On its 140th anniversary, Al-Ahram opens its Visual Memory exhibition

Ahram Online , Sunday 17 Apr 2016

The exhibition runs until 28 April and comprises a wide range of artworks

Al Ahram
(Photo: Al Ahram)

‘The Visual Memory’ exhibition organised and hosted by Al-Ahram Establishment Art Gallery and comprising artworks from the establishment’s art collection, opened Saturday.

The exhibition was inaugurated by Ahmed El-Sayed Al-Naggar, chairman of the board of Al-Ahram Establishment, in the presence of politician Mostafa El-Feki, former ministers of culture Shaker Abd El-Hameed and Saber Arab, actors Mahmoud Hemeda, actor and member of the Actors Syndicate Sameh El-Sereti, and actress Wafaa Salem, among others.

Also present at the opening ceremony were Hamdy Abo El-Maaty, head of the Fine Arts Syndicate, Khaled Srour, head of the Fine Arts Sector, Safiya Al-Qabbani, dean of the Faculty of Fine Arts, and artists Adam Henin, Adel El-Sewi, Khaled Zaki and Khaled Hafez. 

The ceremony also hosted renowned violinist Abdo Dagher who played some of his famous compositions. 

Al Ahram
(Photo: Al Ahram)

The exhibition celebrates the 140th anniversary of the founding of Al-Ahram and displays a selection of artworks chosen from over 750 art pieces  including paintings, sculptures, and graphic pieces by Egyptian leading artists, representatives of the modern and contemporary arts scene — in Al-Ahram's collection.

At the ceremony, Al-Naggar delivered an opening speech in which he stressed on Al-Ahram’s “magnificent treasure of artworks that was accumulated over generations,” reported Al-Ahram Arabic website.

He added that whether we agree or disagree with the establishment’s political orientation now or in past times, there cannot be any doubt that the establishment has always been a fortress of enlightenment, battling the forces of darkness, backwardness and extremism.  

Among the many works on display in the exhibition, which runs until 28 April, are some by iconic masters such as painters Mahmoud Said (1897-1964), Ragheb Ayad (1892-1982), Salah Taher (1911-2007), Gazbia Sirry (born 1925) and Inji Aflatoun (1924-1989), among others.

Al Ahram
Ahmed El-Sayed Al-Naggar [R], chairman of the board of Al-Ahram Establishment (Photo: Yasser Al Ghoul, Al Ahram)

The artistic treasures in Ahram’s art collection, Al-Naggar asserted “constitute a unique variety, [with works] from different schools and artistic orientations, and which express joy, grief, power, weakness, anger, defiance, love and victory,” adding that art was created to occupy the souls of audience members and interact with them, and not be confined to locked rooms. 

Al-Naggar also revealed the establishment’s upcoming project, a museum of art, “which will comprise an important selection from Al-Ahram’s enchanting possessions.”

For her part, dean of the Faculty of Fine Arts Safiya Al-Qabbani told Al-Ahram Arabic website, “I feel like I’m at my school (the School of Fine Arts), in the company of its pioneers and iconic professors who have been presenting fine art for 107 years now.”

Al-Qabbani added that the exhibition comprises works by artists who are also featured in the school’s new museum, which is scheduled to open 12 May.

Al Ahram
Part of the exhibition hall (Photo: Al Ahram)

Al-Qabbani thanked Maher Dawood, professor at the Faculty of Fine Arts and the manager of Al-Ahram’s art collection and the establishment’s possessions, who fetched these artistic works from storage rooms and restored some, thus exhibiting what Al-Qabbani described as “much loyalty to his teachers.”

Artist Wafaa Salem also praised the exhibition, applauding Al-Ahram’s “originality,” and “how it continues to maintain authenticity by presenting all that is of value.”

Al-Ahram was founded on 5 August 1875 by two Lebanese brothers, Beshara Takla and Saleem Takla, and soon became the most widely circulating Egyptian daily newspaper.

Later, it expanded to become the biggest press establishment in Egypt and one of the leading press foundations in the Middle East and North Africa. Today, Al-Ahram publishes numerous newspapers and periodicals, in Arabic, English and French.

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