Last Update 23:49
Tuesday, 20 April 2021

Egypt's arts and culture: The best of Nov/Dec 2015

Ahram Online highlights Egypt's artistic achievements and important cultural events of November and December 2015

Ahram Online , Thursday 31 Dec 2015
The best of Nov Dec
Views: 1988
Views: 1988

Creative Cities Symposium

CLUSTER, the Cairo Lab for Urban Studies, Training and Environmental Research, organised a two-day symposium entitled Creative Cities: Reframing Downtown that was held at AUC’s campus in Tahrir on 31 October and 1 November.


The Creative Cities symposium approached Downtown Cairo as a social and architectural wealth and aimed to lay out options for its future development by sparking dialogue with stakeholders who shape it: scholars, experts, cultural actors, state institutions, and the public.


While providing much needed perspectives from all stakeholders throughout the two days, the Creative Cities presented what is at stake and offered a necessary platform for discussion even if much of the conversation has not yet to reached solutions.


Perhaps Creative Cities should be a more frequent event, to optimise the co-working space that is Downtown.

Read more here


Creative Cities Symposium
Creative Cities: Reframing Downtown symposium taking place at AUC's Tahrir Campus (Photo: Soha Elsirgany)

8th Panorama of the European Film

From a shivery dramatised story of a marriage in crisis to a colourful documentary about human beings.


In its eighth edition, which ran between 25 November and 5 December, the Panorama of European Film managed this year to engage the Egyptian audience with interesting selections of European cinema and art.


Extending more than 50 features, shorts and documentaries, the heavily packed session offered an underground quintessential festival experience to cinephiles.

Read our round up of Panorama here


And check the section filled with articles, interviews and reviews dedicated to the Panorama of the European Film here 

Panorama of the European Film

Tunisian Ghalia Benali sings for UN campaign to end violence against women

“Once upon a time, a man dubbed me ‘weak’


And asked me to subside.


Another said, “you’re ugly. You must vanish."


A third uttered “only a princess should see the sun”.


Yet, one day, your face emerged from a dream, and told me “You’re strong.


You must fly. You're beautiful, you must dance.


You’re a princess, look at me, I’m the sun.”

So sings Tunisian musician Ghalia Benali in Arabic, accompanied by Egyptian musician Khaled Dagher on the cello, in a song celebrating “Silence is not Acceptance”, a campaign by UN Women’s Regional Office for Arab States supporting female survivors of violence, and directed by Egyptian filmmaker Tamer Eissa.

"Silence is not Acceptance" came as part of a 16-day UN global campaign of activism against gender-based violence. The annual campaign opened on 25 November on the occasion of the International Day to Eliminate Violence against Women and ran until 10 December, also the International Human Rights Day.

Check our article about the initiative here 


Ghalia Benali and Khaled Dagher
Still from Ghalia Benali and Khaled Dagher's song launched as part of the “Silence is not Acceptance” UN campaign


Students' exhibition at American University in Cairo tackles cultural, educational, and social issues

AUC’s graduating class of Graphic Design displayed their final projects in an exhibit entitled Mebaksel Keda Leh? (Why So Pixelated?) at the university’s Sharjah Gallery. The exhibition opened on 6 December and runs until 16 January 2016.


On 8 and 9 December a panel of advisors was invited to critique the student’s works, as a pedagogical opportunity for the students who presented and defended their work.


The exhibition is the result of two-semesters of work, the first being theoretical and research based, and the second more practical, overseen by professors Bahia Shehab, Nagla Samir and Haytham Nawar who mentored the students while they were completing their finals projects.


Mebaksel Keda Leih? offers very impressive presentations, and passionate inventive projects which, though rough around the edges, offer a glimpse into the type of future these students hope to shape.

Read our review here


Mebaksel Kedah Leih?
Mebaksel Kedah Leih? graphic design exhibition at Sharjah Gallery (Photo: Soha Elsirgany)


Macbeth screens at Zawya

Jed Kurzel’s film was released in December and was screened in Cairo’s art-house cinema Zawya (Odeon cinema) for three consecutive weeks (9-29 December).


Sometimes there is occasion to say that a film is better than the book. But it would appear exaggeration to say that anything put on film could improve on Shakespeare. Yet this is exactly what Australian director Justin Kurzel has done with Macbeth (2015). To say it outright: his film is better than the play.


It is a tour de force that edges on genius. Jed Kurzel’s soundtrack is a work of art in its own right, matching what is visualised with depth and resonance, both haunting and prescient. True to the medium of film, reduced to a minimum is the theatrical. Excised is the melodramatic. Even the supernatural nature of the witches is underplayed, or all but absent. What remains is indeed man: one man and his shadow; a warrior on the planes of existence.


In the end — but only fully at the end — the tragedy of Macbeth is felt more by himself than any other.

Read the full review here

(Photo: Still from Macbeth, 2015)

Cairo Opera House celebrates 100th birthday of Edith Piaf

Joining the celebrations of the life and career of Edith Piaf, or Little Sparrow as her stage name Piaf indicates in French, the Cairo Opera House's small hall dedicated an evening to the iconic French singer.


With singer Ketty Orzola, Pascale Rozier on piano and Patrick Rozier on clarinet, the concert took place on 19 December, marking 100 years since Piaf's birth.


With tickets sold out days prior to the event, the small hall was filled to the brim with different generations. Some attendees were obviously delighted with the journey through memories, while younger listeners enjoyed revisiting the history of French music.


The evening included songs such as La Vie en Rose, Padam... Padam..., L'accordeoniste, Mon Dieu, Non, je ne regrette rien, Hymne a l'amour, Sous le ciel de Paris, Mon amant de Sain Jean, Milord among many other known compositions.

Read more here 

Edith Piaf
Edith Piaf pictured on December 30, 1960, performing on stage at the Olympia concert hall in Paris. (Photo: AFP)

Mohamed Khan’s book release

On 20 December, Maadi-based Kotob Khan bookstore held a book-signing event for iconic director Mohamed Khan’s newly released book, Mokhreg Aala Al Tareeq (A Director on the Road), in the presence of Khan himself.

The book comprises a huge selection of articles published between 1990 and 2015 in an array of Arab newspapers, including London-based Al-Hayat, Kuwait-based Al-Qabas, and later the Cairo-based papers Al-Dostour and Al-Tahrir.

Karam Youssef, Kotob Khan’s owner and the book’s publisher gave the opening words, before journalist and film critic Essam Zakaria, writer and film critic Mahmoud Abdel-Shakour and writer Ihab El-Mallah discussed Khan’s book and applauded its importance.

During the event, Khan revealed that his relationship with writing goes all the way back to his childhood.

“In school, we had an oral expression class, and in every lesson, my classmates would raise their hands and shout ‘Khan, Khan. Let Khan do it’ to the teacher. I was a good storyteller. And I would entirely make up events while telling a story.”

Read more here 

Mohamed Khan
Iconic director Mohamed Khan signs copies of his newly-released book at Kotob Khan bookstore on 20 December. (Photo: Nourhan Tewfik)

For more arts and culture news and updates, follow Ahram Online Arts and Culture on Twitter at @AhramOnlineArts and on Facebook at Ahram Online: Arts & Culture

Short link:



© 2010 Ahram Online.