Remembering Ziad Bakir, the Opera designer who died in the 2011 uprising

Ahram Online , Thursday 28 Jan 2016

Five years have passed since Ziad Bakir, a remarkable artist and designer at the Cairo Opera House, left his home on 28 January, the fourth day of the revolution, never to return

Ziad Bakir
Ziad Bakir with his children (Photo: courtesy of Ziad Bakir's family)

Ziad Bakir, a young artist who made his imprint at the Cairo Opera House's design office, died during the first days of the revolution, in January 2011.

Born in 1973, Bakir left his home on 28 January 2011 to join nationwide marches. He never returned. “Ziad was shot in the chest,” Mirette Bakir, Ziad's sister revealed to Ahram Online in March 2011. 

Bakir was never involved in political movements. His participation in the marches was his act of solidarity with his friends and the rest of the nation, spurred by his belief that it was time to change Egypt's course of history. He paid for this commitment with his life.

A graduate of Cairo Fine Arts School, for the last few years prior to his death Bakir was best known for his remarkable work in the design office of the Cairo Opera House, where he supervised a team of graphic designers working on all printed material related to the opera. This design work allowed Bakir to combine two major passions: art and music, and computers.

Working at the Cairo Opera House became Bakir's true calling. He developed warm contacts with many musicians and music specialists, attended many performances, listened to music in his office prior to working on designs, spoke to artists and questioned them about their understanding of the chosen piece, ahead of creating designs.

Between 9 and 15 October 2010, Bakir held his first solo exhibition. His best works were presented in the entrance hall of the Cairo Opera House. It was also the first poster exhibition of an Egyptian artist in Cairo. Bakir was extremely happy and was looking forward to more presentations of his art.

According to Bakir's sister, the young talent lived a very dynamic life while photography was yet another interest, the camera accompanying him during his trips to the desert, part of the Jeep Club he belonged to. “He was a desert fox,” his sister described.

Ziad Bakir left behind three children and many memories cherished by his family, friends and colleagues. His designs are testimonies to his talent and passion. 

In September 2012, an exhibition of Bakir's works -- posters and scenography designs he made during his years of studies -- was held at the Hanager Arts Centre.

Read Ziad Bakir's obituary here

Ziad Bakir
Chosen designs by Ziad Bakir (courtesy of the Cairo Opera House)

Ziad Bakir
Chosen designs by Ziad Bakir (courtesy of the Cairo Opera House)

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