Egypt's arts and culture: The best of January 2015

Ahram Online , Sunday 1 Feb 2015

Ahram Online highlights the artistic achievements and important cultural events that took place in Egypt in January 2015

best of January 2015

Playing Without Toys solo exhibition in Zamalek Art Gallery

Playing Without Toys is a solo exhibition that opened at the Zamalek Gallery on 11 January displaying paintings by Cairo-based Syrian artist Souad Mardam Bey.

Created in 2014, this new series of paintings is completely different from her previous works.

In it, the artist presents the children of war, including the Syrians, their pain, strength, nostalgia and hope to find peace. Mardam Bey imagines and creates her own toys, however. They take the form of dolls whom she takes on adventures through 20 collage paintings.

Representing a world full of signs, emotions and colours, the display moves us deeply. Her work, though, expresses a strong desire to maintain hope in a better future.

Read more about the exhibition here

Left: Claudius (Keith Bartlett) and Gertrude (Miranda Foster); Right: Hamlet (Naeem Hayat) and Laertes (Beruce Khan), Globe to Globe's performance of Hamlet at the Bibliotheca Alexandrina (Photos: courtesy of the Bibliotheca Alexandrina)


Hamlet by Globe Theatre at the Bibliotheca Alexandrina

On 12 January, the Globe Theatre staged Hamlet at the Bibliotheca Alexandrina.

Egypt was the 67th stop on the renowned London theatre troupe's world tour.

The company moves fast in its ambitious project aiming at performing the iconic Shakespearean tragedy in over 200 countries over the span of two years.

The play manages to resonate, time and again, gently melding with the Egyptian theatrical and cultural consciousness. Understandably, when staged by the Globe Theatre, Hamlet was an immediate magnet for the audience.

It was a pleasant surprise to find the 1,600-seats auditorium of the Bibliotheca Alexandrina full to the brim. Right before the opening, a few actors approached the audience and discovered that many had arrived from Cairo and some even from Luxor.

Read more about the play here and check our interviews: with Tamsin Mehta, the Globe to Globe's associate producer and Keith Bartlett who played Claudius.

that Alexandria
Left: Still from 'that Alexandria'; Right: Director Sherif Fathy Salem on set with one of the characters in 'that Alexandria' (Photo: courtesy of the filmmaker)


World premiere of 'that Alexandria' documentary

On 15 January, 'that Alexandria' a documentary directed by Sherif Fathy Salem had the world premier at the Bibliotheca Alexandrina. The film was then screened in at the American University in Cairo's Ewart Hall, on 29 January.

As the title suggests, the documentary refers to the city of Alexandria, yet not any Alexandria. It is "that" Alexandria; a certain Alexandria that only lives in the fragmented memories of its inhabitants; an Alexandria long gone yet leaving behind traces of its existence.

Some streets, old buildings, signs in different languages still stand in evidence of the past. But they are almost all faded and worn out.

Read more about the film and the director here

Souad Mardam Bey
Souad Mardam Bey. Oil and mixed media on canvas (left: 60x65cm, right: 130x120cm), 2014 (Photos: courtesy of the artist)


First solo exhibition by Egyptian artist Ganzeer in New York

Opening 16 January, The Leila Heller Gallery of New York hosted Ganzeer’s first solo exhibit in the United States titled All American

The exhibition was the artist's witted reflection on life in the United States, dealing with symbols and icons used in its culture today.

The exhibition included an array of mediums, with over 80 screen prints as well as works on paper, canvas, wood, and video.

Previously transforming the space at Safarkhan Gallery to echo the feel of the street within its white walls, All American sees Ganzeer as faithful to his graffiti roots, as he takes over Leila Heller’s windows to display his installations.

Artwork by Ganzeer in display at the Leila Heller Gallery of New York. (Photos: Sara Elkamel)

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