced here during the Cannes Lions stage last year.

How do you evaluate the impact that CIS has had on society for the past five years?

All we can say is that we try to provide impactful and inspiriting content to help educate, inform, and expose our attendees in order to influence their work.

How many speakers were in this round, and which countries did they come from?

We had about 91 speakers from Canada, the United States, China, the Middle East, the Levant, and Egypt.

How can the summit play an active role in promoting Egypt as a destination?

It is a known fact that conferences play a vital and strong role in promoting countries and it is one of our objectives to use this platform in order to attract foreign attendance.

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The Germans' annual obsession with asparagus https://dailynewsegypt.com/2019/04/10/the-germans-annual-obsession-with-asparagus/ Wed, 10 Apr 2019 10:36:00 +0000 https://www.dailynewsegypt.com/?p=695605 The post The Germans' annual obsession with asparagus appeared first on Daily News Egypt.

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Springtime in Germany means the countdown is on for the country’s brief feast on a vegetable known as “white gold.” The Germans’ passion for white asparagus is celebrated in museums — and even by queens.The harvest in Germany has only just begun but as always, the end is already in sight for this seasonal vegetable: an old farmer's saying has it that when the cherries turn red, the time for harvesting asparagus is over.

More specifically, the season ends on June 24, the feast day of St. John. "Until St John's, don't forget this, you have seven weeks to eat asparagus," according to yet another old proverb. The plant simply needs to recover for the next year and a new cycle of pleasing Germans with nutrient-rich spears low in calories — as long as you don't smother the vegetables in melted butter or Hollandaise sauce!

Read more: Tasty or disgusting? Sculptures of raw meat and other weird German foods

'Protected product'

The southwestern city of Schwetzingen, which presents itself as Germany's "Asparagus Town," offers a host of asparagus-related events in April and May, including art projects, photo exhibits, tours, workshops on how to cut the vegetable and the traditional Schwetzingen Asparagus Run over five and 10 kilometers.

In March, the European Commission added asparagus cultivated around the city of Beelitz in the state of Brandenburg to the list of protected European products. Like regional German beer, gingerbread, sausages and ham, Beelitz asparagus can now proudly bear the EU seal Protected Geographical Indication (PGI).

Despite its love of the "white gold," Germany is not the world's main producer of asparagus, however — that is still China.

The gallery above explores more aspects of the country's asparagus culture. The one below takes a look at vegetables that are common in Germany, but might not be as popular elsewhere.

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Opinion: An anti-Semite in the Chancellery? Emil Nolde must go! https://dailynewsegypt.com/2019/04/10/opinion-an-anti-semite-in-the-chancellery-emil-nolde-must-go/ Wed, 10 Apr 2019 10:29:00 +0000 https://www.dailynewsegypt.com/?p=695607 The post Opinion: An anti-Semite in the Chancellery? Emil Nolde must go! appeared first on Daily News Egypt.

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He was a Nazi sympathizer and a Jew hater — that’s what researchers discovered about painter Emil Nolde. Nevertheless, his paintings hung in the German Chancellor’s office until recently. Stefan Dege wonders why.The Chancellery could have known already: As early as 2013, historian Bernhard Fulda and art historian Aya Soika presented the results of their research, which led to a major Emil Nolde exhibition at the Städel Museum in Frankfurt.

Their bottom line: The expressionist artist sugar-coated his biography. Though his own works were indeed defamed by the Nazis as "degenerate," the painter nevertheless remained a fervent supporter of National Socialism, he offered to serve as a state artist for the Nazis, and drew up his own "de-Jewification plan." All this will be shown in a spectacular Nolde show, which opens in Berlin on Friday.

Read more: Why Merkel had an expressionist's works removed from the Chancellery

A lack of finesse

The Emil Nolde myth of the Nazis' victim has been wavering for some time now. German Chancellor Angela Merkel and her office will have to wrestle with accusations of bad timing and a lack of sensitivity. After all, it was only when a museum requested a loan that they returned Nolde's paintings — without comment.

Official photos from several years ago in the German republic's political power hub show the German head of government in conversation with then US Secretary of State John Kerry — in front of Nolde's painting Breaker from 1936.

Can an artist like Emil Nolde represent Germany in the year 2019? Which art can hang in a place where statespeople from all over the world pass by?

In Nolde's case, it's hardly about renouncing a politically unpopular artist — the case is more complex. But these are questions that require a social debate. In addition, it should also be clarified who determines the selection of art in spaces that represent the state: Museum experts? Bureaucrats? The parliament? The respective incumbents?

The Nolde case comes at a delicate moment in cultural policy. Set to open at the end this year, the Is Berlin's Humboldt Forum shying away from colonial history? in Berlin is a world-class museum, a prestigious project by Monika Grütters, Minister of State for Culture. But with its collection of ethnological exhibits, it is also caught up in Germany's debates on colonial history.

And, as Nolde shows, the Nazi past is far from forgotten. Every new case of looted art also shows the importance of provenance research. Whether as a result of lacking political will or money, this process hasn't been established in a binding and comprehensive way yet. Many museums are out on their own.

Read more: Nazi-looted art: Why are restitutions still the exception?

Can art and the artist's disposition be separated?

Emil Nolde may have been a Nazi supporter and anti-Semite. But what does that mean for his art? One may still find his works beautiful — his glowing marsh and sea landscapes under a wildly stormy sky, as well as his biblical scenes and especially his enchantingly watercolors of flowers. But in the office of the German Chancellor?

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Why Merkel had an expressionist's works removed from the Chancellery https://dailynewsegypt.com/2019/04/09/why-merkel-had-an-expressionists-works-removed-from-the-chancellery/ Tue, 09 Apr 2019 14:00:00 +0000 https://www.dailynewsegypt.com/?p=695537 The post Why Merkel had an expressionist's works removed from the Chancellery appeared first on Daily News Egypt.

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Was Emil Nolde a Nazi painter? Merkel’s decision to remove his works from the Chancellery reignites a debate on the German expressionist’s art, even though his troubled past is nothing new.It shows a huge wave spraying white foam, falling onto a dark ocean. On the horizon, low-hanging blood-red clouds intensify the drama. Breaker, a painting by Emil Nolde (1867 – 1956), is as dramatic as the artist's life story.

The German-Danish artist, whose work was once labeled "degenerate" by the National Socialist government in Berlin in the 1930s, was himself a staunch Nazi. Which is assumed to be why Chancellor Angela Merkel has decided to ban Breaker and a second painting by Nolde from her office, returning the loaned works to the Berlin State Museums' collection.

The move comes as two exhibitions grappling with Nolde's conflicted history are set to open in Germany. "Emil Nolde. A German Legend. The Artist during the Nazi Regime" opens April 12 at the Hamburger Bahnhof in Berlin, followed by "Escape Into Art? The Brücke Painters in the Nazi Period" at the Brücke Museum, also in the capital city. Both of the museums are a part of the Prussian Cultural Heritage Foundation. Both exhibitions also aim to clear up myths surrounding the artist, who claimed to have been ostracized during the Nazi era.

Read more: How Nazi-banned expressionist Emil Nolde re-envisioned color

Nolde himself rewrote his life story

Nolde's own telling of his life story, it turns out, was "an extreme reinterpretation," says Bernhard Fulda, co-curator of the Hamburger Bahnhof exhibition and expert on Nolde.

Fulda, along with art historian Aya Soika, reassessed the artist's wartime experiences. Even though Nolde himself insisted that he was persecuted, their research refers to the fact that he hated Jewish people and was conversant in the language of the time, referring to the Führer, the Volk and the Vaterland.

Read more: Words that came from the Nazis — and others that surprisingly didn't

Fulda drew, in part, on the archives of the Nolde Foundation in Seebüll, which had been opened in 2013 after Christian Ring took over the post of director. A 2014 exhibition at Frankfurt's Städel Museum had already brought this historical retelling to light.

"On the one hand, we have a heroic story that the artist himself had brought into the world and which was then transformed into literature by Werner Haftmann (Ed. note: a German art historian) and author Siegfried Lenz," Fulda told DW. "Even before 1933, Nolde wove his own legend — that of the eternally misunderstood artist. Then he reformulated it into the legend of the German pioneer of modern painting persecuted by Jews. And after 1945 he was suddenly no longer persecuted by the Jews, but by the National Socialists."

"This is an astonishing reinterpretation of his own life's story," said Fulda, "but it was received with enthusiasm in German society. It is astonishing how quickly such a transformation from sinner to saint can take place."

A broader debate on German identity

It is this transformation that appears to be at the heart of the renewed debate surrounding Nolde's contributions to the art world. It's a debate that Christian Ring says he cannot really understand, given that Nolde's biography had been openly discussed for years.

"On the one hand, he is a great artist whose art has had a decisive influence on the development of German art history and who is still regarded by many artists today as a role model … On the other hand, there is a man who was trapped in his time, like many other millions of Germans," says Ring.

Yet Fulda sees the discussion as one which has broadened with time, one in which greater reflection can take place, focusing "on the relationship between German identity, art and changing political power relations, but also on media relations."

"Two very important narratives coincide — one about the art world during National Socialism and one about the time afterwards: about the glorifying prose and about political interest groups who determine what belongs in a museum or the Chancellery and what does not. And one suddenly understands that art is always part of another social and communicative process and is therefore relevant," says Fulda.

"Art can be an incredibly effective means of communication, telling foreign visitors: What we Germans, the German state and its decision-makers do is shaped by German history, by its positive and negative aspects," the curator adds.

Nolde's opportunistic approach

"In our catalog you can read how Nolde tried in 1933 to qualify as a state artist, as a representative artist of this allegedly young German revival. He sat down and developed a territorial solution to the 'Jewish question,' which he even planned to submit to Adolf Hitler," says Fulda. Although Nolde didn't do so in the end, it remains an unusual demonstration of the artist's opportunistic approach, points out the art historian.

Pairing that background information with a work of art, Fulda points out, will change the story you tell yourself when looking at the picture. "A previously harmless painting no longer looks so harmless," Fulda says. And yet, he admits, there is "not a single painting by Nolde from 1933 that would have you thinking by looking at it on its own, 'Nolde was visually working on solving the Jewish question here.'"

Working with the past with contemporary knowledge

As the debate around Nolde's paintings heats up once again, both Ring and Fulda say that while the questions as to how to best consider the art and contributions of those working with the Nazi regime is still open for discussion, it is not limited to paintings.

"How do we deal with music that was created at the time, as with buildings from the National Socialist era? Do we question the democratic principles of contemporary artists?" Ring asked, noting that artistic freedom is of high value.

Fulda, for his part, sees the discussion as being about something greater. "The heated debate is about more than whether or not the works of an anti-Semite can hang in the Chancellery. Do you know how often the chancellor has gone to Bayreuth to listen to the wonderful music of the anti-Semite Richard Wagner? We've been able to deal with that."

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Egypt’s last days of mandarin season https://dailynewsegypt.com/2019/04/09/egypts-last-days-of-mandarin-season/ Tue, 09 Apr 2019 12:00:28 +0000 https://www.dailynewsegypt.com/?p=695458 As winter bids farewell to Egypt, leaving the space to spring, the Egyptians let go of one of their most favourite winter fruits, which is mandarin. The orange-lookalike fruit is considered one of the closest fruits to Egyptians’ hearts which almost all people anticipate its arrival. Cultivated locally, mandarin is considered one of the top …

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As winter bids farewell to Egypt, leaving the space to spring, the Egyptians let go of one of their most favourite winter fruits, which is mandarin. The orange-lookalike fruit is considered one of the closest fruits to Egyptians’ hearts which almost all people anticipate its arrival.

Cultivated locally, mandarin is considered one of the top budget-friendly fruits, which opens the door for all social classes to devour it throughout the winter season.

In 2017, Egypt was among the world’s top planting countries of mandarin, with a total production of 1m tonnes.

Thousands of farmers in Egypt’s Delta wait for the mandarin’s harvesting season. Moreover, a big number of villages totally rely on planting it as income source.

The fruit has several types planted in different regions across the world. In Egypt, the locally cultivated mandarin is called ‘Yousfy Balady’, or local mandarin in English. This type is widely spread in Upper Egypt, especially in Assuit.

Daily News Egypt’s photographer visited a mandarin field during the last days of its harvesting season, which starts from December and lasts until March, and captured some of this year’s last mandarin cultivations.

Through the history, the start of mandarin in Egypt was not accurately documented. However, some books stated that it goes back to Mohammed Ali Pasha’s era.

According to historical narratives and stories, after the death of Mohammed Ali’s son, he went into a deep depression and nothing brought him out of it as much as harvesting. It reached the extent of bringing hundreds of plant seeds to Egypt from Turkey, and dedicated 100 feddan nearby his palace in order to plant them.

Farmers combined between oranges and laring, to come out with Egypt’s most favourite fruits, mandarin. 

All photos are taken by Doaa’ Nasr

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Climbing out of darkness: initiative supports visually impaired to climb mountains https://dailynewsegypt.com/2019/04/08/climbing-out-of-darkness-initiative-supports-visually-impaired-to-climb-mountains/ Mon, 08 Apr 2019 13:30:48 +0000 https://www.dailynewsegypt.com/?p=695338 After reaching furthest planned stop, one of participants insisted to climb over 20 more metres, says organiser

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“I want to climb the tallest mountain in the world, now that I have known what a dessert feels like, and what it is like to climb a mountain, I can see it, and most importantly, feel it. There is nothing I cannot do in this world,” a visually impaired woman told Reham Abu Bakr, an Egyptian traveller, while laughingly running down the Wadi Degla Protectorate.

Fifteen visually impaired women spent their day on Friday climbing the Wady Degla mountain, with the help of 25 volunteers, as a part of Abu Bakr’s initiative, ‘Donate a Journey’. The event was held by Rahalah Organization for Sustainable Development (ROSD), an NGO aiming to empower local underprivileged citizens through eight programmes, each enhancing a part of their lives, and developing both their knowledge and living circumstances. 

Passionate about the desert and a champion hiker, Abu Bakr’s lifelong dream was to make other people, who might be looked at as less fortunate, to enjoy the things she loves the most and visits places she believes worth visiting and inspired by.

“Everyone believes that in order to enjoy the peace of the desert you have to see it. However, it is all about sensing it,” Abu Bakr told Daily News Egypt, adding “being deprived from eyesight does not mean one cannot see what is beyond the surface of the visual impairment. These women can sense, feel, and flow with the dessert just like all of us if not more!”

The journey started with Abu Bakr explaining the meaning of a dessert, and what to expect from it.

“I explained the wideness of the protectorate, referred to the spaces they are familiar with, and the rocky slippery ground through things they already know, in order to help them draw a picture of the place that is closest to the real one,” she said.

Unlike predictions that women will not enjoy something that is hard to achieve by the visually impaired, the women rocked the mountain reaching up until 30 metres high with the help of the volunteers.

“I was told that it is not only that they are blind, they haven’t even had a single visit to any desert before. So most likely they will not enjoy it, and it will only increase their feelings of not being able to fit in,” Abu Bakr remembered the talk she had with the supervisor when she was explaining the trip’s idea for the first time.

She admits that there were some challenges, but she had faith in the capabilities of those underprivileged, who are just like anyone else, and she overcame the challenges, leading her to make up her mind, and persevere in her path of studying the means of encouraging them to climb.

Thirty metres high is considered an achievement for a first-time climber, however, that was not even enough for some of the participants.

“After reaching the furthest planned stop, one of the women stood up stating that she does not want to stop there and wants to go further,” Abu Bakr recalls. Amid thrills, fast heart beats, and excitement, two of the volunteers accompanied her “to over 50 metres high.”

Usually the volunteers help the visual impaired climber in explaining the places of the surrounding rocks and the spaces.

“However, when the spectacular woman was descending from the mountain, she refused their help, saying ‘I memorised the steps and the places of the holes and the rocks of the mountain by heart, I can go down on my own’ in a tone of voice that no one could argue with,” Abu Bakr added.

The hours both the volunteers and the visually impaired women spent at the protectorate were enough to change both of their aspects toward life.

“For the climbers, they all confirmed they never imagined they would have such an entertaining time, and we left them with heartache as they begged for further trips like this,” Abu Bakr related.

“For me, I now know for certain that there is not a single thing in the world no one can do. This has been my dream for a long time, and I made it come true, with no plans to stop it,” Abu Bakr concluded.

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Cycling for commemorating Gandhi’s life principles https://dailynewsegypt.com/2019/04/08/cycling-for-commemorating-gandhis-life-principles/ Mon, 08 Apr 2019 13:30:42 +0000 https://www.dailynewsegypt.com/?p=695347 Event is one of cultural series held by Indian embassy to spread late activist’s ethics

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Throughout his life, the Indian philosopher and activist Mahatma Gandhi wondered if the world after his death will follow his quote in which he assured that “The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others.” However, he never imagined that decades later, people would still passionately follow his lead.

Celebrating his 150th birth anniversary, the Indian embassy in Egypt organised a cycling event in Zamalek and Dokki districts with the help of Cairo Cycling Geckos, a team of female cyclists in Cairo, and distributed food and other supplies over the less privileged.

The tour aims to spread the Gandhian messages of the need for a healthy and environment friendly lifestyle as well as compassion towards the poor.

It is one of a series of cultural events held by the embassy to commemorate Gandhi’s life and ethics.

“We have been organising many events to celebrate his life and ideas. Gandhi supported compassion and women empowerment. Through this event, we celebrated his principles through this female cycling team who are used to do charity in their events, and distribute food over the needy people,” said Kshitij Tygai, political secretary at the embassy.

“Today we accomplished our great mission for the 150th anniversary of Gandhi! 50 families in Boulaq [in Giza] received food supplies this morning by our amazing volunteers!” the official Facebook page of the cycling team stated.

Earlier this year, the Indian ambassador in Egypt, Rahul Kulshreshth, handed Reem Ezz El-Din, an Egyptian singer, a gratitude letter from the Indian Minister of External Affairs, Sushma Swaraj, in appreciation of her efforts in commemorating Gandhi’s 150th anniversary.

Ezz El-Din was one of the artists who revived Gandhi’s memory through singing his favourite song, Vaishnav Jan To Tene Kahiye, (A Good Person) written by the Hindi poet Narsimha Mehta, alongside 123 other singers from all over the globe in a musical contribution dedicated to the Indian icon.

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Ptolemaic-era tomb of nobleman, his musician wife, accidentally unearthed in Sohag https://dailynewsegypt.com/2019/04/07/ptolemaic-era-tomb-of-nobleman-his-musician-wife-accidentally-unearthed-in-sohag/ Sun, 07 Apr 2019 10:00:50 +0000 https://www.dailynewsegypt.com/?p=695227 Extraordinary colours, inscriptions, found on tomb’s walls

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A well-preserved Ptolemaic burial chamber was discovered at Al-Dayabat archaeological site in Sohag governorate on Friday when police forces thwarted an illegal excavation attempt by a local gang in the area.

The tomb belongs to a nobleman called Toutou and his wife who was a musician for goddess Hathor. The police accidentally stumbled upon the tomb while they were trying to prevent a gang from digging in a nearby area.

After the tourism and antiquities police completed its investigation into the case, a mission headed by the Secretary-General of the Supreme Council of Antiquities, Mostafa Waziri, immediately started excavating the tomb. He found out that it consists of two small rooms containing two limestone sarcophagi as well as a mummy that is still unidentified.

The extraordinary tomb was in good shape and the mummies were well-persevered, as the mission only needed to remove the layers of dirt to reveal the bright paintings covering the walls of the two-room tomb.

The discovery is considered one of the biggest and most unique ancient tombs in Sohag. The tomb’s extraordinary colours and the inscriptions on its walls depict many scenes, including its owners. One of the scenes at the entrance of the tomb features Toutou being welcomed by the god Anubis, and another one depicting his wife also being welcomed by the same god.

Another scenery shows Toutou while being judged by the god with his two daughters, aside portrayals for the Ancient Egyptians’ most beloved blossom, the sunflower.

The tomb has many inscriptions as well as some names of the couple’s families.

A number of mummified animals was also found in a very good shape inside the tomb, including falcons, shrews, cats, and eagles.

Waziri told a state-owned media outlet that shrews can see very good at night which was believed to be a cure for blindness at that time.

The tomb is believed to be used as an animal cemetery later after the couple died.

The discovery is not the first that accidentally saw the light. Last week, the ministry of antiquities discovered a limestone sarcophagus containing two mummies, and a part of an Old Kingdom cemetery in the Quweisna quarries in Menoufiya, a few days after stumbling upon an ancient palace belonging to Ramses II, which was attached to his temple in Abydos, Sohag.

The cemetery was proven to be used over the years and various eras, up until the Ptolemaic era, going through the New Kingdom, as it contained a number of relics including three statuettes depicting three of the four sons of the god Horus. However, they were discovered in a totally damaged state.

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Donna Leon: 'I admire countries that have remained sane' https://dailynewsegypt.com/2019/04/07/donna-leon-i-admire-countries-that-have-remained-sane/ Sun, 07 Apr 2019 09:59:00 +0000 https://www.dailynewsegypt.com/?p=695269 The post Donna Leon: 'I admire countries that have remained sane' appeared first on Daily News Egypt.

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Donna Leon, one of the doyennes of crime writing, is visiting the island of Usedom to read in a literary program with the title “Thinking of Germany.” DW took the opportunity to ask her about her own thoughts.You are here on a visit to one of Germany's sunniest spots, the island of Usedom on the Baltic Sea, to read to an audience at the "Usedom Literature Days." Sunshine, the sound of the waves, birds chirping — would this be the ideal kind of place for you to write?

It's an ideal place to be because of the presence of the sea and the beach. I don't have to be in a particular place in order to write, so long as I can be there for at least ten days with no need to travel. I need a room, a desk, and my computer, and the rest can be anywhere it wants to be.

This year's theme of the "Usedom Literature Days" is "Thinking of Germany." One of Heinrich Heine's most famous lines, many Germans might carry on the sentence in their heads with the line: "If I think of Germany at night, I am robbed of my sleep." What are your thoughts on Germany these days?

Because I am a citizen of a country that seems, at least to me, to be in a state of ever-renewed chaos and spent many years living in Italy, which seems to be in a similar state, I can but admire countries that have remained sane, Germany among them. It is concerned with the environment and has tried for years to expand its alternative energy supply. Because I am an environmental fanatic, I can only praise it. It also has a leader who is serious, as opposed to the leaders of the forenamed countries.

You will read from your latest novel "Unto Us a Son Is Given," of which the German translation will only appear in a couple of weeks. Can you tell us a bit about what Commissario Brunetti gets himself into this time?

I will read chiefly from the previous book, "The Forgiveness of Temptation," and will read only briefly from the not-yet-published book, in which Brunetti is asked to stop an old family friend from making a decision his friends consider to be foolish.

Your crime novels are beloved all over the world but foremost in Germany. What is your guess as to why people in Germany have, for many years, anxiously awaited the next one?

Germans have always admired Italy and the many positive virtues of the Italians. They especially like Venice, and so books which give a vision of Venetian life that is calm and realistic might be interesting to them. The books are not tourist guides but accounts of what daily life, real life is about.

Have you ever seen one of the very popular German TV-movies based on your novels?

I've seen two of them.

Do you read many crime novels yourself?

No.

What books are waiting for you next to your favorite armchair?

The "Letters of Pliny the Younger," Balzac's "Lost Illusions," and "The Poems" of John Donne.

Nowadays you spend much of your time in Switzerland. How often do you still get back to Venice?

I go once a month, for about a week.

Do you need the charm of the city on the lagoon to write?

No. I have a very clear memory of the city as I first encountered it in the late '60s.

Music is very important to you, especially baroque music. You used to support an orchestra. Are you still doing it?

Yes, I work with Il Pomo d'Oro and will spend most of May with them, when they rehearse, record, and then go on tour with Handel's Agrippina.

What about baroque music is so fascinating for you?

I find that it is very cheerful music, and God knows, we need a bit of cheerfulness, always. My academic work was in the literature of the 18th century, so I am already fond of the orderliness of the times.

Do you play an instrument yourself?

No, nor can I read musical notation.

Returning to this year's theme "Thinking of…" What do you think of if I substitute "Germany" with "my homeland"?

I seldom think about it; it's a bit too embarrassing to read what people say, even worse to listen to them when they speak. But it will pass, and things will perhaps improve.

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Cairo’s flower exhibition colours grey city https://dailynewsegypt.com/2019/04/04/cairos-flower-exhibition-colours-grey-city/ Thu, 04 Apr 2019 12:00:25 +0000 https://www.dailynewsegypt.com/?p=695018   With vibrant colours and fresh breeze full of perfumed scents, the Flower Exhibition kicked off a few days ago, invading the pungent smoky weather of Greater Cairo and declaring the start of spring. Inside one of Giza’s most mesmerizing gardens, Orman, the fascination of blossoms took over visitors’ souls taking them into a trip …

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With vibrant colours and fresh breeze full of perfumed scents, the Flower Exhibition kicked off a few days ago, invading the pungent smoky weather of Greater Cairo and declaring the start of spring.

Inside one of Giza’s most mesmerizing gardens, Orman, the fascination of blossoms took over visitors’ souls taking them into a trip inside a land of cultivated plants. The 86th round of the exhibition started with 180 exhibitors.

Thousands of flowers in different sizes, shapes, smells, and colours filled the Orman Garden in a heart touching scenery. From lavender through various types of Daisy Family to lilly’s, the exhibition is a perfect homeland to flowers from various regions across the world. With prices, ranging from EGP 7 to EGP 5,000, almost all sorts of flowers exist at the exhibition.

   

Egypt’s Minister of Agriculture and Land Reclamation, Ezz El-Din Abu Steit, said at the beginning of the exhibition that the ministry targets reaching a million visitors this year, in order to raise people’s awareness about the importance of greenery environment.

The exhibition also offers all the chemicals and the required fertilizer needed for the gardens. The Flowers Exhibition is opened until 4 May.

All photos taken by Mahmoud Fekry

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Two mummies accidentally discovered in Menoufiya https://dailynewsegypt.com/2019/04/03/two-mummies-accidentally-discovered-in-menoufiya/ Wed, 03 Apr 2019 12:30:42 +0000 https://www.dailynewsegypt.com/?p=694893 Unearthed mummy was covering another one beneath it in sarcophagus

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The week of accidental discoveries that came to reveal details of previous eras is not over yet. The Ministry of Antiquities announced discovering a limestone sarcophagus containing two mummies in Quweisna quarries in Menoufiya.

The discovery was unearthed through the excavation work of an Egyptian mission, headed by Moustafa Waziri, the secretary-general of the Supreme Council of Antiquities. The mummies were found in a bad condition, with one covering the other at the sarcophagus.

The mission accidentally stumbled upon the sarcophagus while they were digging at the northeast side of the archaeological site. Waziri stated in a press release that the sarcophagus is two metres long and 60cm in width and in a good condition, despite the status of the mummies inside of it. 

Gilded coins and fragments were also found inside the sarcophagus covering the top mummy. The whole discovery was sent to be restored in Kafr El-Sheikh’s storage gallery.

The two mummies were not discovered until the tomb reached the restoration lab, and found that one is covering the other. Both the mummies and sarcophagus are currently under renovation by the experts who are taking precautions for the antiquities to be fully restored.

Moreover, Ayman Ashmawy, the head of the Ancient Egyptian Antiquities Department, further added that the mission accidently discovered a part of an Old Kingdom cemetery in Quesna, in Menoufiya.

The cemetery was proven to be used over the years and various eras, up until the Ptolemaic era, going through the New Kingdom.

The burial chamber was found containing various burial methods on different levels and layers.

The cemetery contained a number of relics including three statuettes depicting three of the four sons of the God Horus. However, they were found to be totally damaged.

Among the discovered antiquities were also scarabs carved in gold, and bronze coins from the Ptolemaic era, which were all transferred to the Egyptian Museum for display.

This comes as the second unexpected discovery in Upper Egypt.

Few days ago, the ministry also announced accidentally discovering an ancient palace belonging to Ramses II, which was attached to his temple in Abydos, Sohag.

The palace is considered to be highly important as it also adds a new aspect into the knowledge people have about architecture, and the shapes of the temples and their attached parts at the Ramesside period.

The location of Ramses II’s palace is parallel to the temple of Ramses II’s father Seti I in Abydos, some 300 metres to the south.

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Egypt’s Invisible Map reveals country’s unspotted gems https://dailynewsegypt.com/2019/04/03/egypts-invisible-map-reveals-countrys-unspotted-gems/ Wed, 03 Apr 2019 12:00:27 +0000 https://www.dailynewsegypt.com/?p=694882 Project aims to inform tourists on Egypt’s eco-friendly places, activities, required budget

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“When I told my family and friends I am coming to Egypt, everyone said I should visit Cairo, Luxor, and Aswan. No one mentioned any other place which I should visit. When I used to inform people that I am looking for a green place to spend my vacation in Egypt, silence was the only response I received. Therefore, I decided to come and look myself,” an Italian tourist told the team of Egypt’s Invisible Map, while they were introducing him to eco-friendly tourism in Egypt.

Egypt’s Invisible Map is a graduation project of 12 students with specialisations in mass-communications. It encompasses a marketing section through which they aim to promote Egypt’s 16 eco-friendly places that few people know about.

Noteworthy, the graduation project aims to shed light on Egypt’s hidden treasures, which are usually forgotten when addressing tourists.

“We kept on digging in the advertising campaigns which target foreigners who are interested in coming and visiting Egypt. We found them to be very successful and unique, yet all of them evolve around the same points and ideas,” Aliaa El Ramlawy, a team member, told Daily News Egypt.

Throughout their research, the young team found that all the advertising campaigns promoting tourism evolve around the Pyramids, the Pharaohs legacy, as well as Luxor and Aswan. “Meanwhile, there are thousands of other activities tourists can enjoy in Egypt, yet they are not spoken about or highlighted,” El Ramwlawy added.

Egypt’s Invisible Map aims to highlight the 16 eco-friendly areas in Egypt, including the White Desert, Siwa Oasis, Dahab, Makadi Bay, Nuweiba, Marsa Allam, as well as Halayeb and Shalateen. The areas are accredited and listed at the UNICEF and the UNDP’s lists of eco-friendly tourism areas. Nonetheless, they are not publicised as places which do not harm the surrounding environment.

“Before we started our project, we did a research asking 200 foreigners who are interested in traveling what they know about Egypt and whether they are aware of having such places in the country. All of the foreigners were completely astonished of having such areas in Egypt,” she explained.

The research which the team conducted revealed that tourists only know about the Pyramids and the antiquities in Egypt, with no further knowledge regarding any other places.

“What is so unique in here is that we have three eco-friendly places: the green, blue, and yellow; all are just waiting to be properly introduced to tourists,” she pointed out.

Through a set of ads, listed info, and publications, the project aims to inform tourists about the eco-friendly places in Egypt, the activities that can be done in it, how to reach there, and the required budget in order to enjoy the place the most.

Within few days from the start of the project, the team was showered with hundreds of messages from tourists stating that they have been looking for such a thing in Egypt, but failed to do so.

“This country is unbelievably beautiful, and it has magical combinations that are not elsewhere in the world, we just need to unwrap these hidden treasures,” El Ramlawy explained.

Among the things the team found while looking at the blue eco-friendly area over the Red Sea, is that Egypt has undersea living creatures that do not live elsewhere.

“Once we published that, several people sent us wondering how to get there and where to stay in order to see such creatures, and that was only few days after we started the project,” she stated.

Egypt’s Invisible Map’s team is looking up into expanding to more than just a graduation project, and take it into a higher level of creating a hub for all those who are interested into knowing all about the eco-friendly tourism in Egypt.

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Bottle Shock: Thailand's Unlikely Emergence as a Wine Destination https://dailynewsegypt.com/2019/04/01/bottle-shock-thailands-unlikely-emergence-as-a-wine-destination/ Mon, 01 Apr 2019 12:40:00 +0000 https://www.dailynewssegypt.com/?p=694788 The post Bottle Shock: Thailand's Unlikely Emergence as a Wine Destination appeared first on Daily News Egypt.

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Maverick Thai winemakers are proving this tropical country’s ability to produce quality wine, breaking all the rules along the way – aided by a little German inspiration.Visooth Lohitnavy is willing to call it fate. Like many Thai students of the 1960s sent abroad for their university education – most often to the Philippines or the US – Lohitnavy found himself coming-of-age far from home. In his case it was to be Munich and Stuttgart.

"Most students were drawn to the Bavarian beer halls, but this never interested me," he laughs, sipping from a glass of sparkling wine. "I was searching for something else, something more natural. I discovered great wine. You could say that time has in a way, come to define my life and career ever since."

Better known as the glistening heartland of Porsche and Mercedes-Benz, Stuttgart sits at the confluence of two of Germany's major wine regions, with Baden to the south and Württemberg to the north. The Neckar River cuts through some of Germany's most traditional wine country – including the Zabergäu – beyond where it unites with the Rhine: a river speckled with mythical castle ruins and, of course, its fabled terraces of Riesling.

Lohitnavy found himself enamored with the fruits of this region and eventually returned to Thailand with a bold, if not somewhat improbable, ambition: to plant wine grapes in Thai soil and produce quality wine. It was an ambition he would finally fulfil in 2001.

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A three-hour drive north east of Bangkok, the Khao Yai wine region – situated in the sprawling and wild Nakhon Ratchasima province – is as alluring as it is bucolic: seemingly a universe away from the opaque smog and humidity of the Chao Phraya Delta to the south. Limestone hills buck skywards from the crimson terra rossa soils, dotted with stone farmhouses and trellised grapevines that resemble – at a glimpse – a quintessential Tuscan vista.

This is the sultry heart of the tropics, where wild elephants roam amidst the thicket of longan and jackfruit trees, the air is charged with the perfume of frangipani and roadside stalls sell fresh papaya salad in the shadows of resplendent Buddhist temples.

Situated around 350 meters (1148 ft.) above sea level and rising to over 500 in some vineyards, the Khao Yai wine region enjoys a milder climate than much of the country: its dramatic monsoon summers bookended by a dry and comparatively cool winter that Lohitnavy recognized for its gentle ripening potential. In 1999 he purchased an old cashew and corn plantation in the Asoke Valley and began the painstaking transformation to what today is known as GranMonte: a 'Euro-fied' translation of Khao Yai, which means 'big mountain'.

Tropical storm

Today the handsome 40-acre site is neatly lined with trellised vines bound with totemic European varieties including Syrah, Cabernet Sauvignon, Verdelho and Viognier. In the winery Lohitnavy's oenologist daughter Nikki is busily overseeing the sorting and pressing of Chenin Blanc grapes, which were harvested overnight when the weather is at its coolest.

By afternoon, however, a sudden and unexpected storm strikes – threatening both the harvest schedule and the grapes, ever vulnerable to mildew and berry splitting. Volatility is a fact of life in tropical winemaking – or 'New Latitude' wines – according to Nikki Lohitnavy, who was trained in Australia and has worked across Europe and South America.

"Viticulture in the tropics is extremely labor intensive," she explains. "This means that Thai wines are expensive to make, which puts them at a disadvantage to other regions – that also enjoy tax incentives and a lot of government support. But we are convinced by the potential of Thai wine, especially in Khao Yai. People were initially shocked by the idea of Thai wine, but this is rapidly changing."

Rising to the Challenge

Thailand is leading the tropical wine revolution, fortified by India, Brazil, China and Vietnam, who are all equally determined to shift both the somatic and metaphysical frontiers of viticulture. It has been an uphill battle. Tropical vines undergo no winter dormancy period and instead experience two distinct vegetation seasons: meaning consistent annual pruning and vine management to both reduce the dense canopy and ensure just one annual harvest to maximize concentration.

Equally, many traditional winemakers and enthusiasts have questioned the possibility of balancing acidity and sugar in such extreme conditions – and cited the detrimental effects of humidity and absence of cool weather, when wine grapes typically develop their complex aromatics. Recent global manifestations of climate change, however, have smashed convention – casting erratic temperatures and conditions across traditional wine-growing regions such as Italy, Spain and France and demanding a radical new approach.

"Khao Yai demonstrates what is possible," Visooth Lohitnavy suggests, adding that winemakers from across the globe are now frequenting the region to learn of its adaptive and progressive practices both in the vineyard and winery.

New Perspectives

Khao Yai has become one of three distinct wine regions in Thailand: the others being Pattaya and the Hua Hin Hills both to the south. Khao Yai, however, is emerging as the fledgling epicenter of Thailand's wine culture and an emerging tourist destination: the birthplace of the Thai Wine Association and also home to enchanting haunts such as Village Farm. "We now have a long history and it's time to share it with others," Village Farm's founder Viravat Cholvanich says, enjoying a glass of his inky yet elegant 2006 La Fleur cuvee of Syrah and Cabernet Sauvignon (which retails for around 100€/113$), from the terrace of his estate nestled in the enchanting hills of Wang Nam Khieo.

GranMonte has become the leading ambassador for Thai wine both at home and abroad: converting locals – traditionally beer and spirit drinkers – to the elixir, as well as exporting into Asia, Europe and beyond. The label's red wines have been highly awarded internationally, including both the 2009 Asoke Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah which, between them, have taken out three Golds at the prestigious Austrian Wine Challenge in Vienna.

At the nearby Prime 19 restaurant celebrated Thai chef Somchai Chaivanich is responsible for the wine cellar beneath his cavernous yet stylish restaurant: racks filled with wines from France, the United States, Italy, Australia and beyond. He comes to the modest Thai section and reaches for a bottle: "This is the beginning of something important," he says. "Thai wine belongs here besides the other great wine regions of the world."

While Thailand remains the ultimate exotic beach destination for many international travelers, Khao Yai's enigmatic and organic appeal is seeing visitor numbers grow annually – with wine complemening the "back to nature" allure, according to local restauranteur Panchana Vatanasathien, of a region celebrated for its local rustic cuisine (a delectable intersection between Thai, Laos and Khmer cuisine) and crowned by the Khao Yai National Park: with its endemic elephants, gibbons and resplendent hornbills. "This is the taste of Khao Yai and the taste of Thailand," Vatanasathien concludes, raising her glass of alluring GranMonte rosé at her bustling Penlaos restaurant. "It is the taste of our future."

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Ramses II’s palace discovered near his temple in Sohag https://dailynewsegypt.com/2019/03/31/ramses-iis-palace-discovered-near-his-temple-in-sohag/ Sun, 31 Mar 2019 06:00:43 +0000 https://www.dailynewsegypt.com/?p=694480 Among the rarest discovered elements were stones used for establishing temple, says mission’s head

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Centuries after building temples, burial chambers, and palaces that commemorate the pharaohs who once lived and died there, the remains of those buildings are what form the details of history and survive in modern days. The ministry of antiquities announced the discovery of an ancient palace belongs to Ramses II, which was attached to his temple in Abydos, Sohag.

The discovery was made by researchers from the New York University that was on excavation mission to study the temple area in order to know more about its architectural design.

Secretary General of the Supreme Council of Antiquities (SCA), Mostafa Waziri, stated in a press release, that the discovery “changes the map of the temple [as we know it] since its discovery 160 years ago.”

He added that the unearthed palace is highly important as it also adds a new aspect into the knowledge people have about architecture, and shapes of the temples and their attached parts at the Ramesside period.

The location and layout of Ramses II’s palace is positioned parallel to the temple of Ramses II’s father Seti I in Abydos some 300 metres to the south.

The 19th dynasty king is known for having some of the largest, most detailed giant granite statues depicting several aspects of his life.

Moreover, Ayman Ashmawy, head of the Ancient Egyptian Antiquities Department, said that some of the walls of the palace’s lobby were made of limestones and bricks, while the ground is made of limestones only.

Ashmawy further explained the details of the discovery, saying that the temple’s second hall has a sandstone column base and lintels with inscriptions of the king. The mission also accidentally discovered that mud bricks with remains of star decorations which were used to speck the ceiling of the palace.

The mission was headed by professor Sameh Iskander who explained the details of the discovery.

“While the mission was excavating the south part of the temple, we stumbled upon a brick stone walkway that led us into a building for the first time with Ramses II inscriptions on its walls,” Iskander recounted.

Furthermore, Iskander added that among the rarest discovered elements were the first few stones of establishing the temple which were carved on the royal cartouches of the young king.

He further explained, according to the press release, that the cartouches appear on all four corners of the temple, showing Ramses II’s important days in golden colour. The inscriptions include the days on which he was born and the day of his coronation.

Ashmawy also told state-owned media outlet, Ahram Online, that the cartouches are surmounted with double feathers with a sun disk in between, and beneath them there is a decorative gold sign.

Ramses II’s most giant statue was transferred at the beginning of 2018 to the Grand Egyptian Museum to settle in its atrium, where it is going to be permanently showcased. The colossus is the first statue to be displayed at the museum. It was already being preserved at another location in the museum since its transfer from its namesake Ramses Square in 2006.

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Nadine Labaki to head Un Certain Regard Jury https://dailynewsegypt.com/2019/03/30/nadine-labaki-to-head-un-certain-regard-jury/ Sat, 30 Mar 2019 10:00:05 +0000 https://www.dailynewsegypt.com/?p=694398 Lebanese director Nadine Labaki has been appointed as the president of the Un Certain Regard Jury at the Cannes International Film Festival, in its 2019 edition. Nadine Labaki’s three feature films catapulted her to international fame, from the Cannes’ red carpet to the Oscars ceremony a few months ago. The director, actress and screenwriter’s career …

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Lebanese director Nadine Labaki has been appointed as the president of the Un Certain Regard Jury at the Cannes International Film Festival, in its 2019 edition.

Nadine Labaki’s three feature films catapulted her to international fame, from the Cannes’ red carpet to the Oscars ceremony a few months ago.

The director, actress and screenwriter’s career was first launched in Cannes, and it is there that all her films have been unveiled.

“I remember back when I used to come to Cannes as a film student, I was so excited to experience the world’s most prestigious festival,” she told the festival.

Adding that, “Back then, it seemed so out of reach to me. I remember getting up early in the morning and the endless queues to get a ticket. It seems like yesterday, but it was fifteen years ago that I filled in the Cannes Film Festival’ Cinéfondation registration form, my heart full of hope and my hand shaking.”

In 2018, Nadine Labaki was selected for Competition with her powerfully moving Capernaum, a poignant manifesto on damaged childhood, refugees and the cracks in a society which turns its back on humanity.

The film, at the time, sent shockwaves around the Croisette. Nadine Labaki won the Jury Prize, that year chaired by Cate Blanchett, and gave an unforgettable speech accompanied by young actor and Syrian refugee, Zain Al Rafeea.

Nominated for a Golden Globe and Academy Award for Best Foreign Film, Capernaum made its Lebanese director the first woman from the Arabic-speaking world to be nominated in this category.

Capharnaüm tells the story of a boy who files a lawsuit against his parents for bringing him to the world, while they cannot afford to take good care of him.

The film stars Labaki, along with Zain Al Rafeea, Fadi Yousef, Boluwatife Treasure Bankole, Kawthar Al Haddad, and Yordanos Shiferaw.

“Today, I am the president of the Un Certain Regard Jury, which just goes to show that sometimes life can be even better than your dreams. I can’t wait to see the films in the selection. I can’t wait to debate and discuss, to be shaken up, to find inspiration in other artists’ work,” Labaki added.

After graduating a degree in audiovisual studies from the University of Beirut, she directed adverts and music videos that frequently won awards.

In 2004, she embarked on Cannes Festival Cinéfondation Residency to write and develop Caramel, her first feature film, shot two years later and showcased at the Directors’ Fortnight in 2007. This joyous, rebellious ode to female camaraderie was distributed worldwide and became the most successful Lebanese film export of all time.

Afterwards, Nadine Labaki continued to explore the female condition and religious tensions in its film, Where Do We Go Now?, a bold, universal fable on tolerance that premiered at Un Certain Regard in 2011.

The Un Certain Regard screenings will kick off on May 15 with an introduction of the Jury in the evening, a day after the opening of the 72nd edition of the Cannes Film Festival on May 14.

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Ancient port used for transferring bricks, rocks discovered in Aswan    https://dailynewsegypt.com/2019/03/27/ancient-port-used-for-transferring-bricks-rocks-discovered-in-aswan/ Wed, 27 Mar 2019 20:49:27 +0000 https://www.dailynewsegypt.com/?p=694284 The Ministry of Antiquities announced on Tuesday the discovery of the main port in Aswan which was used to transfer giant rocks and bricks used in building temples across the Nile. The discovery was unearthed by an Egyptian mission working in Gebel El-Silsila’s archaeological area. The announcement came a day after the Minister of Antiquities, …

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The Ministry of Antiquities announced on Tuesday the discovery of the main port in Aswan which was used to transfer giant rocks and bricks used in building temples across the Nile. The discovery was unearthed by an Egyptian mission working in Gebel El-Silsila’s archaeological area.

The announcement came a day after the Minister of Antiquities, Kahled Al-Anany, stated the completion of lowering the underground water in Kom Ombo.

Moustafa Waziri, the secretary general of the Supreme Council of Antiquities, stated in a press release that the unearthed 100-metre long port is located on the eastern side of the Nile shore, only 200 metres away from the biggest quarry in Gebel El-Silsila.

Waziri added that the port was covered with tons of Nile mud and grass, explaining that once the mission removed the covering layers, carvings and inscriptions were revealed on the spots where the ships were tied.

The quarries of Gebel El-Silsila were the main source of all sorts of rocks that were used in building the most famous temples including Al-Karnak, and the Temple of Horus at Edfu. The quarries are being used from the early 18th Dynasty, up until the modern civilisation.   

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Eighth D-CAF kicks off with women-dominated art performances https://dailynewsegypt.com/2019/03/26/eighth-d-caf-kicks-off-with-women-dominated-art-performances/ Tue, 26 Mar 2019 11:00:21 +0000 https://www.dailynewsegypt.com/?p=694060 Festival distributed around 2,000 tickets for street children, refugees, people with disabilities

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A few days separate Cairo’s citizens from the biggest private contemporary art festival which will shake Downtown, adding more fascination, charm, and beauty to what the area is already full of. The Downtown Contemporary Art Festival (D-CAF) is to kick off its 8th edition on 29 March, amid a warm welcome by the those who have a passion for the arts in the city.

The details of the 8th D-CAF were announced on Sunday during a press conference held by Ahmed El Attar, D-CAF’s artistic director and performing arts curator, and Reem Allam, D-CAF’s executive manager.

For eight years in a row, the festival has been a hub for some of the world’s most unique talents, young artists, and inventive creators.

“Every year, we try to bring modern artistic experiences that interest people and make them admire those types of art. For us, it is not only about the number of visitors who show up, but it is more about their reactions toward those art shows,” Al-Attar said at the press conference.

He added that over the past years, D-CAF has presented more than 500 artists, and reached out to more than 8,000 people with one-of-a-kind performances.

With a prevailing number of female performances at this year’s edition, Al-Attar believes that this year is also about women’s empowerment.

“The majority of this event’s lead organisers are women, so how could the performances not to be full of women!” he cheerfully told Daily News Egypt.

He further explained that it was not intentional for women to take over the artistic scene of the festival, however, it happened as they are the most qualified and unique talents who applied.

Noteworthy, not only does the festival open a hub for people to explore high-quality international performances, but it also allows this art to be explored by all community members through the Art for Everyone Initiative.

Through the initiative, D-CAF communicates with local NGOs and foundations in order to distribute free tickets to large numbers of less fortunate people who would not easily be able to reach such shows, whether due to financial or social reasons.

The festival distributed around 2,000 tickets for street children, refugees, and people with disabilities.

This year’s edition, which runs until 21 April, brings artists from 12 countries to perform 41 events, 30 of which are art performances. These events are to take place at 12 venues in Downtown, while some of those locations have been under renovation by Al Ismailia for Real Estate Investment, the main partner of the festival.

“One of the main targets of D-CAF is also to let people discover the hidden gems of Downtown, which is more of a city inside the city. Every year, we discover a new place inside this city and we aim to make people discover it along. That is why every year, we aim to present a show at a new place that has been renovated by Al Ismailia,” he asserted.

He added that among these buildings is the Tamara building, which was a forgotten venue, and is expected to reattract attention through hosting one of this year’s performances. La Viennoise is another venue, which dates back to the era when Cairo’s architecture was influenced by Europe’s belle époque.

When asked about the reason of not expanding outside Cairo into other governorates which have precious heritage as Downtown does, AL-Attar told Daily News Egypt that in order to do so, the festival needs to arrange with partners in these governorates in order to facilitate the organisation od these art events which are to take place within the same timeframe as Cairo.

“We are currently discussing that and aiming to apply it, but it needs partners who would allow us to organise it well in order not to allow this to affect the quality of the show,” he explained.

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Thousands of visitors line up to explore Tutankhamun’s life https://dailynewsegypt.com/2019/03/25/thousands-of-visitors-line-up-to-explore-tutankhamuns-life/ Mon, 25 Mar 2019 06:30:02 +0000 https://www.dailynewsegypt.com/?p=693929 Anticipation, thrill, life, and excitement took over the long lines of people waiting to get inside the Grande Halle de La Villette’s gates in France to explore the world of Egypt’s young pharaoh through his displayed belongings. Over 5,000 visitors lined during at the first two days of Tutankhamun’s exhibition which kicked off on Saturday …

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Anticipation, thrill, life, and excitement took over the long lines of people waiting to get inside the Grande Halle de La Villette’s gates in France to explore the world of Egypt’s young pharaoh through his displayed belongings. Over 5,000 visitors lined during at the first two days of Tutankhamun’s exhibition which kicked off on Saturday to the public.

Over 180,000 tickets have been sold so far from the temporary exhibition titled ‘King Tut: Treasures of the Golden Pharaoh’, of which 130,000 tickets were presold from the inauguration of the exhibition, according to the state-run media outlet, Al-Ahram.

The exhibition displays 150 antiquities from the pharaoh’s personal belongings, including the world’s most famous gold mask, the gilded wooden bed-which was fashioned especially for his funeral with carved lion feet-golden coffins, and 3D models which the museum prepared in order to take the visitors through time and place within the glories of the Egyptian civilisation.

The last time the exhibition was inaugurated in France was in 1967, where 1.2 million visitors expressed their interest in exploring the history of the young king, according to the museum’s official website, while the former Egyptian Minister of Antiquities stated that the number of visitors reached 1.5 million, according to the state-owned Al-Ahram Online.

The exhibition will last until 15 September 2019, before it starts another journey in six other countries, including Australia and South Korea, where it will be held in 10 cities. The tour will last until the end of 2022. After the tour comes to an end, the relics are to return back to the Grand Egyptian Museum, where they will join the rest of the 5,000 relics found at the king’s burial chamber in 1922.

  

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Two smuggled statues retrieved from Switzerland https://dailynewsegypt.com/2019/03/25/two-smuggled-statues-retrieved-from-switzerland/ Mon, 25 Mar 2019 06:00:58 +0000 https://www.dailynewsegypt.com/?p=693925 Relics depict Horus as falcon, Tadibast III as cat

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After a year of continuous efforts to preserve the Egyptian civilisation’s legacy, the Egyptian embassy in Bern, Switzerland, received on Saturday two antiquities that were seized by Swiss authorities in a smuggling attempt last year.

The ministry announced on Sunday that the Egyptian authorities received two statues, one depicting a god, and the other a goddess from different periods.

The first received relic showcases goddess Tadibast III dating back to the Third Intermediate Period. The wooden statue features the Egyptian queen as a cat. Meanwhile, the other statue depicts Horus, Egypt’s God of sun. The pink granite statue showcases the god as a falcon, the same way he has been known over the years.

Shaaban AbdelGawad, the director general of the Department of Recovered Antiquities, stated in a press release that retrieving these antiquities comes after a year of non-stop efforts from the Egyptian side.

The efforts received a payback after intensive follow-up from Egypt’s embassy in Switzerland, the Foreign Cultural Relationships Sector at the ministry of foreign affairs, the Repatriation Department at the ministry of antiquities, and the Customs Department in Geneva, where the antiquities were detected and seized. 

For his side, Egypt’s ambassador to Switzerland, Hisham Seif El-Din, added that Egypt appreciates the efforts provided by the Swiss authorities “which effectively led into retrieving the relics.”

He added that Egypt’s continuous efforts extend into bringing some antiquities from the concerned authorities in Switzerland.

   

This comes a month after Egypt retrieved a gilded coffin that was smuggled from Egypt in 2011 to the Metropolitan Museum of Art of New York. The coffin belongs to Nedjemankh, who was the priest of the ram-god Heryshef, called the ruler of the riverbank.

The museum bought the coffin from someone who showed them an antiquities trading licence in 1971, when relics’ trade was authorised. However, it discovered that his license was proven to be fake.

Abdel Gawad previously stated that in the last two years, Egypt has retrieved over 1,000 smuggled artefacts, from several countries in the past, including 586 items that were returned in 2017.

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AUC features Dame Minouche Shafik as acclaimed guest speaker at Nadia Younes’ annual Memorial Lecture https://dailynewsegypt.com/2019/03/21/auc-features-dame-minouche-shafik-as-acclaimed-guest-speaker-at-nadia-younes-annual-memorial-lecture/ https://dailynewsegypt.com/2019/03/21/auc-features-dame-minouche-shafik-as-acclaimed-guest-speaker-at-nadia-younes-annual-memorial-lecture/#respond Thu, 21 Mar 2019 18:42:26 +0000 https://www.dailynewsegypt.com/?p=693618 Egyptian economy could be 60% larger if gender equality in labour market is achieved, says Shafik

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The American University in Cairo (AUC) celebrated on Wednesday the 16th memory of Nadia Younes at its Greek Campus. Younes was an Egyptian woman who spent her career of over 30 years working at the UN and the World Health Organization (WHO), occupying high-level positions in both, and died tragically during the bombing of the UN headquarters in Baghdad, Iraq in 2003. 

The acclaimed guest speaker at the event this year was the Egyptian leading economist, Dame Minouche Shafik, who is currently the director of the London School of Economics and Political Science. Minouche delivered the Nadia Younes Memorial Lecture and tackled several economic issues in Egypt, including the nature of social mobility in the Egyptian society, the changing situation of the middle class, unemployment and its relation to the available public sector jobs, and gender equality in the labour market.

On the topic of less discrimination against women in the modern world and integrating more female elements into the local economy, Shafik said that the Egyptian economy could be 60% larger than its current size, if gender equality is achieved in the local market.

Former speakers at the Nadia Younes Memorial Lecture included Amr Moussa, Egypt’s former foreign minister; Kofi Annan, the former UN secretary-general; Michael Moller, the director-general of the UN office at Geneva, and Nabil El Araby, the former Egyptian Foreign Minister who was also present at this year’s celebration, among others. 

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Witness to War and Peace: Egypt, the October War, and Beyond: English memoir of Al-Sadat’s Cabinet  https://dailynewsegypt.com/2019/03/20/witness-to-war-and-peace-egypt-the-october-war-and-beyond-english-memoir-of-al-sadats-cabinet/ https://dailynewsegypt.com/2019/03/20/witness-to-war-and-peace-egypt-the-october-war-and-beyond-english-memoir-of-al-sadats-cabinet/#respond Wed, 20 Mar 2019 11:16:37 +0000 https://www.dailynewsegypt.com/?p=693494 Aboul Gheit takes readers back in time to very critical moment, 5 October 1973, one day before war

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“This is not a story about my journey, this is a book about Anwar El-Sadat’s epic in heroism and wisdom,” said Egypt’s veteran politician Ahmed Aboul Gheit at the introduction of his translated English book, Witness to War and Peace: Egypt, the October War and Beyond, which is published by the American University in Cairo’s (AUC) Press. 

After years of the published Arabic version, which takes readers behind the scenes of Al-Sadat’s decision of the 1973 War, and the subsequent Camp David Accords, the AUC Press decided to give English readers a chance to dig into Egypt’s recent history which reshaped its status and played a significant role of where it currently stands on the international map.   

Aboul Gheit is a veteran diplomat. From a very young age, he worked in critical positions which allowed him to witness each and every political communication between Egypt and other foreign countries. A few years later, he was elected as the secretary general of the Arab League. He previously served as Egypt’s ambassador to Italy and as Egypt’s permanent representative to the UN. In 2004, he was appointed as Egypt’s Minister of Foreign Affairs–a post he held until 2011.

In his memories, Aboul Gheit takes readers back in time to a very critical moment which starts on 5 October 1973, one day before the huge warfare, when he was working at the National Security Consultancy.

“This book is not just about chronicling the history by a member who personally witnessed all the negotiations’ details, read all the official documents exchanged between Egypt and the concerned countries, and furthermore took a part in writing them, it is more about honouring the figures involved during that era, who passed away before having the chance to document it,” Aboul Gheit said in his speech.

“This is not just a good book, it is an important book that tells the details of Al-Sadat’s decision of the war and the peace treaty afterwards,” said AUC’s President Francis J Ricciardone.

Speaking of the having the AUC Press publish the book, Ricciardone told Daily News Egypt that as a former colleague to Aboul Gheit, when they discussed the offer, it was met with warm welcomes from the AUC’s side in order to open a window for those who do not speak fluent Arabic to learn and know about Egypt’s history, especially regarding such a critical matter like the 1973 War and the peace treaty afterwards.

“I think for anyone around the world who deals with Egypt, whether scholars, businesspersons or even particularly diplomats who need to understand this country, they need to have access to authentic living Egyptian witnesses to Egyptian decision-making. [That includes] how Egypt sees the world, [views] modern history, and then explains this decision-making,” Ricciardone said.

The AUC president further explained that the reasons behind publishing the book in English by the AUC Press were that the 1967 period, until the 1973 War was a transformative era of war and peace in the history of the whole region that is described in “too little writings by Egyptians in English.”

“There are several memoirs in Arabic, but for most foreigners, to have it in English with really good translation makes really important information available,” he added. 

The book is divided into two main sections: a witness to the war, and a witness to the peace. Throughout these sections, the meetings’ details which were held by the high board of the armed forces are mentioned. It portrays an image which includes the reader, making him feel like one of the attendees.

“I am blessed with a very strong memory, I rarely forget anything. In this book, I mentioned 95% of the details which occurred at the time, while the one thing that kept me from sharing the other 5% is that they cannot be shared with the public,” Aboul Gheit declared.

Throughout the sections of the book, Aboul Gheit recalls Al-Sadat’s decision of the 1973 War, quite aware that Egypt’s army is not well-equipped, and as others clearly declared, “much weaker than the Israeli one.”

“He took the war decision in one meeting, while depicting the exact war steps, the Egyptian army could do nothing more. These steps included taking them over via a surprise element by destroying the Bar Lev Line, possessing the first attack against the enemy, waiting for their response, and immediately stopping the line of fire,” he added.

Aboul Gheit added that in his book, he portrays how the man of peace and war was quite aware of the steps of the war, and they were previously delineated in detail by the armed forces.

Despite the huge risk at the time, he asserted that if Al-Sadat had not taken that risk, Sinai would have been probably like the Golan Heights nowadays, adding that these actions included the peace treaty which was met with a mass wave of anger and accusations of betrayal and wasting the blood of Egyptian soldiers who died in the war.

“Forty years later, I still sometimes wonder if Al-Sadat had not done what he did-putting in mind everything that politically happened afterwards-it leads me to believe that Egypt would otherwise not have regained control over its lands,” Aboul Gheit explained.

Despite declaring that the US was with the Israeli side during the war, Aboul Gheit clearly stated that not a single word was changed from the book while being translated from the Arabic version into the English one.

The book is the start of the AUC Press’ publishing series of Aboul Gheit’s memoirs. He announced in his speech that his second book, Shahadty (My Testimony) is to also become published in English by the end of this year. Throughout his second book, he will recall his journey as Egypt’s Minister of Foreign Affairs.

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Tyson starts shooting Egyptian film, co-starring Amr Saad https://dailynewsegypt.com/2019/03/19/tyson-starts-shooting-egyptian-film-co-starring-amr-saad/ https://dailynewsegypt.com/2019/03/19/tyson-starts-shooting-egyptian-film-co-starring-amr-saad/#respond Tue, 19 Mar 2019 13:30:39 +0000 https://www.dailynewsegypt.com/?p=693340 Heavyweight boxer was accompanied by film crew on his tour to Giza Plateau

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Impromptu moments of him riding a camel while roaming the pyramids holding his wife Kiki close by, with the sphinx’s giant bricks in the background–these were some of the pictures which introduced legendary Mike Tyson’s trip to Cairo.

The famous boxer landed in Egypt earlier this week, but it was not until Sunday night when the pictures were published announcing his arrival. 

Tyson came to participate in the Egyptian film ‘Hamlet Pharon’ (A Pharaoh’s Campaign), produced by Mohamed El Sobky, in which he will co-star alongside Amr Saad, and the young radiant female actress Ruby.

Shooting is scheduled to start on Tuesday. The film is written by Karim Hassan Bashir, and will be directed by Raouf Abd El Aziz.

‘Hamlet Pharon’ tells the story of Yehia (Amr Saad) who owns the largest, and most widespread assassins’ network in Egypt. Known as ‘Pharon’ (The Pharaoh), Yehia finds himself stuck in a long journey from Egypt to Syria in order to free his lover.

Tyson, 52, is a former professional boxer who competed from 1985 to 2005. He joined the international records when he won the record of the youngest boxer to hold the title of a heavyweight at 20-years-old.

Nicknamed ‘The Iron Man’, Tyson took part in a total of 58 fights in his professional career. Fifty of those he won, 44 being by knockout. In the fights he did not win, he officially lost six, and two fell into the category of no contest.

The heavyweight boxer was accompanied by some of the film crew on his tour to the Giza Plateau which was the first outing he started his short visit in Egypt with.

The film’s shooting period was not clearly announced. The film witnesses Tyson’s first participation ever in an Egyptian film. He also participated in few Hollywood films, including The Hangover, (2009), Ip Man 3, (2015,) and The Hangover Part II, (2011).

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Eighth D-CAF Festival to colour greyness of Cairo’s streets https://dailynewsegypt.com/2019/03/19/eighth-d-caf-festival-to-colour-greyness-of-cairos-streets/ https://dailynewsegypt.com/2019/03/19/eighth-d-caf-festival-to-colour-greyness-of-cairos-streets/#respond Tue, 19 Mar 2019 13:00:41 +0000 https://www.dailynewsegypt.com/?p=693331 Cultural festival will present first fully Egyptian street dance performance

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For eight years in a row, the Downtown Contemporary Art Festival (D-CAF) is about to rock Egypt with its one-of-a-kind performances, bringing joy, fascination, and excitement from their homelands to their passionate followers in Egypt. 

With extreme selection of the performing troupes and individuals, D-CAF comes every year to present alternative theatrical productions, revolutionising the art scene with the performers’ work. This year’s edition runs from 29 March until 21 April.

Troupes from Hungary, Germany, France, the UK, and Egypt will come to take part in the international art festival with 10 performances spread over the days of the festival.

The programme will start with a sand and paint animation show by Quartzbox, with its members Daniel Cako and Aron Hidvegi from Hungary. The show will be presented at Maq’ad of Sultan Qaitbey, according to a press release published by D-CAF.

As for Danish art, it is presented through Dust, a play which won the Danish Art Council’s award in 2016. It combines adult puppetry design, performance, opera, and other genres.

France will fly over the borders to participate with the Assembly of Dreams, a performance by Duncan Ivennou, which will be presented on Rawabet Theatre from 3-4 April.

Egypt will have a surprising and a breathtaking participation through a street dance performance, which will take place at El-Sharefein street by contemporary dancer Shaymaa Shoukry. The dance is planned to take part on 12 April. Noteworthy, this is the first Egyptian dance show to be performed by people with disabilities.

This will be the first “100% Egyptian [performance],” Ahmed ElAttar, D-CAF’s artistic director, stated in the press release, explaining that “Usually, the shows which include people with disabilities used to be choreographed by foreign coaches, but this time, all the participants are Egyptian.”

The Egyptian participation continues with Without Damage, an interactive dance performance by Mohamed Fouad, who took part at the festival twice, with this being the second year in a row.

Without Damage is an interactive play, where the audience are asked to join the stage at various points of the play. Daily News Egypt attended one of its shows last year, wondering how the Egyptian audience would receive such an art which they are not used to–or even anything close to it. Surprisingly, it was received incredibly well, with attendees participating in the different parts of the show and some of the audience lined up to watch Without Damage on its second day, which was sold out, so people waited for the break to see if someone would leave so they could join.

For dance lovers, another remarkable experience with Dancer Casa by Mourad Merzouki and Kader Atto, who was appointed as ‘Chevalier de l’Ordre National de la Legion d’Honneur’ (Knight of the French Legion of Honour) in 2015.

The dancing piece conveys the burning desire of its young dancers. Featuring captivating music and breathtaking choreographies, the performance captures every aspect of humanity, with its contradictions and complexities, through an infectious and an overwhelming lust for life. The vital energy delivered to the audience is the intense emotion of Moroccan youth. Dancer Casa will be performed at the Falaki Theatre, according to the press release.

Crazy but True is another interactive installation performance by the Bessie-award winners, Ant Hampton, which will be performed at the Tamara Building. Attar noted that this performance is “a very unique experience for an interactive performance as it does not take place in a traditional setting and it features local children talking to an adult audience in total flexibility where the audience moves freely.”

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Egyptian Museum celebrates women’s month by displaying two rare statues https://dailynewsegypt.com/2019/03/19/egyptian-museum-celebrates-womens-month-by-displaying-two-rare-statues/ https://dailynewsegypt.com/2019/03/19/egyptian-museum-celebrates-womens-month-by-displaying-two-rare-statues/#respond Tue, 19 Mar 2019 12:30:07 +0000 https://www.dailynewsegypt.com/?p=693336 Statues depict Shepenwepet II, daughter of King Piye, who was called ‘God's wife of Amun’

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The start of the week marks two newly showcased artefacts at the currently most visited antiquities hub–Tahrir’s Egyptian Museum. This week’s displayed relics celebrate women’s empowerment month through the statues of Shepenwepet II, a high ranked female from the 25th Dynasty.

The statues, depicting Shepenwepet II, are displayed as a part of the Minister of Antiquities’, Khaled Anany’s plan to feature two of the major relics stored at the museum on a weekly basis. This comes after the transfer of a large number of antiquities into the Grand Egyptian Museum.

Shepenwepet II was the daughter of King Piye. She was called ‘God’s wife of Amun,’ which was a high position during the late period, according to a press release published by the ministry of antiquities on Sunday.

The daughter of the king, who lived from 743-712 BC, is currently being showcased at the entrance of the museum for a week.

The first statue was found in the mortuary temple of Ramesses III at Medinet Habu in Luxor. The gilded schist statue presents the lady Shepenwepet II standing proudly. Meanwhile the second statue is a basalt forepart of a sphinx of Shepenwepet II holding a ram-headed vase. It was found in a Karnak cachette and excavated by Georges Legrain for the Egyptian Antiquities Service in 1904.

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Paris dresses up for ancient Egypt’s young king https://dailynewsegypt.com/2019/03/18/paris-dresses-up-for-ancient-egypts-young-king/ https://dailynewsegypt.com/2019/03/18/paris-dresses-up-for-ancient-egypts-young-king/#respond Mon, 18 Mar 2019 14:00:42 +0000 https://www.dailynewsegypt.com/?p=693177 After 50 years of absence, Tutankhamen’s belongings revisit Paris in exhibition on 21 March

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While the world is finalising the preparations for Mother’s Day, Paris is busy with preparing for another long-awaited event: the inauguration of Tutankhamun’s temporary exhibition that will showcase dozens of the young king’s belongings, which will take place at the Grande Halle de La Villette.

After 50 years of absence, since the last time the exhibition was held at the city, the charming centre of art, beauty, and fashion, is covered up with Egyptian civilisation banners, pictures of the king’s golden masks, and posters of the soon-to-be showcased belongings that captured people’s minds and souls. Meanwhile, as one of the most beloved pharaohs abroad, he took over the front page of most of the city’s most read publications.

The exhibition, named King Tut: Treasures of the Golden Pharaoh, is to open its doors on 21 March, showcasing “150 fascinating original objects found in 1922 in the tomb of the most famous pharaohs, the majority of which have never left Egypt before,” according to the Paris official website of the convention and visitors bureau.

So far, the museum announced the pre-selling of 130,000 tickets for the public, who are welcomed to visit the exhibition from 23 March. Pre-selling large numbers of tickets is not something unusual for the exhibition. In fact, it is what has become expected after the Golden Pharaoh’s journey in several countries.

Tutankhamun’s previous stop was in Los Angeles, California. In the United States, all 3,500 tickets of the exhibition were sold out before the official opening and nearly 100,000 tickets were issued and sold out during the opening weekend, which led the California Science Centre to extend its opening time for three additional hours after official working hours, as regulations forbid hosting over 100 persons inside the museum at a time.

Egypt is supporting this exhibition with 50 artefacts that will leave the country for the first time to follow their peers in order to join the list of displayed items. The displayed items include the world’s most famous gold mask, the gilded wooden bed-which was fashioned especially for his funeral with carved lion feet- golden coffins, and 3D models the museum prepared to take visitors through time and place within the glories of the Egyptian civilisation.    

The last time the exhibition was inaugurated in France was in 1967, where 1.2 million visitors expressed their interest in exploring the history of the young king, according to the museum’s official website, while the former Egyptian minister of antiquities stated that the number of visitors reached 1.5 million, according to state-owned Al-Ahram Online.

King Tutankhamun’s showcased belongings were originally transferred from the Egyptian Museum in Cairo. The relics include alabaster pots, wooden boxes, and statues of the pharaoh.

The exhibition will last until 15 September 2019, before it starts another journey including six other countries: Australia, and South Korea, where it is to be on display in 10 cities. The tour will last until the end of 2022. After the tour finds an end, the relics are to return back to the Grand Egyptian Museum (GEM), where they will join the rest of the 5,000 relics found at the king’s burial chamber in 1922.

The GEM’s director previously told Daily News Egypt that 4,500 of Tutankhamen’s antiquities were successfully transferred to the museum, and the rest will soon join them after the official inauguration, stating that the overseas monuments are to return home where their display spots are saved and numbered.

The temporary exhibition witnessed a huge success in the US. Local media previously reported that it attracted more than 500 million visitors since it opened in March. 

The increase in the temporary exhibitions abroad is an effort on the part of the Minister of Antiquities, Khaled Anany, to revive tourism in Egypt, and create a source of income for the ministry.

Local media reported that the ministry’s income from the past LA exhibition reached $5m, with $4 going to the ministry on every ticket sold.

Anany explained the reason behind choosing Tutankhamen’s belongings to tour across Europe is that people have a love story with the young pharaoh.

The first exhibition showcasing Egyptian artefacts in a foreign country, as part of the minster’s new policy, kicked off in Toronto, Canada, last year, and displayed the heritage and monuments of the Egyptian Fatimid era. The ministry also highlighted other Egyptian eras through foreign exhibitions. After the first exhibition, another demonstrated the artefacts of the cities of Thonis-Heracleion and Canopus – which were accidentally discovered under water after being lost for 1,000 years – whereas a third exhibition will soon be inaugurated for jewellery from ancient Egyptian eras.

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Four decades of portraying women’s faces https://dailynewsegypt.com/2019/03/17/four-decades-of-portraying-womens-faces/ https://dailynewsegypt.com/2019/03/17/four-decades-of-portraying-womens-faces/#respond Sun, 17 Mar 2019 10:00:49 +0000 https://www.dailynewsegypt.com/?p=692999 Helmi El-Touni’s lifetime exhibition features beauty of women across his career

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With paintings featuring peaceful eyes, direct gazes that penetrate into one’s soul and capture hearts, and warm smiles from the mesmerizing portrayed ladies, people are welcomed into the latest Egyptian visual art exhibition of Helmi El-Touni.

Inside Zamalek’s Picasso Art Gallery, the veteran artist held his exhibition, Lel Nesaa’ Wojooh, (Women have Faces) which reflects his four-decade journey in portraying women, with his several ideologies adopted throughout his life, presented in the displayed artwork.

El-Touni is one of the pioneers of the visual art schools that features only women. When he started his journey about forty years ago, he found himself only presenting women in his work. With a very limited number of men introduced in his oodles portraits, they are always portrayed in a mocked-off form.

“Ever since I started my journey in painting, I found myself attracted toward presenting women in my work. They are always aggrieved, treated as a minority when it comes to rights even if they technically half of the society,” El-Touni told Daily News Egypt.

For a person who always stood for the rights of the minorities and those whose rights are always lost, he could not find himself featuring anything but the beauty of women in his work.

“Women fight for their basic rights in society, and as a folk artist, I find myself incapable of not supporting them by featuring their beauty,” he commented.

El-Touni further explained that he presents his own aspect of featuring the motherland through portraying the simplicity of a rural-area female.

“Home is identified in the rights these simple women have in their lives, and through featuring them, I capture the life of Egypt in a simple, beautiful way,” he pointed out.

In his exhibition, El-Touni chronicles his perspective of women throughout his lifetime’s artwork.

In forty portraits, in which he drew after digging deep into his soul to mirror his constantly changing perspective towards them, El-Touni spent the last few months reviving these different implementations of women in his paintings.

Each of the paintings presented the way El-Touni saw women and featured them over the years, which was the reason behind choosing the name, “Women have Faces”.

The prominent artist said that in this exhibition, he wanted to showcase how one artist can exhibit women in various characteristics, features, and looks as years pass by. He spent the last year remembering how in every part of his life, he used to depict the beauty of women, and reproduce similar work of that period’s ideology.

He further explained that Women have Faces proves that one artist can differently portray women in a totally different way over several years.

“At a younger age, when I started my career as an artist, I always drew women with eastern features. It’s what we were always subjected to back in college years, and how we were taught, and how we subconsciously adopted. But after a few years, I realised that I am following the path of millions of other artists, who walked the exact same road,” El-Touni said, explaining, “that is when I started looking for my own identity, as an Egyptian artist!”

For years, the veteran artist has been digging into the history of Egyptian civilisation in order to find his own style, which he eventually reached after years of intense research.

“I found that being a folklore artist is what evokes art inside me,” El-Touni stated.

Reading about the pharaonic civilisation, the Mamluks, the Islamic conquest, and Coptic art led El-Touni to believe that eastern beauty can be captured in folkloric scenes.

In most of his paintings, El-Touni presents the heritage side of women in rural areas, or from early ages, like featuring a woman dancing in a traditional cultural wedding, or women wearing the traditional Egyptian burqa, enveloping outer garment worn by women in some Islamic traditions.

Women are constantly captured with calm gazes, covering their face with peaceful looks and angelic smiles. Despite chronicling periods which witnessed women’s liberation, the females in El-Touni’s work never reflected rebellious looks or fierce features, “because strength has nothing to do with anger. Women are beautiful in all ways and looks.”

Despite featuring women in different eras, El-Touni stated that his pharaonic depiction is the least to be liked and demanded from people.

“Surprisingly, people are the furthest nowadays from their ancient Egyptian civilisation. They are turned off to those themed portraits which are the least from all of my paintings compared to modern history and civilised heritage,” El-Touni added.

When asked about his most inspiring era, the veteran artist confidently said it was the Coptic period in the 7th century.

“It’s the time in which art galvanises me the most. It’s one of the eras in which Egypt witnessed the largest boom in the fields of carvings and arabesque patterns, which is one of the things that had a huge impact on me and can clearly be sensed in my artwork,” he explained.

Furthermore, he stated that other eras’ impact is not as strong as the Coptic’s on his work.

El-Touni’s portraits are unique, vibrant, and colourful, despite the peaceful looks always featured in his drawn women.

“Amid all the darkness, phases of loss, and turmoil we are living in, art is made to make people feel better, and takes them out of their reality. That is what I aim to deliver with my strong, bright colours. The beauty of art is that it makes the chaos of the world less chaotic,” he asserted.

As for the contrasting colours always applied in his portraits, he explained that they strengthen the message sent from his work.

Cheer and beauty are the exhibition’s main theme, which is open to the public until 21 March. For these feelings, El-Touni said he keeps working.

“I enjoy my work, so as to let people find the joy in it!” he concluded.

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