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Artists dissatisfied with former culture minister's plans for belongings

Farouq Hosni's announcement that he will donate his belongings to a museum is being seen by artists as an attempt to cover up corruption and ill-gotten gains

Heba Ismail , Wednesday 27 Apr 2011
Farouk Hosny
Left to right: Moahmed Abla, Farouk Hosny, Adel El Siwi
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Several artists are wary of Farouq Hosni’s decision to give antiques and belongings from his house located in Manial to the state, in order that they be displayed in a museum. Hosni announced that he would move his belongings, claiming that he lives in a crowded area not befitting a museum location.

Artists think that this plan is suspect. “If he had taken this decision some years ago we would have commended it,” said the visual artist Mohamed Abla. “However, it is too late now. We could have used the revenues of a museum to help artists who were falling into desperation.”

Abla described Hosni's plan as akin to money laundering. He also denied that the area where the former minister lives is crowded, saying it is more suitable than downtown Cairo, since there are no cultural institutions in the area of Manial.

Visual artist Adel El-Siwi states that no plan to move antiques should be discussed until investigations into corruption are complete, suggesting that the move may be a way of stalling investigation procedures.

Ezz El-Deen Naguib, a visual artist, says that the plan amounts to beautifying Hosni's corruption, asserting that he illegally acquired the piece of land where his house is located.

“I don’t know if he got permission from the state to build his house, but even if he did on condition to turn it into a museum, this does not absolve his responsibility. We shouldn’t go along with anyone who wants to make a name for himself after his death,” Naguib said, elaborating that the majority do not think that his belongings are considered cultural heritage.

“This is only a cover-up of his exploits, and it is by all standards a form of blunt corruption,” he affirmed.

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