Egyptian martyr committed to documenting revolution is honoured

Wael Eskandar, Sunday 17 Apr 2011

Ahmed Bassiouny, filmmaker who documented Egypt’s revolution on the ground and was attacked and killed by police, was honoured in an artistic festival with a compilation of his revolution videos to be screened in Italy

SimpleXity in Darb 1718
SimpleXity performing in Darb 1718 as part of Ahmed Bassiouny tribute festival. Photo by Sherif Azer.

A few scores attended the Egyptian Independent Artists Music & Film Festival that was held in Darb 1718 dedicated to artist and martyr of the revolution, Ahmed Bassiouny. The event was attended by art enthusiasts, as well as Ahmed Bassiouny’s family, friends and students.

“The idea came a month and a half ago when a group of artists wanted to dedicate something to Ahmed Bassiouny,” says Motaz Nasr El Din, who runs Darb 1718.

The festival was themed around Bassiouny’s interest in digital interactive media.

The event started at 4pm with the electronic rock band, Feed Me, who delivered a worthy performance. They were followed by Cairokee, who concluded their set with “Sout El Horreya” (The Sound of Freedom) and dedicated the song to Ahmed Bassiouny. In between the performances, a recording of the poem 'El Midan' (The Square) by Abdel Rahman El Abnoudy was played, mixed with soft deep music creating a hypnotic effect.

The relaxed, unassuming ambiance with beanbags on the ground for the audience to sit on is typically Darb 1718. The sound equipment was high quality and refreshments and koshary (a typical Egyptian dish) next to the stage were a hit.

Four short films were screened: David (by Mohamed Soliman), Circle (by Mohamed Taymour), The Man Who Wanted to Play Drums (by Mahmoud Hamdi) and I (by Ahmed Khalifa). David was perhaps the simplest and most touching of the shorts and centred on a young boy from Uganda who speaks about his mental escape from the atrocities he experienced as a child.

Several artists then performed electronic music, Rami Abadir, PolyMorph and Man Eat Machine. The music swayed between captivating and incomprehensible. Videos created by the artists accompanied their music on a small screen next to the stage. Many of the videos were highly creative displaying different forms, shapes and colours moving at a pace that matched the music being played. The show was concluded by the progressive rock band SimpleXity.

CJC Agency (Cairo Jazz Club Agency), together with Darb 1718 and Ganoub Studio funded the night. All artists volunteered to perform without pay.

The event initially set out to showcase Bassiouny’s work during the revolution but was later extended into a festival.

“We discovered that Bassiouny went out with his camera, documenting many interviews he had with people on the street,” says Nasr El Din. “He would upload all the media on the computer at the end of the day. He managed to do that for the 25th, 26th and 27th. On the 28th he was martyred and his camera also disappeared.”

The showcasing of Bassiouny’s work was postponed to October after his work is shown in the Venice Biennale, curated by Shady El Noshokaty. The event became an independent festival to bring audiences and various talents together.

“We just wanted to give something back to his family and promote the sort of art he was doing,” says Ammar Dajani, event manager of CJC Agency. “The tribute was a labour of love from all the artists who wanted to do something for Ahmed Bassiouny.” 

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