Renowned Egyptian scenographer Hussein El-Ezaby dies at 73

Ahram Online , Saturday 13 Jun 2020

El-Ezaby created many scenography and costume designs for theatre, as well as explored visual art forms

Hussein El Ezaby
Hussein El Ezaby in a 2015 televised interview

After a struggle with illness, renowned Egyptian scenographer and costume designer Hussein El-Ezaby died on Friday evening at the age of 73.

Born in 1947, Hussein El-Ezaby graduated from the scenography department at Cairo's High Institute for Theatrical Arts in 1971 before moving on to teach at the Design department of the Faculty of Arts, Helwan University.

He also studied scenography at the Drama Department of the American University in Cairo for two years (1969-1970). 

El-Ezaby dedicated his career to theatre, where he created dozens of scenography and costume designs for many well-known theatre performances.

His designs took part in many international exhibitions in Egypt and internationally, mainly in European and Arab countries.

His artistic passion also extended to visual arts inspired by the theatrical mind set.

Deeply rooted in Egyptian art and traditions, El-Ezaby believed that "through his artwork, he can provide a context in which to read, analyse and reflect on his homeland," reads one of the notes accompanying his exhibition.

Glow in the Dark
Glow in the Dark

Among his most recent international achievements is an exhibition he held in Dubai's Coya gallery in January 2019. Titled Glow in the Dark, the exhibition featured his paintings in which the artists explored theatrical and scenography concepts "inspired by a background in theatre design that encouraged El-Ezaby to explore the relationship between light and colour," the exhibition brief revealed. 

"The series echoes the very essence of the Egyptian spirit. The selection of paintings at Coya are an invitation to delve in and explore deeper Egyptian culture through one’s own interpretive lens,” the artist wrote in the same notes.

El-Ezaby has also presented his designs for El-Tanoura Folkloric Troupe in one of his recent exhibitions held in Cairo.

For his contributions to theatre and arts in general, over the years El-Ezaby was awarded several recognitions from the Egyptian and international creative bodies.

Egypt's Ministry of Culture awarded El-Ezaby for his decades-long contribution to Egypt's scenography.

His publication on Egypt's folkloric theatre brought him the Supreme Council for Arts and Literature Prize. 

El-Ezaby was honored during the opening ceremony of Egypt's 11th National Theatre Festival (2018).

Many personalities from Egypt's cultural scene mourned the artist: Minister of Culture Ines Abdel Dayem, head of the Cultural Production Sector Khaled Galal, the Visual Arts sector, the head of artistic professions syndicate Ashraf Zaki, and numerous theatre personalities including Mazen El Gharabawy, the head of the Sharm El-Sheikh International Theatre Festival for Youth.

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