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Whirling Dervish: Egyptian artist Abdelhamid Tahoun among winners of Sony World Photography Awards

Tahoun’s 'The Mevlevi Dancer' was listed among 51 winners of the National Award segment set up by the World Photography Organisation and Sony

Ahram Online , Thursday 25 Feb 2021
Abdelhamid Tahoun
© Abdelhamid Tahoun, Egypt, National Award Winner, 2021 Sony World Photography Awards (Photo: Abdelhamid Tahoun's Instagram page)
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A photograph titled The Mevlevi Dancer taken by Egyptian artist Abdelhamid Fawzy Tahoun has been listed among the winners of the Sony World Photography Awards in the Open Competition/National Awards segment of the contest.

The National Awards segment is part of the World Photography Organisation's Open Competition, where the jury selects one photo from each country. In the competition's 14th edition, 165,000 photographs were submitted and 51 photographs from different countries were selected.

Other segments include Students and Youth Photography and Professional Photography. This year, the total number of photos submitted to all three sections exceeded 300,000 from 220 territories.

Tahoun’s photo is the 1st place winner of the Open Competition from Egypt.

It shows a whirling dervish in a customary colourful skirt and spinning his body in a repetitive, circular motion. The Mevlevi, also known as Whirling Dervishes, perform the dance as a symbolic imitation of planets circling around the sun and focusing on God. The skirt is called a tanoura and lends it name to the dance.

Associated with Sufism and performed at Sufi festivals, Tanoura is also performed by non-Sufis as a folk dance in Arab countries and international forums.

The description accompanying Tahoun’s photo reads as follows: “Tanoura is an Egyptian dance, performed in circular motions, which has its spiritual origins in Sufism. Its performers believe that all movement in the universe starts and ends at the same point, so this is reflected in the dance, with the continuous spinning making them appear like planets moving in space.”

The National Awards program is an initiative set up by the World Photography Organisation and Sony to support local photographic communities around the world, with 51 countries taking part this year. All National Award winners receive Sony digital imaging equipment.

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