Art in Arabic: Canada-based Egyptian couple launches online meetings with Arab artists

Ati Metwaly , Friday 8 May 2020

The initiative is spearheaded by Yafa Goawily and Kaiser Moussa


A new initiative, Art in Arabic (Fann Bel Arabi), has been launched on Facebook by an Egyptian couple residing in Canada, Yafa Goawily and Kaiser Moussa

Videos of 15-20 minutes in Arabic are posted on the Facebook page, featuring an Egyptian artist telling the story of their career and the field he or she works in.

Based on the brief released on the page, Art in Arabic encourages communication through art and artistic activities, community development and cultural encounters. The initiative aims to bring together Arab and Canadian people through the arts.

Numerous Egyptian artists have been already presented by the Art in Arabic project, namely: theatre maker Hassan El Gereitly; composer and conductor Hisham Gabr; writer, playwright and shadow puppet theater specialist Naguib Goawily; and founder of El-Tanboura folk troupe El-Rayes Zakaria.

"We have just kicked off hoping that the initiative can develop to a bigger project," Goawily explains to Ahram Online, adding that Art in Arabic is executed in cooperation with her husband and work partner, filmmaker Kaiser Moussa.

Born and raised in Egypt, Goawily has been involved in the local artistic scene since her childhood, when as a young girl she got involved in Al Warsha, one of the first independent Egyptian theatre troupes, founded by Hassan El Gereitly in the 1980s.

In fact, in her choice of artists, Goawily started by reaching out to those who were linked to Al Warsha over the years. She will also feature other artists from a large network of creative cooperation she has developed.

Together with her husband, Goawily left Egypt over ten years ago, first heading to the UAE and then settling in Canada over a year ago. Having substantial experience in working in arts with children, she founded Yafa Arts & Crafts Facebook page which is a platform addressing children and inviting them to numerous creative activities.

"The coronavirus and general lockdown many activities have been suspended. This has redirected my thoughts a bit. Together with Kaizer, we thought of using our time to create videos that would shed light on Egyptian and other Arab artists and their stories," she reveals to Ahram Online.

Broadcasting from her home in Canada, the videos have an international reach, at this stage targeting mainly Arab-speaking viewers. "We consider putting English translation or English content, but maybe a bit later."

The initiative is still developing, with many ideas yet to be realised by Goawily and Moussa.

"I am very happy that we have already received good feedback and that artists began coming together. In such difficult times, it is difficult to keep connected. I hope that together we can create something valuable and bring interesting stories to our viewers," she explains, adding that while she currently operates on Facebook, she is considering expanding the project to other internet-based platforms.

Find the videos on the Art in Arabic Facebook page.

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

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