PHOTO GALLERY: Painted donkeys flood Cairo, bearing a message of peace

Visitor inspecting donkeys inside St. John's Church
Donkey by Georges Bahgoury (Egypt)
Donkey by Anne-Francoise Giraud (France)
Donkey by Julie Oxenforth (UK)
Donkeys inside St. John's Church in Maadi
Donkey by Keizer (Egypt)
Donkey by Barbara Elnimra Gerber (Switzerland)
Donkey by Gamal Ez (Egypt)
Donkey by Adel Nassief (Egypt)
Donkey by Kimberly Odekirk (USA)
Donkey by Shayma Aziz (Egypt)
Donkey by Mohamed Abla (Egypt)
Donkey by Sabah Naim (Egypt)
Donkey by Britt Boutros Ghali (Norway)
Donkey by Hend Adnan (Egypt)
Donkey by Marwa Adel (Egypt)
Donkey by Carelle Homsy (Egypt)
Donkey by Khaled Hafez (Egypt)
Donkey by Hayam Abdel Baky (Egypt)
Donkey by Emad Ibrahim (Egypt)

This year's Caravan Festival of the Arts, which kicked off Thursday at St John's Church in Maadi, seeks to promote interfaith dialogue through a dynamic cultural programme. Until 16 May, the 80-year-old church will host a series of cultural events, including talks by actor Amr Waked and author Alaa Al-Aswany, and a concert by renowned oud (lute) player Georges Kazazian.

Headlining the 2013 Caravan festival is its visual arts element: 90 fiberglass donkey artworks painted by 45 Egyptian and foreign artists. Among these are some of Egypt's most prominent contemporary artists, including George Bahgoury, Mohamed Abla, Khaled Hafez.

Caravan was founded five years ago and aims to use art as a tool to nurture relationships between the East and West, Muslims and Christians. In keeping with this year's theme, "In Peace and With Compassion ... The Way Forward," the donkey was chosen as a symbol of peace. In Christianity and Islam, Jesus and Omar Ibn El-Khattab rode donkeys into Jerusalem.

For two weeks, these donkeys will pop up across Cairo at various venues, including hotels, art galleries and cultural and educational institutions, before moving to Europe in traveling public art exhibitions.


The donkeys will be exhibited from 12 to 25 May, in the following locations:
Hotels: Fours Seasons Hotel (First Residence and Nile Plaza), Kempinski Nile Hotel, Cairo Marriott Hotel, Sofitel El-Gezira.
Galleries: Picasso, Mashrabia, Gallery Misr, Zamalek Art Gallery, ArtTalks, Al-Masar, Safarkhan
Other: British Council, Community Services Association (Maadi), St John's Church, Cairo American College, American University in Cairo.

Text and photos by Sara Elkamel