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

Ahram Online , Wednesday 30 Sep 2015

Ahram Online highlights the artistic achievements and important cultural events of September 2015 in Egypt

best of September 2015

Renowned Lebanese singer Ghada Shbeir performs at the Bibliotheca Alexandrina's Arts Centre

Lebanese singer Ghada Shbeir gave a concert 4 September, during the closing evening of the 13th Bibliotheca Alexandrina Summer Festival.

The renowned singer's repertoire includes Middle Eastern folk songs of Assyrian, Arabo-Andalusian, and ancient Maronite origin. Shbeir is also an established academic and professor at the Beirut Conservatory. She has published two books on music: one on Sayed Darwish and the other on Arabo-Andalusian music.

Read our interview with Shbeir and check this video including an interview and performance in Alexandria

Ghada Shbeir
Ghada Shbeir (Photo: courtesy of Ghaba Shbeir)

Theatre play Rouh receives seven awards at the 8th National Theatre Festival

The theatre play titled Rouh (Spirit) is based on the British play The Rose and Crown, written by J B Priestley as a television play in 1946. The playwright adapted his one act morality play for the stage in 1947. That text was adjusted by dramaturge Yasser Abul Eineen for an Egyptian production at Talea Theatre, located on Attaba Square.

Rouh traces the simple story of a group of villagers gathered in their local pub, with their usual complaints, bickering and joyful moments. The mundane gathering is disrupted by the entrance of a stranger, dressed in black in an elegant suit with black gloves. He is passing by their village on business related to their departed neighbour.

The play garnered seven awards during the Egypt's National Theatre Festival, including The Nabil Al-Alfy Award for Best Play, the Saleh Saad Award for Best Young Director (Basem Kenawy), while Lobna Wanas took the Naema Wasfy Award for Best Supporting Actress, and Ahmed Rafei took the Ibrahim Yosry Award for Best Supporting Actor.

Check all the awards of the 8th National Theatre Festival and a review of the play.

Rouh theatre play (Photo: Dalia Basiouny)

Cannes Critics Week at Zawya art house

Cannes' La Semaine de la Critique (Critics Week), organised by art house cinema Zawya, Cimatheque Alternative Film Centre and the French Institute, opened Wednesday 16 September and ran until 21 September.

The week’s line-up included eight feature films and a selection of short films that made it to the annual talent-spotting event from 2010-2014.

The screenings took place at three of Cairo’s film venues: Zawya, Karim Cinema and the French Institute.

Check our note from the opening night that included a screening of the French film Hope (Boris Lojkine, 2013) in the presence of Critics Week programme manager Remi Bonhomme.

Still from Hope (Photo: Cannes Critics' Week digital press kit)

Felucca exhibition

The exhibition opened 17 September at the Egyptian Centre for International Cultural Cooperation in Zamalek, and ran until 30 September.

Titled Fluka (felucca), the exhibition displayed ingenious collaborative work by photographer Galal El-Missary and painter Samah Emam.

El-Missary's photographs of traditional Egyptian feluccas are molded into oil paintings by Emam.

The paintings are loyal to the photographs’ composition, but integrate lively colours and reimagine the backgrounds, among other interpretative changes informed by Emam’s artistic vision.

Read our review of the exhibition.

"Shake a leg, Abdelkhalek, and God will grant you sustenance," reads the caption of these works of art, which is written by photographer Inji Amer. (Photo: Nourhan Tewfik)

Roznama exhibition

The 4th Roznama Competition and Exhibition for Contemporary Art, initiated by Medrar for Contemporary Arts, expanded this year to collaborate with the Contemporary Image Collective (CIC), with part of the exhibit displayed there and the other half at Medrar.

This year the exhibit — which takes place betwen 4 September and 4 October — is curated and juried by artists Shady El-Noshokaty, Ahmed Badry and Bassan Al-Barony. Roznama aims to provide a platform for and support emerging artists under 30, by showcasing curated work in all mediums, including video art, digital art, photography, graphic art, painting, sculpture, ceramics, installations and mixed media.

The prizes Roznama offers are supported by a number of culture organisations and established artists, including Adel El-Siwi, Ahmed El-Askalani, Hala El-Koussy, Hany Rashed, Huda Lotfy and Mohamed Abla.

Artwork titled Hybridization by Hadya Mohamed, winner of Rozama prize residency in UK (Photo: Soha Elsirgany)

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