Culture – Daily News Egypt Egypt’s Only Daily Independent Newspaper In English Sat, 19 Jan 2019 21:14:50 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Minister of culture grieves loss of Saeed Abdel-Ghany Sat, 19 Jan 2019 16:24:10 +0000 Actor received State’s Medal of Arts of First Class in 1996

The post Minister of culture grieves loss of Saeed Abdel-Ghany appeared first on Daily News Egypt.

Egypt’s Minister of Culture, Inas Abdel Dayem, mourned the death of veteran actor Saeed Abdel-Ghany, who passed away at the age of 81on Friday morning after a long battle with illness.

Abdel Dayem stated in a press release that the Egyptian cinema and the drama platforms in the Middle East have lost one of their legendary knights, “Abdel-Ghany’s unique acting forged a new path in the field, and his work as a journalist was always distinctly honest and accurate.”

Abdel-Ghany, was born in the Daqahlia governorate in 1938. He moved to Cairo to receive his college degree, before joining the state-owned newspaper Al-Ahram as a young journalist.

The veteran actor soon became the editor of Al-Ahram’s art section. For years, he was known for conducting unique interviews with prominent superstars and directors.

His acting career started when he joined Al-Ahram’s acting group which led him toward the silver screen. His first appearance as an actor was in Youssef Chahine’s film, The Bird, in 1972.

Throughout his career as a professional actor, he appeared in over 180 films, and TV drama shows.

Despite always performing in supporting roles, Abdel-Ghany left his signature mark in people’s hearts and minds with his extraordinary acting skills in some of his films including, Ehna Beto’ El-Otobes (We are the Bus People) which depicts the torture of detainees during late president Gamal Abdel Nasser’s era. Abdel Ghany played the role of a bureaucratic intelligence officer who did not care to mistakenly torture two innocent people wrongfully caught in a political case, causing one of their deaths. The film, which caused a uproar when it was premiered in 1979, was based on a true story from prominent journalist Galal El-Din Al-Hmamasy’s book, Hewar Khalf Al-Aswar (A Discussion Behind the Fences).

Abdel-Ghany received the State’s Medal of Arts of the First Class in 1996.

The post Minister of culture grieves loss of Saeed Abdel-Ghany appeared first on Daily News Egypt.

]]> 0
Marie Juchacz: A life for justice and equality Fri, 18 Jan 2019 15:22:00 +0000 The post Marie Juchacz: A life for justice and equality appeared first on Daily News Egypt.

She was a divorced single parent, politically active and a tireless advocate for women, children and workers. In January 1919, German women could vote for the first time — and they sent Marie Juchacz to parliament.On January 19, 1919, the Weimar Republic held its first vote for the national assembly. And for the first time, women had the right to take part. Once all the votes had been tallied, 37 women had won seats in parliament.

One month later, Marie Juchacz became the first woman in German history to address the plenary.

"Gentlemen and ladies," she began. The minutes of the first session recorded a jovial mood among the mostly male members in the plenary chamber. But that wouldn't faze Juchacz.

"Women are now fully-fledged citizens. Think about what that means. There are many more women of voting age than there are men. By using their voice at the ballot box, every citizen can influence the political process. The fact of women's suffrage should force every friend of social democracy to campaign for the women's vote. […] What this government has done was a matter of course. It has given women that which had previously been wrongly denied to them."

Read more: Rosa Luxemburg: Guiding light and controversial figure of the Left

Champion for women's suffrage

Marie Juchacz was committed to equal rights. As a champion in the fight for women's suffrage, she was instrumental in making this a reality just a few months before her historical speech. And as a new member of parliament, she was especially concerned with social policy — unemployment insurance, education, public health, maternity leave, housing — topics which until then had been largely ignored.

"The idea of democracy as a welfare state was a major movement that was supported by both sexes, but women were a fundamental part of this work," said historian Hedwig Richter of the Hamburg Institute for Social Research.

"This cliche of a two-gender model — that women were responsible for social issues, and men were best suited for politics, foreign policy and war — seems strange from our perspective today," said Richter. "But the question of whether we find this model good or bad isn't relevant in this case. The female members of parliament back then felt very strongly that they were responsible for these issues. The establishment of the welfare state, in which they were significantly involved, was one of the great achievements of the Weimar Republic."

Early interest in social democracy

Marie Juchacz — then Marie Gohlke — was born in 1879 in the rural district of Landsberg an der Warthe (now Gorzow Wielkopolski, in Poland). As a young child, she was already well-informed about world politics, and she could often be found poring over the daily newspaper. Her brother played a pivotal role in the early years of her life, giving her books and fostering an interest for social democracy.

At school, she was a disciplined child with an inquiring mind. She attended elementary school until her 14th birthday — after that, there was no higher place of learning left open to her. She then worked as a maid, a factory worker and a seamstress.

She met a tailor and they married in 1903, an election year for the Reichstag. As a woman, Juchacz was not eligible to vote — but she was determined to change that. That same year her first child was born, followed two years later by another. But Juchacz was unhappy in the relationship.

In 1906, she moved to Berlin. Shortly thereafter, she joined the Social Democratic Party (SPD). In 1917, she was appointed women's secretary in the party executive committee. Issues such as maternity leave, housing and youth care were central to her work. But even though the SPD was the first party to push for women's suffrage, female party members did not have an easy time actually implementing their demands.

"The Social Democrats had their own form of misogyny, a skeptical view of women," said Richter. "This could also be seen in other countries at the time, the US for example. Since its very beginnings, the workers' movement there was very much a male movement. They were skeptical of women entering the labor market, partly because women worked for a much lower wage."

Parliamentary work

In January 1919, Juchacz was elected to the Constituent Assembly of the Weimar Republic. As a member of parliament, she was instrumental in the preparation and implementation of important sociopolitical legislation.

For Juchacz, achieving absolute gender equality was essential. She vehemently opposed the introduction of the qualifier "in principle" into the phrase "men and women have the same civic rights."

That same year she founded the Workers' Welfare Association (AWO) — still active today — with the goal of fundamentally improving public welfare. The organization looked after the elderly and people with disabilities, ran kindergartens, all-day schools and counseling centers for people in need.

In the years that followed Juchacz was extremely busy, writing texts, organizing conferences and founding a welfare school for women and men, where carers were trained to look after the poor. But in 1933, that all came to an end.

Time of crisis

"The women's movement went into a crisis during the Weimar Republic, because they had achieved their goals — at least in principle," said Richter. "That's a typical development for social movements. Membership numbers dropped off, and young women stopped joining."

The women's movement dissolved. Some went into exile, others remained — though they didn't go into the resistance. On the eve of the 1932 election, Juchacz spoke out against the growing National Socialist movement:

"Women […] do not want a civil war, do not want a people's war […]. Women […] see through the hollowness of a politics that is particularly male, dictated only by shortsightedness, vanity and lust for renown. This policy, the National Socialist policy, compels us to oppose with all our strength, out of our love for our people."

But her words went unheeded. In 1933, she fled to Saarbrücken and cared for refugees fleeing Germany. Later in life, Juchacz's close friend, journalist Hans E. Hirschfeld, recalled the time in a letter: "I can still see the rooms in the Bahnhofstrasse in Saarbrücken in which you — the party executive, the Reichstag member, the politician — without saying much, set up a table in the kitchen and provided a home and a haven for the jumbled mass of people, providing them with food and drink and encouragement."

When the German army reoccupied Saarland in 1935, Juchacz fled via France to the United States. She wasn't able to do political work in exile, but she didn't abandon her ideals and goals, organizing talks and charity activities for people who had escaped the Nazi regime and were making a fresh start abroad.

After the war Juchacz returned to Germany and devoted herself once again to the Workers' Welfare Association. When she died in 1956, the organization honored her life's work in their obituary: "Her entire life was in the service of the struggle for a better and more just world."

The post Marie Juchacz: A life for justice and equality appeared first on Daily News Egypt.

]]> 0
We wanted to know: Which mountains have you climbed? Fri, 18 Jan 2019 13:42:00 +0000 The post We wanted to know: Which mountains have you climbed? appeared first on Daily News Egypt.

This week, Euromaxx wanted to know: Which peaks have you scaled?We’ve received tons of pictures from our viewers and their hiking companions in the mountains! We loved the inspiration and say thank you for all your submissions!

One of you has now won an exclusive Euromaxx wristwatch. And the lucky winner is: Sambuu Munkhtsetseg from Ulan Bator in Mongolia. Congratulations!

The post We wanted to know: Which mountains have you climbed? appeared first on Daily News Egypt.

]]> 0
My name is Nour: documenting life of young diabetic Down Syndrome athlete Thu, 17 Jan 2019 13:00:24 +0000 ‘I believe children with special needs not society’s centre of attention because they rarely spotlighted in media portals’ director says

The post My name is Nour: documenting life of young diabetic Down Syndrome athlete appeared first on Daily News Egypt.

It was a normal day in the life of Egyptian director Haisam Abdel-Hamid. He headed to his work as a director of a weekly children’s social TV show, not knowing that within a few hours, he was about to meet a diabetic Down Syndrome (DS) young athlete who will later be the star of his latest documentaries, Esmy Nour (My Name is Nour).

The film stars 13-year old Nour, a professional athlete who won a large number of gold medals in different sports, including swimming, and running. In less than 15 minutes, the short film takes audience into the life of the young energetic athlete. Spending the day between school, gym, and training, the film highlights another side of the disorder.

Known for causing delayed physical growth, various degrees of cognitive disability, and lack of personal interaction capability, Abdel-Hamid presented a unique version of people diagnosed with DS.

“From the moment I laid my eyes on Nour, she captured my heart. She is highly energetic, always smiling, easy to get close to, and above all, she represents everything a father would ever want his daughter to be,” Abdel-Hamid informed Daily News Egypt.

The active young girl stole Abdel-Hammid’s heart merely from a short conversation, “as if she was naturally gifted at making peoples’ hearts melt.”

In his film, Abdel-Hamid aimed to highlight the process of turning Nour into the athlete she currently is, as well as her life which is full of activities which is just like any other girl her age.

“I believe children with special needs are not society’s centre of attention because they are rarely spotlighted in media portals. Up until last year, we barely heard of any child fighting disability,” he added.

Abdel-Hamid also aimed to correct some of the mainstream ideas about DS children through capturing Nour’s social life with her friends.

The film shows Nour while playing with her friends, and dancing with them. “She comes across as everything a normal child is about, if not more. She is popular at her sports club, and has several friends who usually wait for her in order to play together,” Abdel Hamid asserted.

While portraying the little girl’s life details, the director could not take his eyes away from the usually hidden stars— her parents who Abdel-Hamid believes are the real heroes. 

“Most parents of DS children are afraid of enrolling them into activities with other children who might not understand their differences. They only take them to school and abilities’ training centres. However, from what they can see of real life scenes captured on camera, children can accept differences if we [grownups] can,” he explained.

Throughout the scenes, the director also aimed to highlight Nour’s parental support. The film showcases Nour’s father while teaching her how to pray, supporting her during training, and standing by her side in every step she takes.

“When I discussed with Nour’s father the idea of the film, the first thing he requested was not to portray her negatively or in heart-breaking image. He explained that he does not see his daughter that way, and would not want anyone else to,” Abdel-Hamid added.

Nour’s father started at a young age enrolling his daughter in various activities in order to see which one suits her the most.

“The biggest reason behind Nour’s current achievements goes to her support system. That is another message I aimed to deliver through my film. Parents play the most effective role in their children’s lives, especially if they have special needs. Nour could have been like millions of other DS children, unless she had her parents’ ultimate support,” He pointed out.

The 38-year-old director self-funded the short film which took almost two weeks to shoot. My Name Is Nour had its premiere at Sakia’s Documentary Film Festival.

It was awarded the Martine Filippi Award for Discovery in 2018 at the 37th International URTI Grand Prix For Author’s Documentary.

The film also took part at several international festivals including the14th Kazan International Film Festival, which was held in Russia.

It also planned to participate this year at the Sharjah Film Platform in the United Arab Emirates, and the Meknes International Animated Film Festival.

The post My name is Nour: documenting life of young diabetic Down Syndrome athlete appeared first on Daily News Egypt.

]]> 0
Hollywood vs. Trump: Politics, scandals and American cinema Thu, 17 Jan 2019 11:03:00 +0000 The post Hollywood vs. Trump: Politics, scandals and American cinema appeared first on Daily News Egypt.

It’s no surprise Hollywood and the current Trump administration don’t see eye to eye. True to form, three recent films, each depicting different political eras, directly — and indirectly — criticize the president.Even as the candidates left the starting blocks in the campaign for the 2016 presidential election, Hollywood was positioning itself against Donald Trump.

Many prominent actors came out in support of the Democrats, and the majority actively expressed their opposition to the reality TV star and self-proclaimed billionaire. Clint Eastwood was one of the few who sided with the bombastic Republican candidate.

At almost every major awards ceremony since his electoral win, Oscar and Golden Globe winners have spoken out about against the president. Even actor Meryl Streep, appearing at the 2017 Golden Globes, put in yet another unforgettable performance as she fired salvos in Trump's direction .

Hollywood's political heroes

The relationship between cinema and politics goes back decades. Stars like James Stewart and Henry Fonda were known for their portrayals of upright, honorable political figures in films like Mr. Smith Goes to Washington (1939) and Young Mr. Lincoln (1939).

But that's not to say Hollywood has always looked at Washington with uncritical eyes. In the late 1960s and '70s, the young directors of the New Hollywood era ruthlessly criticized politics and politicians — All the President's Men (1976) and its take on the Watergate scandal which brought down President Richard Nixon, for example.

American cinema tends to identify more with the Democrats. Directors such as Sydney Pollack ruthlessly looked behind the scenes of the policy-making machine. Corruption, cronyism and media manipulation were put on full view, in films like Three Days of the Condor (1975) — sometimes with filmic realism, sometimes satirically.

Read more: 50 years in the making: Orson Welles' final feature debuts on Netflix

Criticism in the streaming age

In recent years, these critiques have been emboldened by the makers of popular TV series. The success of House of Cards on Netflix showed this clearly, as it pulled no punches in its criticism of the Oval Office with the depiction of fictional President Frank Underwood.

But the political machinations by Underwood and his wife, Claire, over several seasons are — despite the former's complicity in murder — still miles away from the absurd political theater of the Donald Trump presidency.

Now playing

The three productions dealing with US politics and politicians currently in cinemas around the world continue a long tradition.

Jason Reitman's The Front Runner attacks the media for precipitating the fall of favored Democratic presidential candidate Gary Hart in the late 1980s. Vice, from director Adam McKay, critically examines the machinations of former Vice President Dick Cheney, George W. Bush's second-in-command from 2001 to 2009.

It comes as no surprise that documentary filmmaker Michael Moore is tough on Trump in his latest movie. But in Fahrenheit 11/9 Moore also looks at US society over the last three years to find the root cause for Trump's triumph, and ultimately asks how a reality TV star could have become the president of the United States.

The post Hollywood vs. Trump: Politics, scandals and American cinema appeared first on Daily News Egypt.

]]> 0
Two Roman tombs unearthed in Dakhla Oasis Thu, 17 Jan 2019 07:00:21 +0000 “Second tomb has distinguished paintings which depict mummification process”, says Ayman Ashmawy

The post Two Roman tombs unearthed in Dakhla Oasis appeared first on Daily News Egypt.

The first few weeks of 2019 indicated that the year might follow the steps of 2018, regarding the numerous discoveries which were recorded during the year. The Ministry of Antiquities announced the unearthing of two Roman-period tombs at the archaeological site of Beir Al-Shaghala in the Mout village at the Dakhla Oasis.

Located on the eastern side of the archaeological site, the tombs were found adorned in colours, and depicting scenes from that period. The discovery is a part of the excavation works which were being carried out at the area since 2002, and resulted in the revelation of a total of 10 incomplete sandstone tombs from the Greek era.

Despite being located near each other, each of the two tombs differ in their architectural structures.

The first tomb was found to be built from sandstones.

Moustafa Waziri, the secretary general of the Supreme Council of Antiquities, stated that the tomb is made out of 20 steps which lead to the entrance of the tomb, then pave the way for the main hall which extends from the east to the west.

Waziri stated during a press release, “The hall was built from mud brick, and the entrances of two burial chambers were found in its northern wall,” further explaining, “On top of which, two other chambers were found which include a number of human skeletons, clay lamps, as well as pottery vessels.”

As for the second tomb, it was discovered on the eastern side of the first one. However, it was made from mud bricks, yet its decorations are more vivid and carved with brighter inscriptions and ornaments.    

Ayman Ashmawy, the head of the Ancient Egyptian Antiquities Sector, stated that the second tomb “has very distinguished paintings which depict the mummification process of the deceased.”

The post Two Roman tombs unearthed in Dakhla Oasis appeared first on Daily News Egypt.

]]> 0
Ingenious minds: The Bauhaus artists whose designs became icons Wed, 16 Jan 2019 11:47:00 +0000 The post Ingenious minds: The Bauhaus artists whose designs became icons appeared first on Daily News Egypt.

They were the children of their time. But what did the Bauhaus artists surrounding founder Walter Gropius want? And what has remained of their ideas? As the official Bauhaus anniversary kicks off, here’s an overview.When Walter Gropius launched the "Staatliches Bauhaus in Weimar" in 1919, no one could have imagined how revolutionary his ideas would become — from the synthesis of art, industry and craftsmanship, to modern architecture, to the formulation of a uniform stylistic language. With the formula "form follows function," Gropius turned out to be a revolutionary. Bauhaus products were to take on simple, unadorned forms.

The development leading up to Bauhaus puts it in proper perspective. At the end of the 19th century, Germany aimed to replace the British as the leading economic power in Europe. Industrial production methods and craftsmanship were spilling over from the island. The Prussian schools of arts and crafts, until then purely artistically oriented, were inspired by the English model and set up workshops. Contemporary artists such as Peter Behrens and Henry van de Velde took over the management of the arts and crafts schools in Düsseldorf and Weimar.

German design for the world

Well-designed industrial goods were an important economic factor. Word got around, and in 1907 the "Deutscher Werkbund" (German Association of Craftsmen) was founded in Munich. German products were supposed to stand out on the world market by way of "good design" and the best "functionality and justice paid to the materials."

Large companies such as Bahlsen and AEG had their entire product ranges and architecture designed by artists of the Werkbund. Their hope: a triumphal procession of German design.

The economy was booming and national awareness began to grow. But the First World War posed its threats. A culture-critical, reformist counter-movement was then born. One of its masterminds in art was Walter Gropius. The young architect had already made a name for himself with bold, modern architectural designs, and he also penned plenty of texts on design theory.

After the war, Gropius replaced Henry van de Velde as director of the "Grand Ducal Saxon College of Fine Arts" and seized an opportunity: He created the most modern and controversial art school of the 1920s — the "Staatliches Bauhaus in Weimar" (State Bauhaus in Weimar).

A cathedral for the Bauhaus manifesto

Teachers here were not called professors, but "masters." They included renowned artists such as Lyonel Feininger, Wassily Kandinsky, Gerhard Marcks and Paul Klee. Later, Bauhaus graduates joined up as young masters. Guest lecturers and speakers completed the comprehensive education of Bauhaus students. The title of the Bauhaus manifesto was adorned with Lyonel Feininger's Cathedral, a woodcut showing where the journey was headed: Craft and art form a unity.

As a Bauhaus man from the very start, painter Lyonel Feininger ran the printers' shop. Soon after, a portfolio of Feininger's woodcuts appeared — the very first Bauhaus publication. His works at Bauhaus turned Feininger into one of the most important artists of classic modernism. His works began to be shown in numerous exhibitions — from Berlin's Kronprinzenpalais to New York's Museum of Modern Art. Feininger fled from the Nazis, who had branded his works as "degenerate," and emigrated to the US in 1937.

Nazis found Bauhaus art 'degenerate'

Gerhard Marcks, a sculptor and graphic artist, stepped onto the Bauhaus stage in 1919. Gropius appointed him as master of form in the ceramics workshop. Under Marcks' influence, experimental ceramic vessels were formed and — as technological advances were made — the first prototypes for serial production were created. Many well-known pottery products stemmed from the Bauhaus ceramic workshop — such as the Sintrax coffee machine (1924). Marcks left the Bauhaus in 1924.

Meanwhile, Oskar Schlemmer had taken up a master position in Weimar. The painter, sculptor and stage designer initially managed the Bauhaus workshop for murals, later also the workshop for wood and stone sculpture, and at the end led the stage design workshop. He created stage designs in which his "figurines," odd-looking costumed bodies, danced. In his works, which the Nazis deemed "degenerate," he explored the position of the human figure in space. Schlemmer remained loyal to Bauhaus for 12 years. He died an impoverished man shortly before the end of the war.

First as a student, later as a young master, Marcel Breuer likewise worked at the Bauhaus. He was the first furniture designer to use steel pipes to manufacture chairs and tables. From 1925 to 1928, he ran the furniture workshop, also known as the carpentry workshop. Not only his first chair design from 1925 is considered a design classic today, but also his Piscator Table.

Wagenfeld lamp becomes design icon

Josef Albers' artistic talent convinced Gropius to such an extent that he appointed him young master even before his journeyman's examination. As head of the preliminary course, Albers developed a trend-setting method of art education. In 1925, he moved with the Bauhaus to Dessau and married Annelise Fleischmann, later known as Bauhaus artist Anni Albers. In 1932, Josef celebrated his first solo exhibition of glass works. After the closure of the Bauhaus by the Nazis in 1933, Albers and his wife Anni fled to the USA.

Wilhelm Wagenfeld also began his studies at the Bauhaus in Weimar. His very first design also became his most famous: a simple opal-glass lampshade accompanied by a nickel-plated steel shaft. Wagenfeld's WA24 lamp became a design icon. Bauhaus and design lovers still buy them today as retro-editions created by the Tecnolumen company.

Laszlo Moholy-Nagy, head of the metal courses, among other things, recognized Marianne Brandt's talent very early. At his recommendation, she began studying in the male-dominated metal workshop — and became more successful than many of her fellow students. Brandt's everyday metal objects are still trademark of the Dessau Bauhaus today. Many of her designs went into serial production. Some of her ashtrays, coffee and tea services and lamps are still produced today as design classics in unchanged form, making Marianne Brandt one of Bauhaus' most famous artists.

Finally, Herbert Bayer also shaped the image of Dessau's Bauhaus. The advertising typography he developed greatly increased the popularity of the school of art and design. Bayer spent four years at the Bauhaus as a student before passing on his knowledge to the students as a young master from 1925 to 1928. Even today, typographers and printers still appreciate Bayer's universal lowercase alphabet as a timelessly modern advertising design.

The post Ingenious minds: The Bauhaus artists whose designs became icons appeared first on Daily News Egypt.

]]> 0
Kloster Andechs – winter beer on the holy mountain Tue, 15 Jan 2019 12:00:00 +0000 The post Kloster Andechs – winter beer on the holy mountain appeared first on Daily News Egypt.

One of Bavaria’s oldest pilgrimages leads to Andechs Monastery, high above the shores of Ammersee. Whether you are on a pilgrimage or a hike, the ascent makes you thirsty. Time for a winter beer.As soon as he opens his mouth, it becomes clear that the white-haired man seated at the table has not traveled far for his pilgrimage. In a thick Bavarian accent he invites his companions to enjoy their meal: "An Guadn," which means "Guten Appetit." This Saturday, as usual, the monastery beer restaurant is heaving with people. Northern 1423. As soon as I enter I am impressed by the church's rococo style. In the center is an ornate high altar featuring a gilded Madonna.

A glance downwards reveals something extraordinary: a mouse peeking out of a crack at the foot of the altar.

The mouse immortalized here is credited with saving the site from neglect. Legend has it that in 1388, a mouse dragged a scrap of paper containing information about the lost relic treasure into the former chapel. This allowed the relics which Count Rasso had brought from the Holy Land to be retrieved.

Today, visitors can view the relics as part of a tour of the Holy Chapel (Heilige Kapelle).

Germany's largest order-run monastery brewery

Most visitors to the Andechs Monastery do not come as pilgrims or to pay tribute to the "Three Holy Hosts." Nor do they come to pay their respects to the six monks who live there to this day. Most of them are tourists who are keen to tour the site and sample some of the famous beer which has been brewed here since the Middle Ages. Each year, more than 100,000 hectoliters of beer are produced here and sold throughout Germany and worldwide, apart from the famous winter beer. The monks decide what volume of beer to produce and where to deliver it. The brewing process and the treatment of the visitors are left in the capable hands of their staff.

Bavarian hospitality and tradition

Time now to settle down and put the Bavarian reputation for sociability to the test: "Excuse me, is this seat free?" I ask. A quick nod implies I've been accepted. I lay my wooden tray on the table and take a seat on the bench. Here visitors serve themselves. A liter of winter beer and a portion of pork knuckles together are quite weighty. In the summer, the outside terraces provide seating for almost 2,000 people. Huge quantities of sausages and pork knuckles are cooked here, not to mention the enormous volume of beer.

Visitors can choose from a large variety of beers, which take a direct route to the taps in the beer garden. Thousands of liters of beer are consumed on any given day. Many visitors choose to bring a sample crate home with them. The sale of beer is the monastery's main source of revenue.

Aromatic winter beer

The mild and spicy winter beer cannot be taken home in bottles. It is available exclusively at the monastery brewery from November 11 until March 19, marking the period between the Catholic feasts of St Martin and St Joseph.

"Beer should taste of beer," explains master brewer Alexander Reiss. That is why the monastery has remained loyal to the 1516 purity law. As well as the key ingredients of dark malt, water and aromatic hops, brewing winter beer requires a great deal of patience and experience.

Smiling, Reiss emphasizes that the beer here is produced according to the proper Bavarian tradition. It involves mashing small amounts of crushed malt and water. This process is repeated several times, which gives the beer its malty taste. The maturation process takes six weeks. The winter beer can then be enjoyed in its freshest and purest form. With an alcohol content of just over 4 percent, the winter beer is relatively mild. An Andechs Doppelbock in comparison has an alcohol content of more than 7 percent.

Closing time

The Andechs Monastery beer garden is not the kind of place for an all-night bender. It officially closes at 8 p.m. but most visitors – full of beer and pork knuckles – leave well before that. The early closing time is also a mark of respect for the monastic lifestyle. By 8 p.m., evening prayers are already in full swing and the morning prayers just a few hours away. The phrase "Ora et labora" ("pray and work") applies to the way of life here. While many paths lead to the monastery, for the monks, that mantra represents the one true path to God.

The post Kloster Andechs – winter beer on the holy mountain appeared first on Daily News Egypt.

]]> 0
Verynile: local initiative seeking to end Nile’s pollution Tue, 15 Jan 2019 10:00:33 +0000 ‘Broken ceramic sinks, old clothes, blankets, plastic bags, boxes, some of what we came across when cleaning river for first time’, says project manager

The post Verynile: local initiative seeking to end Nile’s pollution appeared first on Daily News Egypt.

Several pictures of dozens of volunteers were circulated on social media over the past few days to show them cleaning up the extremely polluted river Nile. The pictures resulted in a wave of encouragement for taking a step into changing the current condition, and cleaning what has become a black-coloured Nile.

The volunteers are part of Verynile, an environmental campaign aiming to end the Nile pollution and finding a permanent solution so that it will not be sullied again. The initiative was launched by Bassita, a click-funding initiative known for its social media awareness campaigns, in partnership with Greenish, a business aiming to implement sustainable environmental solutions.

The campaign seeks to revitalise the longest river in the world, and make it healthy again by removing all the trash which has made the river its home for decades, as well as to get rid of all the industrial waste stagnating in it.

“Egyptians tend to complain about the pollution and the dirt surrounding them everywhere. We wanted to take part in cleansing it for a change,” Moustafa Habib, Verynile’s project manager informed Daily News Egypt.

“I’m a Nile lover. Every time I pass by it, I wondered how different it would look like if it is waste-free and clear again. Until one day, I decided to make this happen,” he added.

The tremendous initiative goals will be achieved by working on three main pillars: first by raising people’s awareness through on-the-ground cleaning campaigns, second by seeking the help of fishermen who spend days off the shore in order to clean the waste they come across while fishing. The initiative also discusses with the fishermen exchanging every tonne of waste with either food supplies or some of their fishing requirements.

The third pillar is for the waste to end up at garbage disposal sites in order to separate between the recyclables, and the waste that is to buried.

“We know it is a long process, but the result is worth it,” Habib asserted.

The campaign kicked off with the support of the ministry of water resources and irrigation, the Nile Taxi, the Egyptian Rowing and Canoe Federation, as well as the Egyptian Rowing Club.

In its first Nile cleaning event which took place last month, 250 volunteers managed to take 1.5 tonnes of waste out of the Nile within only two hours of work.

“We knew it was terribly polluted, but we did not believe what we found!” Habib said, further explaining, “Broken ceramic sinks, old clothes, blankets, and all shapes and sizes of plastic bags and boxes were some of what we came across at the two spots we cleaned the first time.”

He astonishingly pointed out, “We did not believe that people could ever think of getting rid of such things by throwing them into the Nile!”

Among the things that touched the volunteers’ hearts the most were the Nile creatures which lost their lives from the plastic waste.

Habib explained, “We found small creatures that were stuck in water bottles, and others which seemed to be dead from other refuse.”

He added that the volunteers did not leave the two locations without having them totally waste-free and clean, “at least we removed the waste we could see.”

When it came to funding the cleaning equipment used in the process, the embassy of New Zealand and the International Organisation of Migration supported the team.

“It started with me writing on my personal Facebook account that we are organising a cleaning event soon, and we are in need of peoples’ help with the tools. Not so long after, dozens of people offered to purchase the equipment with their own money,” Habib stated.

The campaign aims to expand from the centre, focusing on all the governorates which the river passes by, and on a larger scale, the countries as well.

Since the first day of launching, Verynile revealed Egyptians’ positive interacting towards one of the essential sources of life, water.

Furthermore, Habib happily stated, “Just by opening the call for our first event, we received 600 applicants within a few hours. So far, we received over 4,000 volunteering requests in less than a week which led us to close the registration until we were able to handle this number of applications.”

According to Habib, Dozens of schools, student activities, as well as corporate social responsibility (CSR) departments in private sector institutions also reached out to the team, seeking to become a part of the campaign.

Despite the huge encouragement for the team, there are several challenges which are slowing their progress.

“We need to take all the permits for the campaign, and this takes time. But the most important thing is to take good care of the volunteers’ physical wellbeing. This is the hardest and most crucial challenge. We are aware that waste might be contagious,” Habib further elaborated.

As a precaution, the team requested from every volunteer to wear a life jacket and specific boots.

The Minister of Water Resources and Irrigation Mohamed Abdel Aty previously said that plastic waste is severely affecting the marine life and the river’s eco-system. He added that Egypt annually removes 7.5m tonnes of waste from the river Nile. Abdel Aty added that the ministry has a plan to clean all the water resources by 2037, with an allocated budget of billions of Egyptian pounds.

The campaign is currently organising its second event, which is planned to take place next month.

“We seek to have a bigger gathering next time to clean several spots, one in Cairo and in other governorates where the river is most polluted,” Habib concluded.


The post Verynile: local initiative seeking to end Nile’s pollution appeared first on Daily News Egypt.

]]> 0
Egyptian singer honoured for commemorating Gandhi’s 150 anniversary Mon, 14 Jan 2019 12:30:14 +0000 Song performance clear evidence of strong cultural ties Egypt, India share

The post Egyptian singer honoured for commemorating Gandhi’s 150 anniversary appeared first on Daily News Egypt.

Decades after his death, the soul of veteran Indian philosopher and activist Mahatma Gandhi will persist, leaving behind the morals he spent his life teaching others carved in gold in history. The icon’s birthday is an annual commemorated event which cannot be missed in Egypt.

The Indian ambassador in Egypt, Rahul Kulshreshth, handed Reem Ezz El-Din, an Egyptian singer, a gratitude letter from the Indian Minister of External Affairs Sushma Swaraj in appreciation of her efforts in commemorating Gandhi’s 150th anniversary.

Ezz El-Din was one of the artists who revived Gandhi’s 150 birthday through singing his favourite song, Vaishnav Jan To Tene Kahiye, (A Good Person) written by Hindi poet Narsimha Mehta, alongside 123 singers from all across the globe in a musical contribution dedicated to him.

The singer, along with her band, Zai Zaman (Like Old Days), were was honoured during a celebration which took place at Zamalek’s Maulana Azad Centre for Indian Culture.

“This song is a very important element of the Indian culture because it conveys all the principles and ethics. It was his favourite song which he used to sing regularly,” Kulshreshth informed Daily News Egypt, adding, “by choosing his favourite song, the idea was to emphasise that Gandhi’s message of love, peace, and ending violence are timeless concepts, and that is what [we believe] will continue to inspire the whole world.”

He also asserted that Ezz El-Din’s performance of the song is a clear evidence of the strong cultural ties which both Egypt and India share.

In his speech, Kulshreshth said that Ezzi El-Din’s voice was one of the most remarkable accredited features of the combined performances.

At the celebration, the embassy displayed a video clip shot of the band while singing the song while in the background Egypt’s most frequently-visited touristic places were displayed.

As for Ezz El-Din, she expressed her fascination with Indian culture, which was consummated by her her performance of the song.

“I have been fascinated with Indian culture for so long, but I did not believe there would come a day that I would be singing such an important song for this culture,” she said.

The band aimed to add an eastern twist to the song through the use of different instruments.

“We could not change the song’s main rhythm, but we aimed to add our own taste in music in it as an attempt to make it unique,” she explained.

The post Egyptian singer honoured for commemorating Gandhi’s 150 anniversary appeared first on Daily News Egypt.

]]> 0
Online entertainment show speaks dogs’ minds to owners Mon, 14 Jan 2019 12:00:38 +0000 Discussed topics most basic, most essential with dog, all set nature of pet-owner bond, founder says

The post Online entertainment show speaks dogs’ minds to owners appeared first on Daily News Egypt.

What if people can actually hear their dog’s thought out loud? What would these dogs say about their owner’s orders, way of treatment, and provided care? The answer to these questions were the main reason that led a group of dog lovers to produce an entertainment show which stars their own life partners, their dogs.

“Kalb Msh Shetema” (A dog is not a curse word) is the latest online entertainment educational show. Through less than five-minute motion videos, the founders of the programme aim to help dog owners find solutions to most common adopted dog issues in a light, funny manner.

The show is produced by Bungee’s, a local dry food producion brand, and Nos Talgia media production.

The video series discusses a different topic in each episode, through conversations owners believe could happen with their dogs, each based on his or her personality.

Khaled Meligy, the founder of the show, came up with the idea, believing that people need to understand their dogs better in order to know the best way to treat them.

“As a dog admirer, I wanted to creatively deliver a message to pet owners to help them raise their dogs, and filming a conversation that would most likely happen among dogs if they were talking was the long-searched for enduring idea,” Meligy informed Daily News Egypt.

Based on the personality of Bungy, Meligy’s own dog, and four of the programme staff’s dogs, the social media show producers wrote scripts regarding the thoughts they believe occur inside their dogs’ heads in various situations.

Meligy and the programme staff believe they represent most of the dogs’ personalities through their featured characters.

Each episode discussed an ongoing struggle to most dog owners, including obeying orders, the dogs’ most preferred meal, and the dogs’ behaviour with each other. The team focused on discussing generic, common issues dog owners suffer from.

“We believe that most dog owners love their pets as their own children. Just like many try to raise parents’ awareness on how to better understand their children, we wanted to help people comprehend their children loved-like pets in an effective way,” Meligy explained.

Among the discussed topics in one of the episodes was the way dogs see their parents, and how they do not understand the mixed signals their owners mistakenly give them.

“The topics we aimed to discuss are the most basic, yet the most essential with dogs. They all determine the shape of the pet-owner relationship,” he added.

When it came to decide on a name, “Kalb Msh Shetema” fights a mainstream stereotype in Egyptian society.

“In Arab societies, when a person wants to curse another he calls him a dog. Meanwhile, we believe that most often dogs are way better than human beings,” he added.

Meligy said that among the programme’s top goals is to raise people’s awareness of showing respect toward animals, especially dogs.

“By teaching people to show respect to those souls, we will be fighting much of the torture experienced by stray dogs at the hands of human beings, or even killing them,” he said.

He added further that peoples’ awareness can be increased through such light programmes that might help them understand that they are just like us, full of emotions, desires, and logical thinking.

The show was met with huge admiration. Several celebrities showed their support through videos in which they appear stating that their dogs are their whole lives.

As for Aya El-Kordy, the programme’s producer, she shed light on the struggles of creating a show featuring how to extend the eternal bond with one’s dog.

“Having all these dogs together in one place, surrounded by giant professional shooting tools, unfamiliar faces, and long working hours, was a huge challenge for all of us. Some of the dogs were stressed, others were uncomfortable, and among all of that we needed to closely shoot the facial features, supposedly stating elsewise” she explained.

Surrendering to dogs’ desires was the main challenge the producers aimed to overcome.

“Eventually you would not torture your dog in order to produce a good show. Therefore, we needed to wait until they were all ready and willing to give us what we wanted from them, even it meant running against time to take all the possible shots, without needing to work for extra days,” she added.

The post Online entertainment show speaks dogs’ minds to owners appeared first on Daily News Egypt.

]]> 0
International grant worth €3m to rehabilitate Tahrir’s Egyptian Museum Sun, 13 Jan 2019 16:55:13 +0000 Many antiquities at Egyptian Museum transferred over past 2 years to their new permanent home at GEM

The post International grant worth €3m to rehabilitate Tahrir’s Egyptian Museum appeared first on Daily News Egypt.

The Minister of Antiquities Khaled Anany announced that the ministry granted €3m to renovate the Egyptian Museum. The announcement came during Anany’s tour at the Grand Egyptian Museum (GEM) which is planned to be opened this year.

The source of the international grant was not announced, however, Anany stated that the museum’s rehabilitation plan will be carried out with the cooperation of five international museums including the Turin Egyptian Museum in Italy, London’s British Museum, the Louvre in Paris, and the Egyptian Museum of Berlin.

Throughout the visit, Anany followed-up on the progress of preparing for the GEM’s soft opening.

The opening date of the long awaited-for museum is not yet announced. Anany explained that it all depends on the progress of the site’s construction process.

Many of the antiquities located at the Egyptian Museum were transferred over the past two years to their new permanent home at the GEM. Anany previously stated that the transferred relics were replaced with dozens of antiquities which were had been stored at the museum for decades, some of them were never even displayed before.

Since the transfer of most of the monuments, the directors of the Egyptian Museum have been showcasing three relics for the first time on weekly basis.   

The post International grant worth €3m to rehabilitate Tahrir’s Egyptian Museum appeared first on Daily News Egypt.

]]> 0
The most beautiful African National Parks Fri, 11 Jan 2019 11:04:00 +0000 The post The most beautiful African National Parks appeared first on Daily News Egypt.

No other continent has such an immense number of natural assets as Africa. These make Africa’s national parks and nature reserves highlights on any trip to the continent.Savannas, rainforests, deserts, volcanic landscapes, mountains and coasts; added to that is its incredible wealth of fauna. That always attracts tourists. People are ready to pay a lot of money to see exotic animals in the wild. Countries such as Namibia, Kenya, South Africa and Tanzania are classic safari destinations. Here tourists can see the "big five:" elephants, African buffalo, rhinos, lions and leopards.

In many African countries, tourism is one of the largest and most important sources of income. The national parks play an important role. Local inhabitants earn money as guides, generate revenue by renting lodges or run restaurants – just to mention a few possibilities.

Most tourists would like to go on safari without forgoing the comforts of home. The national parks, more than 300 in number, make that possible: safe ways to get close to nature and animals. Park rangers and knowledgeable guides organize guided tours to herds of zebra, mountain gorillas, lurking crocodiles or lions dozing in the sun. Tourists spend the night in lodges that offer everything from simple comfort to luxurious accommodation.

Attentive travelers notice that many national parks have problems. They include poaching, dam building, deforestation, prospecting for resources and road building. Some of the fragile ecosystems at such great risk that they are threatened with collapse.

The post The most beautiful African National Parks appeared first on Daily News Egypt.

]]> 0
'I get asked questions my male colleagues would never get asked': conductor Alondra de la Parra on her career Thu, 10 Jan 2019 12:24:00 +0000 The post 'I get asked questions my male colleagues would never get asked': conductor Alondra de la Parra on her career appeared first on Daily News Egypt.

A new documentary on DW follows the charismatic young Mexican maestra over 14 month as she conducts on three continents. As she tells DW, the sheer fact that she is a female conductor is still fascinating to many.A rising star in classical music, Alondra de la Parra has conducted more than 100 orchestras in 20 countries and is now music director of the Queensland Symphony Orchestra in Brisbane, Australia. For the documentary film La Maestra: Alondra de la Parra, the conductor allowed access to her private archive, giving a personal view of the life of a jet-setting young mother and podium star. DW's Rick Fulker spoke with the conductor ahead of the documentary's debut.

Deutsche Welle: Have you seen the film?

Alondra de la Parra: Yes, I have, and I like it. It was a weird thing for me because when the producer Bernhard Fleischer and the director Christian Berger approached me about it, I thought it was a strange idea. It took a long time for me to accept it. I felt that I'm still very young and in many ways at the beginnning or in the middle of my career.

So doing a documentary at this point didn't make sense to me. But when I saw the film, I really liked it because I did see myself and didn't feel that they were amplifying or diminishing anything. I felt it was quite true to what my life and work are at the moment.

Was it a disturbance to have the camera crews around?

No, because it was just one person with a camera, Sven Jakob-Engelmann, who is good at being invisible. I honestly never felt his presence. When we were negotiating, I said, "There's no way I can walk into any rehearsal with a crew because it will change the energy completely." So it literally was one person, and one very kind, gentle and sensitive person who knows when and where to be and how to not disturb.

Read more: Conductor Alondra de la Parra: 'The whole world is watching Mexico now'

DW has been following your activities for some time in television reports and in the web series "Musica Maestra." Has the media attention affected your artistry or your approach to communication?

The series has essentially been just a continuation of what I already had been doing: recording conversations with soloists or giving a behind-the-scenes look at what making classical music involves — and posting these on social media. DW has a much bigger platform, of course. But as with the documentary, I insisted on not having camera teams around. The difference is that here the amateur feel to the videos is thoroughly intended.

In journalism, when we write a piece or produce a film, we focus on doing our best. But it is said that the success of a product is thirty percent production effort and seventy percent marketing. Is it the same in the classical music industry? Do you and your colleagues find yourself goiing to a lot of effort explaining and selling the product? And is that time well spent?

That's not how it works for me individually. I spend more like ninety percent of my time on my work and ten percent marketing it. I just do what you see in the camera. I keep doing my thing, it's being documented, and that's it.

There are a number of women conductors now emerging on the world stage, so it's not as unusual as it used to be. But do you still find yourself confronted with the issue of being a female conductor and find yourself answering awkward or annoying questions?

It's still an issue, especially with interviews.

Like this one!

No, you're formulating the question in a different way. But I would say that in 99 percent of the interviews, I get asked questions that I know that my male colleagues would never get asked. So I am going to do something interesting about that, and it's going to be really fun, you'll see!

But yes, there's just no way out of these very strange questions that almost every person who interviews me asks.

Such as?

Like: "Do you feel the musicians are distracted because you're beautiful?" They wouldn't ask Paavo Järvi that! Or Simon Rattle or Daniel Barenboim. Or things like: "How do you manage your time with being a mother and a conductor?" Well, all these male conductors also have kids, and they never get asked that, do they?

Questions like that are not offensive, but it's just ridiculous because I want to talk about the pieces I'm working on, about the composers, about the challenges and the philosophy behind the works. I'm as invested as my male colleagues in the music I'm doing. But in interviews I generally have to spend most of the time talking about other stuff. So that is frustrating.

Read more: Alondra de la Parra: 'With young musicians, magic can happen'

We know that classical music is a complete world of experience with both feminine and masculine qualities. Yet up to now, it has been a male-dominated field. Has that resulted in an over-emphasis on the masculine aspects of music?

I've never thought about it quite like that. It's possible. But I feel that every conductor — or every person — has male and female qualities, and to conduct, one needs both — because music asks for both. So when you see a great conductor who's a man, you're seeing their feminity all the time. And vice versa.

So I think the answer is actually no. To me, the sensitivity and the sensibility of a human being is a mixture of stories, backgrounds, emotions, even chemicals. That's what you see and hear, and that's what makes any conductor or any artist unique. I think most of the greatest conductors, who have been male, have had many feminine qualities. We just haven't singled them out as such yet, but yes.

What's more important: the live performance or the dissemination of it in the media?

These are two very different things. To me, a live performance is the most magical, beautiful and unparalleled experience. With the technological, digital world we live in nowadays, I feel that the concept of going to a concert hall and sitting with another two thousand human beings in silence, to listen to another hundred human beings create with their voices, their breath, their arms, their eyes and their energy music that is conveyed to us uninterrupted, that is evaporating and never coming back: that's incredibly magical. As we get more and more tired of the non-human aspects of life, this experience of going to a concert hall for live music played by an orchestra will grow more valued.

But I also think using technology to make this available to more people is amazing. And the fact that people anywhere in the world can be listening to the same thing happening somewhere else and be connected somehow is also really exciting. So I think it adds to the live experience but will never replace it.

La Maestra: Alondra de la Parra will be broadcast on Arte-TV in Germany on January 13, on DW-TV in German beginning on February 17, in English on February 18 and later in Spanish and Arabic-language versions.

The post 'I get asked questions my male colleagues would never get asked': conductor Alondra de la Parra on her career appeared first on Daily News Egypt.

]]> 0
Azbekeya Book Market launches independent book fair Wed, 09 Jan 2019 18:52:14 +0000 Social media calls to boycott 50th Cairo International Book Fair, head instead toward “alternative book fair”

The post Azbekeya Book Market launches independent book fair appeared first on Daily News Egypt.

The Azbekeya Book Market announced on Tuesday the inauguration of its first independent book fair, in an attempt to combat the ministry of culture’s decision of eliminating the majority of book traders from participating in the 50th Cairo International Book Fair.

Through Azbekeya Book Market’s official Facebook page, the traders announced that they are opening a free-entrance book fair for a month. The Azbakeya Book fair will be held from 15 January to 15 February within the same timeframe of the Cairo International Book Fair which will take place from 23 January to 5 February.

The Azabekeya Market usually attracts thousands of book fair visitors, due to selling old, used, low-cost priced-books that usually do not exceed EGP 20.

This year, with the transfer of the location of the 50th Cairo International Book Fair to the Egypt International Exhibition Centre, located in the Fifth Settlement, the General Egyptian Book Organisation informed Azbekeya book traders that the new place will only have a space for a few of them, which leaves the majority of them withheld from showcasing their books at the fair.

“The General Egyptian Book Organisation informed us that the allocated area for the Azbekeya book market cannot have more than 33 traders to showcase their books, while we are over 100. They also raised the renting rate,” the statement read.

Despite the fact that the ministry of culture stated that the new exhibit halls are bigger and wider than the old one, the International Convention Centre (ICC) where the fair has been held at for 30 years, Azbekeya book traders stated in their official statement that they were informed elsewise.

The traders added that they did not intend to participate at the 50th Cairo International Book Fair, however the timing they decided to hold the independent book fair at is due to mid-year vacations.

“The independent book fair came to prevent the loss that could have occurred to book traders. They purchased large numbers of books to sell at the 50th Cairo International Book Fair,” the statement added.

Most of the sold books at the Azbekeya market are used and old, yet hold important value in authenticity. The books cannot be found elsewhere, because publishing houses only sell new books.

The independent book fair is met by admiration from people. Thousands of users expressed their rage at eliminating the Azbekeya book market from the book fair.

As the only place to sell books at affordable prices for the public, it has been one of the most targeted places among all book fair exhibitors.

The 50th Cairo International Book Fair opens its doors among a huge wave of media anger due to the relocation of the book fair at the Egypt International Exhibition Centre, located in the Fifth Settlement, which is considered a very distant location for most people, with very few available public transportation.

Since the announcement of the new location it was moved to, calls of boycotting the book fair increased because unlike the ICC, which is located in the middle of Cairo, with several transportation options and routes, the Egypt International Exhibition Centre is located at Al-Mosher Tantawy axis, a highway with few public transportation options.

The calls also put in a claim on social media to head towards the “alternative book fair”.

Comments showed people backing the independent book fair, against the official one.

“You have all of our support, knowing that you will provide us with the discounts that allow all bookworms to have the long awaited for books,” a user stated. 

“I will not go to the Cairo International Book Fair this year, and will definitely visit this one instead,” another user commented on the statement.


The post Azbekeya Book Market launches independent book fair appeared first on Daily News Egypt.

]]> 0
From alcohol to sugar: words with Arabic roots Wed, 09 Jan 2019 11:12:00 +0000 The post From alcohol to sugar: words with Arabic roots appeared first on Daily News Egypt.

While the integration of Arab migrants sparks ongoing debates, one thing is for sure: language-wise, Arabic is well rooted in Germany. Both English and German have many common words that stem from the language.Some words used in German and English are immediately identifiable as originating in the Arab Middle East, just think of harem or minaret, but others less so. German philologist and book author Andreas Unger explains a language phenomenon that goes back to the Middle Ages.

DW: How did Arabic words make their way into European language?

Andreas Unger: For the most part, that happened in the Medieval era. Islamic-Arab cultures were vastly superior to European cultures in the Middle Ages, and traders as well as the invading Muslim forces in modern-day Spain and Portugal and in Sicily brought with them technology, science and luxury articles — and of course the corresponding words that were then Europeanized.

Read more: 10 things you'll find in (almost) every German household

So medieval Europeans slowly started using mattresses and the accompanying term?

It was more complicated than that, because sometimes, the meaning of a word would change. In Arabic "matrah" simply means cushions or blankets tossed on the ground — people would often place pillows on the floor or on seats.

Europeans were keen on Arabic luxury articles, and "matrah" originally also denoted a luxurious blanket. Over time, the word was used for a stuffed pad to sleep on, which evolved into our contemporary mattress.

Did the words find their way directly into the English or German language from the Arabic?

First, the words trickled into mainly Italian and Spanish, via the Arab population — after all, the Arabs were in Spain from 711 to 1492 — and the merchants who traded throughout the Mediterranean Sea and bought goods in Palestine. The European upper classes were interested in these products.

In the case of Germany, for instance, which had no trade to speak of in the Mediterranean, different Arabic-origin words entered the language via Italy and thus Italian.

Read more: 10 very German passions

Are some word groups more common than others?

There are two major groups, and one of them is science. The Arab world had absorbed Greek scientific knowledge, which was virtually unknown in Europe around the year 1000. Arab books on those matters were translated into Latin at some point, and that's how terms from the fields of astronomy, mathematics and pharmaceutics ended up in European languages.

Then, there were the luxury articles: mattresses were covered in precious silk, a sofa was originally a seat of honor, sugar and everything made with sugar — marzipan, for instance — was really important, as were fragrances — jasmine, orange blossom —, citrus fruits like oranges and lemons, and musical instruments like the guitar and the tambourine.

Read more: 4 direct questions you should be prepared to answer in Germany

Is the origin of any one word particularly surprising?

As far as I am concerned: benzene!

The development of word meanings can be quirky indeed. Benzene, an important component of gasoline, was adopted into English from the German "Benzin," which in turn was based on the word benzoic acid. Originally, it was an Arabic word for a balsamic resin imported from Java — like the aromatic frankincense.

For a long time, people were unaware of the fact that European cultures had absorbed bits of the Arab-Muslim cultural world and that many words go back to the Arabic language. But it's good to know about these roots, in particular in light of the alleged conflict between the western and the Islamic world. That is why I wrote a book about German words that go back to the Arabic language.

Andreas Unger is a German linguist and author of "From Algebra to sugar. Arabic words in German," revised in a second edition in 2013. He lives in Berlin.

The post From alcohol to sugar: words with Arabic roots appeared first on Daily News Egypt.

]]> 0
Stolen Karnak temple relief returns to Egypt from London Tue, 08 Jan 2019 17:39:33 +0000 Relic depicts cartouche of King Amonhotep I, was found while being auctioned

The post Stolen Karnak temple relief returns to Egypt from London appeared first on Daily News Egypt.

After dozens of retrieved antiquities throughout the past year, the series of retuning Egyptian smuggled relics has proven to be far from over. Egypt recovered on Tuesday an ancient Egyptian relief from London. The relic was found while being sold in an auction at one of London’s international auction houses.

Depicting the cartouche of King Amonhotep I, the relic was found to be stolen from the Karnak Temple in Luxor.

Shaaban Abdel-Gawad, General Supervisor of theAntiquities Repatriation Department at the ministry said in a press statement that the ministry tracked the antiquity through closely following the online portals of international auction halls. Once it was determined to be Egyptian, the ministry “took all the necessary procedures to stop the sale of the relief and withdraw it from the auction.”

The relief returned home with the help of the Egyptian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Egyptian embassy in London.

Abdel-Gawad added that “all concerned British authorities have been coordinating with us to recover the relief, and the Egyptian embassy in London received it in September 2018.”

Moreover, he previously stated that Egypt has returned over 1,000 smuggled artefacts, from several countries in the past two years, including 586 which were returned in 2017.

The post Stolen Karnak temple relief returns to Egypt from London appeared first on Daily News Egypt.

]]> 0
SFSD announced shortlisted nominees for 14th edition of its Cultural award Tue, 08 Jan 2019 11:30:25 +0000 Winners will be announced at its annual ceremony on 25 January at Cairo Opera House

The post SFSD announced shortlisted nominees for 14th edition of its Cultural award appeared first on Daily News Egypt.

The Sawiris Foundation for Social Development (SFSD) and the Sawiris Cultural Award Board of Trustees announced on Sunday the shortlisted nominees for the 2018 Sawiris Cultural Award in the categories of novels, short stories, and screenplays for emerging, and young writers.

The shortlisted nominees for the best novel-in random order-includes The Fabrika by Ahmed Al-Malwani, Qareban Mn Albahga by Ahmed Samir, Saraya Al-Gabi by Islam Al Banna, Wa Ana Ahebak ya Salima For Sherif Said, and Banat Al Basha for Nora Nagi.

The shortlist for the best short story collections includes La Ahd Yarthi Liqatat Almadina by Mohamed El Hajj, Kolna Abdo El Abit by Mahmoud Fatin, Algalisun Fi Alshurfa Hata Tagay’ Zaynb by Noha Mahmoud, Almawt Yurid’An Aqbil Aietizariha by Nahla Karam, and Nshaterikum Alarwah by Yara Kamal.

The best scenario shortlist includes Dquu Almzaher by Khaled Al-Faris, Zeham by Mohammed Abdul Qadir, Badal Dayea by Mahmoud Ezzat, Rokaya by Yemena Akram Khattab, and Fe Batn El Hout by Omar Nayef and Ismail Sharif.

Last week, the SFSD announced that Sawiris Cultural Award winners will be announced at its annual ceremony that will take place on 25 January 2019, at Cairo Opera House.

Notably, the Sawiris Cultural Award is one of the most important roles of the SFSD as it supports and enriches the cultural renaissance efforts in Egypt. The award was initiated in 2005 to recognise and encourage excellence in literary works of Egyptian emerging and established writers in the fields of novels, short stories, screenplays, playwritings, and literature critique.

The prominent businessman, Nagib Sawiris, is known for his significant interest in investing in the cultural scene in Egypt. In the last three years, Sawiris organised some of Egypt’s most discussed cultural event: El-Gouna Film Festival.

He previously stated the importance of arts and culture in building communities and developing well-balanced generations. 

“I believe in the power of arts and culture in transforming communities and creating a long-lasting positive impact on youth and children, and I believe that we are in utmost need for this positive impact in today’s Egypt,” he said.

The awards come in sequence with the contribution Sawiris foundation also paid in establishing the Tahrir Cultural Centre at the American University in Cairo’s Tahrir campus.


The post SFSD announced shortlisted nominees for 14th edition of its Cultural award appeared first on Daily News Egypt.

]]> 0
Tutankhamun’s belongings wonders seven foreign countries in 2019 Tue, 08 Jan 2019 11:00:39 +0000 France exhibition will kick off from 23 March to 15 September 2019

The post Tutankhamun’s belongings wonders seven foreign countries in 2019 appeared first on Daily News Egypt.

Following several international exhibitions, the belongings of the most famous pharaoh, Tutankhamun, are to roam six European countries in 2019, after they are displayed in France in March.

The exhibition, named King Tut: Treasures of the Golden Pharaoh, will find a new temporary home in Paris, after it has been resting in Los Angeles, California, from March 2018. The France exhibition will kick off from 23 March to 15 September 2019.

Subsequently, it is planned to journey to six other countries, including Japan, the UK, Australia, and South Korea, where they are to be revealed in 10 cities. The temporary exhibition witnessed a huge success in the United Stated. Local media reported that it attracted more than 500 million visitors since it opened in March.

The exhibit will open its doors in the Grande Halle at La Villette, in cooperation with the Grand Exhibition Museum, which will hold its soft opening this year.

King Tut: Treasures of the Golden Pharaoh will display: ‘150 fascinating original objects found in 1922 in the tomb of the most famous pharaohs, the majority of which have never left Egypt before,’ according to the Paris official website of the convention and visitors bureau.

The ministry of antiquities previously stated that the exhibitions includes 166 relics belonging to King Tutankhamun, yet some of them are redundant.

Minister of Antiquities Khaled El-Anany had formerly said the value of insurance coverage for the 166 pieces of King Tutankhamun’s belongings which will be exhibited abroad is estimated at $862m.

King Tutankhamun’s showcased belongings were originally transferred from the Museum of Egyptian Antiquities in Cairo. The relics include alabaster pots, wooden boxes, and statues of the pharaoh.

The increase in the temporary exhibitions abroad is an effort on the part of the Minister of Antiquities Khaled Anany to revive tourism in Egypt, and create a source of income for the ministry.

Local media reported that the ministry’s income from the past LA exhibition reached $5m, with four dollars going to the ministry for every ticket sold.

Anany explained the reason behind choosing Tutankhamen’s belongings to journey across Europe is that people have a love story with the young king pharaoh.

Before the museum opened its doors to the public in March, all 3,500 tickets of the exhibition were sold out, which led the museum to extend its opening time for three additional hours after the official working period, as regulations forbid hosting over 100 persons inside the museum at a time.

The first exhibition showcasing Egyptian artefacts in a foreign country, as part of the minster’s new policy, kicked off in Toronto, Canada, last year, and displayed the heritage and monuments of the Egyptian Fatimid era, while another demonstrated the artefacts of the cities of Thonis-Heracleion and Canopus, which were accidentally discovered under water after being lost for 1,000 years, whereas a third exhibition will soon be inaugurated for jewellery from ancient Egyptian eras.

Noteworthy, the ministry inaugurated another pharaohs belongings’ exhibition in 2018 in Monaco, of which only two pieces belonging to Tutankhamun were displayed.

The post Tutankhamun’s belongings wonders seven foreign countries in 2019 appeared first on Daily News Egypt.

]]> 0
Looted colonial art: Is there the political will to return pilfered artifacts? Sat, 05 Jan 2019 11:06:00 +0000 The post Looted colonial art: Is there the political will to return pilfered artifacts? appeared first on Daily News Egypt.

From African cultural treasures to artworks and even human remains, calls have been growing louder to return goods appropriated by colonial powers during their often brutal reigns across Africa. But is it mostly talk?While African nations have long demanded the restitution of poached cultural artifacts, in former colonial powers like France and Germany the debate has recently reached fever pitch as cultural and political figures make the case for repatriation.

In November, a 108-page breakout report by French academics Bénédicte Savoy and Felwine Sarr on the "Restitution of African Cultural Heritage" proposed the return of thousands of colonial art objects to create a more balanced representation in African museums. Following the report, French president Emmanuel Macron made the commitment to return such goods, most especially to Benin. But so far, Germany has been wavering.

Giving back

2019 marks a century since Germany lost its colonial possessions following the signing of the Treaty of Versailles. The Humboldt Forum in the newly rebuilt Berlin Palace will open on September 14 with a permanent exhibition including a number of cultural artifacts appropriated during Germany's sometimes genocidal colonial forays in Africa.

Months ahead of the opening of the controversial Humboldt Forum, Monika Grütters, Germany's Minister of State for Culture, signalled a significant shift in cultural policy.

"Just waiting passively for someone to want something back is not the way to reconcile our colonial past," said Grütters on January 2. "We should actively approach the descendants ourselves."

A day later, Hermann Parzinger, the President of the Prussian Cultural Heritage Foundation that manages the Humboldt Forum, said the new cultural institution should include a "silent space" where people can stop to consider the crimes committed by German colonizers. These include the mass murder of tens of thousands of indigenous Herero and Nama people during protests against colonial rule from 1904-1908. The crimes were recognized by Germany as genocide in 2015, but the country has not agreed to reparation demands.

While such a memorial space will be welcomed as a reconciliatory gesture by an institution that will soon exhibit treasures appropriated during colonial times, critics observe that the Humboldt Forum has employed few concrete measures to return parts of its vast colonial art collection — or to even determine some of its origins.

Read more: Pressure grows on Germany in legal battle over colonial-era genocide

How much blood?

Before co-authoring the landmark French report on colonial art repatriation, Bénédicte Savoy sat on the advisory board of the Humboldt Forum. She resigned her post in July 2017 in protest over a perceived lack of provenance research at the institution.

"I want to know how much blood is dripping from each artwork," she wrote in an opinion column in the German daily Süddeutsche Zeitung. "Without this research, no Humboldt Forum and no Ethnological Museum should open."

Savoy said that only works whose origins have been clarified should be on display. Yet concrete provenance research has been slow, with a project on the "shared history" of Tanzanian art one of the few to be made public.

Read more: Is Berlin's Humboldt Forum shying away from colonial history?

Even as Grütters becomes more explicit about providing greater funding and resources for provenance research leading to active restitution, some remain pessimistic.

"How do they want to put this into action?" asks Tahir Della, a member of "Decolonizing the City," a Berlin initiative whose goals include renaming streets named after German colonizers. Della is also a spokesperson for the "Initiative of Black People in Germany," the first group to represent people of African descent in a nation where blacks are often underrepresented.

"Is the focus on bringing the stuff back to the African continent, to the original owners; or is the focus to maintain the status quo so that as many objects as possible remain in German museums?" asks Della.

Read more: Berlin's African quarter to change colonial-era street names

Playing for time?

Wiebke Ahrndt, an ethnologist and director of the Übersee-Museum (Overseas Museum) in Bremen which holds a large collection of art objects from the former German colony of Cameroon, calls for a nuanced approach to restitution.

"The issues the French have raised — giving everything back to the countries of origin — have nothing to do with reality nor, as a rule, the interests of these countries," she told DW. "With special objects, it is different however: culturally sensitive objects including human remains, leadership insignia and special religious artifacts. Those are the things that we must talk about."

Read more: German museums 'willing to return' looted colonial objects

Might Ahrndt's words also be interpreted as a reluctance to returning many of Germany's prized "cultural assets" to their places of origin, and are museum-establishment concepts like "shared heritage" merely a distraction?

Tahir Della feels that statements by Grütters and Parzinger are "playing for time" as opposed to opening real dialogue with the original owners.

Using the example of the Nefertiti statue held in Berlin's Neues Museum, Della says the institution has been prevaricating for decades on returning the object to Egypt, arguing that the icon is "too old to travel."

Initiating dialogue

In an interview with DW, Jonathan Fine, the curator of African collections at Berlin's Ethnological Museum, described the first step towards restitution: "We must talk to them. We are not trying to delay something."

Fine is part of a new provenance research project investigating the origins of 1200 objects from Namibia through dialogue with the relevant communities. "In many cases" the work will lead to restitution, he says.

The Humboldt Forum's Hermann Parzinger also supports new initiatives to deal with Germany's colonial heritage akin to the 1998 Washington Declaration that outlined the restitution of Nazi-looted cultural goods to original owners and their heirs. International conferences and joint exhibitions by European and African museums might further "lead to loans, and even to the restitution of items," he said.

Della, for his part, believes that the idea of conferences and declarations is often too "wishy-washy," adding that African-German groups like Decolonize the City have never been consulted in the creation of such initiatives, or indeed over plans to display cultural artifacts from Africa at the Humboldt Forum.

To lend or to give back

The Ethnological Museum in Berlin's new Humboldt Forum has the second largest collection of "Benin Bronzes," sculptural artifacts looted by the British from the ancient kingdom of Benin, which partly stretches into current-day Nigeria. Along with a network of European museums, the Berlin institution has agreed to loan some of the 500-odd objects to a museum in Benin under the auspices of the Benin Dialogue Group.

Some say, however that lending proposals like these show an unwillingness to return the artifacts to their rightful owners.

Australian Aboriginal activist Roxley Foley suggests that while British museums, like some in Germany, are happy to lend back cultural artifacts, including human remains, to the original owners, it should be the other way around.

"How about you give the objects to us and we'll lend them back to you?" he said during a June 2018 event in Berlin organized by "No Humboldt 21," an activist group comprising more than 80 NGOs which has been lobbying against the Humboldt Forum due to its associations with Germany's colonial crimes. The group maintains that the near €600 million ($682 million) spent on rebuilding the Berlin Palace could instead have gone into provenance research.

In their report on the "Restitution of African Cultural Heritage," Bénédicte Savoy and Felwine Sarr also oppose the long-term loan of objects, favoring instead the unconditional return of property and urging Macron to cast aside "political prudence and museum anxiety."

Finding the political will

Following Savoy's and Sarr's report, German museum directors like Marion Ackermann of the Dresden State Art Collections have said that cultural institutions now need to tackle complex legal issues to expedite the return of cultural goods, including human remains. But she also stressed the need for a national political commitment before such remains are repatriated to countries like Australia and Namibia.

In this vein, Monika Grütters and Michelle Müntefering, Minister of State for International Cultural and Educational Policy, have announced the creation of a binding policy on "cultural heritage from a colonial context" in March 2019.

Is this the kind of political commitment that Tahir Della says has been absent so far?

While Grütters acknowledges that both European and German colonial history had for decades been a "blind spot in the culture of remembrance," Della still fears that, for now, he is "not seeing the political will" to actually change this.

The post Looted colonial art: Is there the political will to return pilfered artifacts? appeared first on Daily News Egypt.

]]> 0
Louvre enters new year with record number of visitors Fri, 04 Jan 2019 14:35:00 +0000 The post Louvre enters new year with record number of visitors appeared first on Daily News Egypt.

More people than ever before visited the Louvre in Paris in 2018. To mark the 500th anniversary of Leonardo da Vinci’s death, the museum is showing a comprehensive exhibition this year.Were you at the Louvre in 2018? Then you helped the world-famous museum in Paris set a new visitor record. Last year, 10.2 million art enthusiasts flocked to the museum. That's an increase of 25 percent over 2017 and breaks the previous record set in 2012, when 9.7 million people came to the Louvre.

Almost three quarters of the guests came from abroad, with Americans and Chinese at the top. At 2.5 million, the number of French visitors also increased significantly compared to the previous year.

There seem to be several reasons for the increase in visitors. There's the retrospective on the painter Eugène Delacroix, which attracted around 540,000 art lovers in 2018 and, according to the museum, was "the most successful exhibition ever held at the Louvre." Delacroix was one of the most important French painters and is regarded as a pioneer of Impressionism.

Also, Paris is once again a magnet for tourists in the wake of the spate of terror attacks which deterred people from visiting the French capital. In addition, the Louvre Abu Dhabi opened in 2017, drawing further attention to the Louvre in Paris.

Pop stars as art ambassadors

And a music video also boosted the popularity of the Museum: Pop star Beyoncé and rapper Jay Z shot the video for their song "Apeshit" in the Louvre last year. The video features many of the museum's masterpieces and has been clicked 147 million times so far on YouTube.

"I'm delighted that the Louvre is so popular," says the Louvre's director, Jean-Luc Martinez. The goal was not necessarily to attract more visitors, but to improve the conditions for the guests, he said. This included clearer signage and the introduction of time slot tickets to shorten the queues at the ticket booths.

What visitors can expect in 2019

A highlight of the year will be the celebration of the 30th anniversary of the famous glass pyramid, the entrance area of the Louvre that was built in 1989. Today, like the Eiffel Tower, it is a Parisian landmark. On the last weekend of March, there will be several free events in the Louvre's courtyard.

Another major event is the exhibition on the occasion of the 500th anniversary of the death of Leonardo da Vinci. The Louvre itself owns five of the 14 renowned Da Vinci paintings, including the world-famous "Mona Lisa."

There were plans to bring further paintings from Italian collections to Paris for the exhibition, but these have run into problems due to a dispute with the Italian government about the loans. In addition to the paintings, "a large selection of drawings" will also be presented. According to the Louvre, the exhibition aims to represent the result of more than 10 years of work and research around Leonardo's work: His paintings have been were scientifically reexamined and three of them restored. The exhibition will run from October 24 to February 24, 2020.

Another new feature are the "Saturday Night Openings." Every first Saturday of the month, entry is free from 6 p.m. to 9:45 p.m.

cd/ks (with dpa, afp,

The post Louvre enters new year with record number of visitors appeared first on Daily News Egypt.

]]> 0
Music, architecture, books and film: A 2019 culture preview Thu, 03 Jan 2019 09:01:00 +0000 The post Music, architecture, books and film: A 2019 culture preview appeared first on Daily News Egypt.

Berlinale, Biennial, Bauhaus: If you like culture and you like to travel, 2019 could be your year. A look at Europe’s cultural highlights across the next 12 months.After visiting Madrid's Prado Museum in 1865, French painter Edouard Manet wrote to a friend: "How I missed you here so, and how large your joy would have been at seeing Velaquez, for which this trip alone was worth."

A trip to the Prado is still worthwhile even today — perhaps even more so in 2019, when the museum celebrates 200 years on November 19, 2019. Exhibitions planned for the year in the famous national museum include works by Diego Velazquez, Francisco de Zurbaran and Francisco de Goya.

Madrid is not the only destination for culture lovers looking for unique events in 2019.

German anniversary celebrations

In Germany, 2019 will be a year full of commemorations and birthdays. The biggest of the celebrations honors the centennial of the revolutionary Bauhaus school of architecture and design.

Beginning with an opening festival on January 16, there will be over 600 exhibitions around the country tracing Bauhaus's influence and showcasing its celebrated artists including Oskar Schlemmer, Wassily Kandinsky, Lyonel Feininger, Paul Klee and László Moholy-Nagy.

The focus in Berlin is on Alexander von Humboldt, born on September 14, 1769 in the capital city. Exhibitions and lectures celebrate the 250th anniversary of the adventurer, researcher and man about town. The new Humboldt Forum will open its doors to visitors on his birthday. From May 1 to June 30, the Botanical Gardens will host an exhibition on 12 unusual histories of plants in his honor.

Germany is likewise celebrating the 200th birthday of Theodor Fontane, the author of Effi Briest and Der Stechlin. Under the slogan Fontane.200, the novelist will be honored beginning in March in his hometown of Neuruppin, 80 kilometers northwest of Berlin and with events around Brandenburg.

Jewish poet Else Lasker-Schüler, born in Wuppertal and come of age in the Weimar Berlin, is also honored in 2019, with the play "Ichundich" a central part of an eight-day theater festival beginning July 6 in her hometown.

International events:

Golden Globes to Super Bowl

On January 6 in Los Angeles, the Golden Globes will be awarded for the 76th time, followed on February 25 by the Oscars ceremony in Hollywood. In between, on February 3, the 2019 Super Bowl is bound to have people in the US enthralled, along with the question of who will perform during the halftime show as celebrities have been bowing out in support of NFL players' "kneeling" protests against racism and police shootings of unarmed black men, women and children.

Back to Germany and film, Dieter Kosslick opens the Berlin International Film Festival one last time in 2019, which kicks off February 7 before the Berlinale Golden Bear is awarded 10 day later.

Hot on the Berlinale's heels, the Oscars in February have a new "popular film" category. Meanwhile, the nominees for the German Film Prize as well as the winners of the prestigious German television Grimme Award are announced on March 20.

The world's foremost film festival, the Cannes Film Festival, runs from May 14 to 25 while the Venice Film Festival is on from August 28 through September 7.

Read more: Juliette Binoche named president of Berlin Film Festival jury

From Venice to Tel Aviv

"May You Live in Interesting Times" is the motto of the 58th Art Biennial in Venice (May 11-November 24), a reference to an alleged Chinese curse that, according to the organizers, interprets times of insecurity, crisis and uproar as "interesting times."

May is also the time when the world tunes in to the finals of the Eurovision Song Contest, which takes place inTel Aviv on May 18.

The year in books

Springtime in New York: That's when the Pulitzer Prize winners will be announced.

The winners of the Georg Büchner Prize and the Peace Prize of the German Book trade are usually announced in June or July — the award ceremony for the former is November 2 and the latter is held October 20.

Announcement of the various Nobel prizes is expected in October, perhaps again including a prize suspended in 2018, the Literature Prize. The Literature Nobel Prize winner is usually announced during the Frankfurt Book Fair (October 16- 20). In 2019, Norway is the guest of honor.

Art breaks and music festivals

While the Prado celebrations are big news throughout the year, the Bauhaus crowd will be thrilled by the new museum dedicated to design opening in Dessau on September 8.

There's no stopping the art world from its annual gatherings, including Art Basel, held in Switzerland from June 13-16.

A month later, classical music lovers head to the Salzburg Festival to enjoy the play Jedermann and much more, including the Mozart opera Idomeneo. Concertgoers can expect to see and hear a new production of Tannhäuser at the Richard Wagner Festival in Bayreuth (July 25-August 28), while the Locarno Film Festival is on in Switzerland in August (7-17).

Click through the picture gallery above for a more comprehensive list of what's on in 2019.

The post Music, architecture, books and film: A 2019 culture preview appeared first on Daily News Egypt.

]]> 0
Plovdiv: European Capital of Culture struggles to come of age Wed, 02 Jan 2019 14:25:00 +0000 The post Plovdiv: European Capital of Culture struggles to come of age appeared first on Daily News Egypt.

One of the oldest cities in the world, the Bulgarian city of Plovdiv is a place of inspiration for artists and creatives and was anointed European Capital of Culture 2019. But will the honor prove a missed opportunity?The mayor of Plovdiv, in anticipation of the upcoming holidays, announced during a city council session that all citizens were invited to a pig slaughter in the city center. The aim was to preserve Bulgarian cultural traditions at Christmas.

"Many people, especially young people, are no longer able to travel to the village and experience these traditions, so we decided to bring the traditions to the city," said Mayor Ivan Totev.

The proposal received a lot of attention: while some residents were worried whether the two pigs being proposed would be enough, or whether a slaughter should take place under the Christmas tree at all, others doubted the compatibility of this tradition with the title European Capital of Culture 2019.

Read more: European Cultural Capitals of 2018: two cities, two concepts

"The politicians who govern us have a different conception of culture than we, who deal with culture and who have been involved in promoting Plovdiv as the European Capital of Culture from the start," says Manol Peykov, a book printer and publisher in Plovdiv who was integral to the bid.

"Politicians think they can impress with such actions, but they do not see culture as something that can create change and be forward-looking," he added.

Peykov was a member of the "Plovdiv 2019" Foundation which — consisting of five civil society and four political representatives — had to prepare a program framework for the bid. But he and the other civil society representatives left the foundation after arguing that many ideas and projects the city had originally planned were now being handicapped by local politicians.

Solving conflicts through culture

A central theme of the application was the focus on the ethnic minorities in Plovdiv, especially the Roma population. Stolipinovo, a district of Plovdiv and the largest Roma district in the Balkans, was also earmarked to be part of the cultural program this year.

"We believe that culture has the capacity to produce social change, and most young people living in Stolipinovo have never left the neighborhood. On the other hand, the inhabitants of Plovdiv never visit this part of the city," notes Peykov.

But those in authority did not listen.

"The politicians said that we should not show our backyard to foreign audiences. 'Why the Roma,' they said. 'We also have other ethnic groups here.' And so our idea was rejected and projects were stopped."

Read more: How the 'Germans' are changing the largest Roma enclave in Europe

Under the motto "Together," the original application aimed to focus on the Roma community and its struggle for better social integration. Overcoming conflicts through culture was the theme that ultimately convinced the jury that named Plovdiv a European Capital of Culture 2019. But while the motto remains, the attendant projects have not.

"Social insecurity in the 1990s led people to look with suspicion on some ethnic groups. They thought the 'others' would take away part of their social status. And this way of thinking exists on both sides," says Mariana Tcholakova, honorary consul of the Federal Republic of Germany who is based in Plovdiv and was another initiator of the bid.

"When we applied as a Capital of Culture we knew that Plovdiv has a lot of history, archaeology and a multicultural society, but we have decided to put aside political correctness and speak openly about the tensions between the ethnic groups," Tcholakova added. "One wants to overcome this, because the more honestly one treats the topic, the more solutions can be found."

But while this was the basis of the application, the underlying principle has not been followed through in practice.

A melting pot of cultures, religions, epochs

Dating back some 8,000 years, Plovdiv is one of the oldest cities in the world. Thracians, Romans, Slavs and other peoples enriched the city's culture, and its architecture. But while Roman amphitheatres, early Christian basilicas, Christian, Muslim and Jewish churches shape its ancient cityscape, hip cafes, artist studios and street art show off Plovdiv's dynamic cultural life today.

Artists and young entrepreneurs are flocking to the vibrant Bulgarian city that has rightly been anointed Europe's culture capital, says Mariana Tcholakova.

"I am optimistic about the coming year, and the title of European Capital of Culture gives us the opportunity to be an active member of the European cultural scene," she says. "So far, we have lacked the confidence to do so."

Political failures

In 2019, the city expects to take in two million tourists from all over the world.

Preparations are in full swing and yet many cultural institutions will probably stay closed due to ongoing construction work on the main city square. Other important cultural buildings will not be completed on time. There is also a lack of suitable halls for planned cultural events. Politicians have largely failed to prepare the city for the important year.

"The old and only major event hall in Plovdiv has been in poor shape for years and cannot be used, and a hall renovation project has been on the mayor's desk for at least three years but nothing has been done," says Manol Peykov, who lists other building sites that are close to decay.

"Kino Kosmos, with more than 900 seats the largest cinema of the Communist period in Bulgaria, is also in a miserable state," Peykov added. "Due to pressure from civil society, the mayor promised about two years ago to provide around one million lev (€510,000) for the renovation of the cinema. Today it is still in the same condition as before."

Unrealized potential

The day after announcing a public pig slaughter in Plovdiv's city center to usher in its year as European Capital of Culture, the Mayor backtracked.

He said the idea was actually part of a "social experiment" intended to initiate a debate on Bulgarian family traditions, including the slaughter of animals at Christmas. This would be an interesting segue into Plovdiv's year as European Capital of Culture, it was claimed.

But despite the pig faux pas, the real damage it seems is the missed potential.

The history and unique cultural atmosphere of Bulgaria's second largest city make it a worthy European Capital of Culture. But outmoded traditions, unfinished construction and social discrimination could undermine a rare opportunity.

The post Plovdiv: European Capital of Culture struggles to come of age appeared first on Daily News Egypt.

]]> 0
‘Lost in Time’: reviving passé fashion Wed, 02 Jan 2019 12:00:12 +0000 Capturing US Egyptologist, project aims to restore Egypt’s fashion legacy

The post ‘Lost in Time’: reviving passé fashion appeared first on Daily News Egypt.

For decades, the young professional photographer Mohsen Othman dreamed of the way his life could have turned out if he had lived in a different era. Researching into history books where Egypt was only portrayed in black and white, yet Othman’s imagery dominated and he was capable of viewing in colour the lives of decent people, grace, elegane, sophistication, and refinement. All this led Othman to travel back in time through his latest photography project, ‘Lost in Time.’

Capturing Colleen Darnell, a US Egyptologist, known for her passion of dressing in vintage clothes, styles and fashions of 1920’s to 1940’s, Mohsen published a set of pictures of the distant past of the 20th century. 

Lost in Time aims to feature Egypt in the 1920’s and 1930’s by capturing Darnell by the pyramids with her old classic hairstyle, time-worn makeup, and timeworn style dresses.

“I always thought of what it would be like if I lived in the era I always looked at in pictures. While the mainstream always aim to go back in time to the 1960’s and 1970’s, the decades before that were always the ones that grabbed my attention the most,” Othman told Daily News Egypt.

Despite not being a model, Damell shared Othman’s excitement of going back in time to get out of the 20th century.

“When I knew that Damell was coming to Egypt for work, I immediately contacted her and revealed my desire of conducting a shoot that is all about retro dresses, and old times, and not so long after I was met with her reply which was with absolute agreement,” he said.

Denoted by a model who usually dresses in vintage fashion during her everyday life, enforced Othman’s job to adapt the role to a refined, mature lady.

“Even Damell’s facial features made her look like she was from the previous century. I could not have found a better lady to represent that era,” he asserted.

At the open halls of the Mena House, Damell remained for two hours in order to bring history back to life through Othman’s camera lens. Unlike usual shoots, he said that the ‘Lost in Time’ photo session conveyed some of the most unique photographs he had ever taken throughout his professional years.

“It was like a leap of time where modern time no longer existed and I was actually in the 1920’s. I felt the old times’ authenticity atmosphere spreading its vibe” Othman reminisced.

From his point of view, Othman believes that the photo shoot is also a way of promoting Egypt in a novel way, other than the typical traditional approaches.

“Through these photographs, I wanted to tell the world this is the real Egypt. This is the Egypt where fashion once was launched from before Paris or Milan, and where women freely walked down the streets without worrying about how conservatively they were dressed,” he explained.

The post ‘Lost in Time’: reviving passé fashion appeared first on Daily News Egypt.

]]> 0
Holocaust satirist Elgar Hilsenrath dies at 92 Tue, 01 Jan 2019 11:45:00 +0000 The post Holocaust satirist Elgar Hilsenrath dies at 92 appeared first on Daily News Egypt.

The German-Jewish author fought long and hard to get his best known work published, “The Nazi and the Barber,” which was a worldwide — if controversial — bestseller. He fled Germany in 1938, but eventually returned.Elgar Hilsenrath died at 92 on Sunday in a hospital in Rhineland-Palatinate following a lung infection, his French publisher announced on Monday. Hilsenrath's wife, Marlene, confirmed the writer's death on Tuesday to the German Press Agency.

The German-Jewish author reached international fame in the 1970s with his work, The Nazi and the Barber. It presents the Holocaust as a dark comedy of mistaken identities told by a mass murderer.

Hilsenrath's manager, Ken Kubota, described the writer in an online tribute as "one of the most important, if not the most important, writers of the present."

"At 92, Hilsenrath was obviously quite old, but he had a will of iron and he enjoyed life," Kubota added. "He always knew what he wanted."

Nazi Germany to Ukraine to the US

Hilsenrath was born in 1926 in the eastern German city of Leipzig. In 1938 he and his parents fled to Romania to escape the Nazis. He was later taken to Ukraine. Using fake documents, he was able to travel through Turkey and Syria to Palestine, where he supported himself by first working on a kibbutz, a Jewish agricultural collective, and then washing dishes in Haifa.

In 1951 Hilsenrath immigrated to the US, where he began to write. His first novel, Night (1964), described the fight for survival in a Jewish ghetto in Ukraine. Initially published in English only, it was later translated into German and became a hit. Hilsenrath returned to Germany in 1975.

Read more: How German literature came into the world and where it stands today

Lots of rejection, lots of success

His most well-known work, the satirical The Nazi and the Barber was rejected by 60 German publishers, who argued that the Holocaust could not be satirized. Written in German, the novel was published in translation in the US in 1971 and in Germany only six years later to popular success and literary acclaim.

Read more: Hitler satire a controversial but unoriginal hit

Hilsenrath's other works include the novel The Story of the Last Thought (1989) and his last work, Terminus Berlin (in German, 2006).

During his lifetime, Hilsenrath received numerous literature prizes. His works have been translated into over 18 languages and have sold over 5 million copies worldwide.

Interested in learning more about German literature available in English? Check out DW's "100 German Must-Reads" project!

haz (cmb)/jj (afp, dpa, munzinger)

The post Holocaust satirist Elgar Hilsenrath dies at 92 appeared first on Daily News Egypt.

]]> 0
January traditions in Europe Tue, 01 Jan 2019 09:45:00 +0000 The post January traditions in Europe appeared first on Daily News Egypt.

From jumping into cold water to sledding down hills at breakneck speeds, here’s what Europeans are up to in January.While some people have already taken down their Christmas trees and are busy implementing their New Year's resolutions, Christmas is just getting underway for others across Europe.

In a few European countries, January also rings in a collection of chilly, adventurous and religious traditions. Click through the gallery to learn more.

The post January traditions in Europe appeared first on Daily News Egypt.

]]> 0
Meet man behind admitting ‘Al-Aragouz’ to UNESCO’s Intangible Cultural Heritage list Mon, 31 Dec 2018 18:20:49 +0000 ‘File is result of 18-year-effort in which I spent documenting this art, rescue it from vanishing’: Bahgat

The post Meet man behind admitting ‘Al-Aragouz’ to UNESCO’s Intangible Cultural Heritage list appeared first on Daily News Egypt.

For hundreds of years, Egypt’s most famous traditional puppet show ‘Al-Aragouz’ was an irreplaceable part of the Egyptian heritage. As many others, Al-Aragouz faced the threat of being buried beneath the layers of the modern western culture taking over the society. Nonetheless, Nabil Bahgat, a passionate Aragouz fan and the head of the Theatre Department at the Faculty of Art, Helwan University, gave the distinguished art a chance of revival, by fighting for it until it was admitted to the UNESCO’s Intangible Cultural Heritage List, at the end of November in Mauritius.

For 18 years, Bahgat has been fighting for the heritage to see the light and help in spreading it among people again. He established the Wamda Troupe, the only band in Egypt still performing Al-Aragouz shows at Bayt Al-Suhaymi every Friday.

Bahgat also wrote the only book chronicling the existence of Al-Aragouz in the Egyptian society. He wrote and applied Egypt’s folder to the UNESCO, which was later accepted and admitted to announce that the wooden puppet is one of Egypt’s art heritage.

Al-Aragouz is a wooden marionette puppet that is about to be revived within city life. It was first presented to Egypt during the Fatimid era. The historical books could not detect the origin of the puppet, but it was stated that it was not originally created in Egypt.

When it first came to Egypt, that type of art was only exclusive to the sultans and the elites. The art gained wide popularity in Egyptian society as it reflected the political, cultural, and economic situation of the people through the puppets which appeared in different shapes and roles.     

Throughout the years, Al-Aragouz widely spread among all social classes and became an inseparable part of Al-Moulids (Prophet’s birthday celebrations). It started fading away with the appearance of animated shows on TV.

In an interview with Daily News Egypt, Bahgat shared his lifetime journey with Al-Aragouz, the details of applying Egypt’s folder to the UNESCO, and his future plans to help spread it across the Egyptian society, the transcript for which is below, lightly edited for clarity:

What drove your passion to adopt the issue of Al-Aragouz?

When I was a little child, I was walking down a street to see an old man performing this art for free for the children in this area, without even charging any money for it. From that moment onwards, this moving puppet captured my heart, and the values it taught me are still carved in my heart. This old man showed me a lesson that I believe in till now: art is a matter of granting people values for free.

When I grew older and studied theatre, I saw that our society began looking for theatrical arts in Europe, forgetting that we had this form of art, hundreds of years ago before they even did, without referring to this form as being ‘theatrical’. That is when I decided to adopt the issue to revive the forgotten art.

What is unique about Al-Aragouz which makes it different from any other art heritage?

The cost of creating Al-Aragouz is very cheap. It only takes to make the puppet, create the small theatrical box, and a well-trained artist performing it. It is considerably less costly than any other art heritage. Plus, it depicts all three major life aspects, namely, religion, politics, and society. 

Al-Aragouz plays are not only for children as they convey concepts that can be understood by both adults and children, each on a different level. Moreover, the core of these plays is always to transmit values and ethics.

Why did you start the Wamda Troupe?

When I grew up, I kept on looking for people performing Al-Aragouz, but I was always met with failure. I roamed the country’s Mouleds, keeping in mind that that they are the hub of traditional cultural arts, yet I could not find any. I later deeply searched for the art, but I barely found any authentic books chronicling it. That is when I thought I should start a troupe performing Al-Aragouz.

I searched until I found two remaining Aragouz players in the whole country who were delighted to form the troupe with me, along with four other members. Until now, we are the only troupe performing that show every Friday at Bayt Al-Suhaymi.

How much is the turnout from the Al-Aragouz shows which you hold every week?

The theatre gets filled every week with people coming from all across Cairo wanting to see the show. This is the main indicator telling us that with greater attention to it, this kind of art has a high potential of revival to spread it across the country. 

From what we have seen so far, people still need Al-Aragouz in their lives to teach them and their children new values and ethics, while manifesting their lives on the theatre.

Can you elaborate on the Al-Aragouz folder which you filed to the UNESCO earlier this year?

I believed I was responsible for keeping Al-Aragouz and documenting it in history, as well as to save the art from extinction. That is why I prepared the folder in which I wrote about the art’s history, explained the Wamda Troupe and their attempts at reviving that heritage, and the increasing attraction it could receive with invested efforts aiming to revive it. The folder also included the future plans of keeping Al-Aragouz in the culture, through the establishment of a school with the purpose of teaching young people that specific art. When the committee looked into the folder, they stated that it is a heritage worth listing.


Now that it is stated at the Intangible Cultural Heritage list, what is the future of that school?

Part of listing Al-Aragouz in the committee means funding a school that will be responsible for teaching young people the aptitudes of that art, the ways of making the puppet, and the voice techniques required to present the different characters in the show, each with a different sound.

We are currently establishing a committee to discuss the professors who will be at the school and the exact launching date.

We have come to agree that the school’s programme will last for six months, as we believe it is enough time to teach students the basic required skills to perform that art.

Why did it take so long to admit Al-Aragouz into the list?

In Egypt, the files to be admitted to the UNESCO are prepared through individual efforts, not through public or private organisations. I had to personally fund the preparation of the folder, and apply it to UNESCO, as well as follow-up on the process through the Egyptian Society for Folk Traditions, which is an NGO responsible for documenting and reviving the distinguished heritage.

This folder is the outcome of an 18-year-effort which I spent documenting this art in order to rescue it from vanishing. It contains all the details of that art, starting from its past, with plans to adjust its future.   

After all of these efforts, how do you currently feel after it has been admitted to the UNESCO’s list?

I’m thrilled, excited, and happy that my endeavours were not wasted. I exerted significant effort into reviving that art and seeing it internationality recognised now, is a dream come true.

Did you receive any support from the ministry of culture?

I cannot deny that I had some support. The ministry granted us Bayt Al-Suhaymi as a place to perform our shows weekly, and it also pays for the troupe’s salary. However, I did not have any other form of support when I applied for the folder or financed its preparations. Even when the show was admitted to the list, the ministry did not mention any of my efforts, which was disappointing,

What are your future plans regarding Al-Aragouz?

I have spent my lifetime concentrating on Al-Aragouz. I did not get married or have any kids, and the only future I am thinking of now is that of Al-Aragouz’s. The troupe is currently working on renovating and modernising the plays of Al-Aragouz in order to give it a sense that will match the current generation’s, the modern lifestyle, and the current social and political struggles. Now that the old plays are documented, we are working on adjusting them to come up with an updated version to attract more people, and work on spreading the art among the society once again. 

The post Meet man behind admitting ‘Al-Aragouz’ to UNESCO’s Intangible Cultural Heritage list appeared first on Daily News Egypt.

]]> 0
Sawiris Cultural Award to announce shortlist on 25 January Mon, 31 Dec 2018 16:25:56 +0000 Prize launched in 2005 to recognise, encourage excellence in literary works of Egyptian emerging, established writers

The post Sawiris Cultural Award to announce shortlist on 25 January appeared first on Daily News Egypt.

The Sawiris Foundation for Social Development (SFSD) declared that the Sawiris Cultural Award winners will be announced during its annual ceremony which will take place on 25 January 2019, at the Cairo Opera House.

On that note, the Sawiris Cultural Awards’ board of trustees revealed that all of the 14th  edition submissions are in the final process of evaluation by six independent committees, consisting of famous Egyptian writers and literary experts. 

Following the final assessment phase, the shortlisted candidates in the categories of novels, short stories, and screenplays for young writers will be announced on 5 January 2019.

Noteworthy, the Sawiris Cultural Award declared the call for applications for its 14th edition  from 15 July to 26 August 2018, where 615 literary works were submitted in the various categories of the competition, including 171 novels and short stories for established writers; 179 novels and short stories for young writers; 153 screenplays-107 of which were film scripts for young writers and 46 for established writers-82 theatre scripts, and 30 entries of literary criticism. 

The Sawiris Cultural Award was launched in 2005 to recognise and encourage excellence in literary works of Egyptian emerging and established writers in the categories of novels; short stories; screenplays; playwriting and literature critique.

The post Sawiris Cultural Award to announce shortlist on 25 January appeared first on Daily News Egypt.

]]> 0
Dinner for One: Germany's cult British classic to air on UK TV for first time Mon, 31 Dec 2018 10:47:00 +0000 The post Dinner for One: Germany's cult British classic to air on UK TV for first time appeared first on Daily News Egypt.

The sketch with British stars started out in English music halls. Its filmed version holds the Guinness World Record for the most repeated TV program. But the classic has never aired on British television — until now.It's a sketch that's totally unknown in the English-speaking world, despite its origins in British music halls.

In Germany, as well as in different European countries, it has cult status. In a bid to make casual conversation, a German might ask "Same procedure as last year?" referring to the film's most famous line. But English-speaking visitors to Germany will be simply confused by continual references to this obscure sketch.

The "most British" German film had never been shown in a British cinema until November, when it got its UK premiere at a comedy film festival in Campbeltown, Scotland, as part of the Scottish Comedy Film Festival's Slapstick Weekend.

Now, it will premiere on UK TV on December 31 at 6:10 p.m., on the Sky Arts channel.

A peculiar tradition

Millions of Germans take part in this New Year's Eve ritual: watching a black-and-white English-language television sketch called Dinner for One, or the 90th Birthday that was recorded in 1963. Every year it is screened, usually several times, by most of Germany's regional public TV channels. Despite being in English, it is broadcast without subtitles.

The 18-minute slapstick sketch, acted by Freddie Frinton and May Warden, has become the highest-rated TV show in German history, and holds the Guinness World Record for the most repeated television program ever.

The skit has been parodied hundreds of times, whether as a reenactment using Lego bricks, a Norwegian punk version or a German-Turkish one, called Döner for One.

A 2011 version called Euros for No One features a digital version of German chancellor Angela Merkel and then French president Nicolas Sarkozy, about the Eurozone debt crisis.

In 2016, Netflix released its own parody to promote its shows; the absent guests of the elderly woman who is celebrating her 90th birthday in the skit are Frank Underwood (House of Cards), Pablo Escobar (Narcos), Saul Goodman (Better Call Saul) and Crazy Eyes (Orange Is The New Black).

Anyone who didn't grow up with the tradition might find it difficult to understand why this particular sketch became so popular. Its slapstick style is meanwhile outdated and the whole structure is, by today's standards, simple and repetitive. But nostalgia is, by definition, wanting to repeat and return to something that's outdated, in an idealized, simplified version — which makes the sketch a perfect candidate for a reassuring end-of-year ritual.

Ahead of the UK cinema premiere, the son of comedian Fred Frinton offered his explanation for the German tradition: "I think they see it as quintessentially English," Mike Frinton told the Scottish newspaper The Herald. "Here's this old lady hanging on to her colonial friends, and it's almost become like the Queen's speech. Just as you can't get on with Christmas Day without watching that [in the UK], in Germany you can't get on with New Year's Eve without seeing Dinner for One."

Read more: 10 German traditions on New Year's Eve

Same procedure…

Written by author Lauri Wylie in the 1920s, the Dinner for One sketch was originally performed in British music halls. Actor Freddie Frinton began to play James in 1954, and shortly thereafter May Warden took over the role of Miss Sophie, previously portrayed by her daughter Audrey.

In the early 1960s, German television producer Peter Frankenfeld and director Heinz Dunkhase saw Dinner for One in Blackpool and invited Frinton and Warden to fly back to Hamburg to record the sketch, using the relatively new technology of videotape, for a one-time broadcast in 1963.

Studio employees and in-house secretaries served as the live audience for the sketch about a butler who gets riotously drunk while serving food and drinks to his employer and her imaginary guests on her 90th birthday.

The running joke is that Sophie sits alone at the table because she has outlived all her male guests, who were her former lovers; the last was buried 25 years earlier. Butler James assumes the role of each "guest" to toast Miss Sophie with champagne, wine, port and so on throughout the meal. Before each toast, he asks plaintively: "Same procedure as last year, Miss Sophie?" to which she replies, "The same procedure as every year, James."

That line, "Same procedure as every year," (in the original English) has become a popular catchphrase in Germany.

It is repeated one final time after dinner as butler James escorts Miss Sophie upstairs to bed, with Frinton leering knowingly at the audience and affirming, "I'll do my very best!"

An accidental New Year's tradition

In its first decade, the sketch was replayed only sporadically on German television. It was used as a New Year's Eve filler on the public television station NDR in Hamburg in 1972 and then quickly became a regular part of German New Year's Eve celebrations. The plot of the sketch has nothing to do with New Year's Eve.

Over the years, it became a cult classic in Germany — to the extent that it is shown on dozens of regional channels at some point over New Year and NDR shows it six or seven times during New Year's Eve, including a colorized version.

NDR recorded several different versions of the sketch, but the best-known is the 18-minute version, shot in a single take, with an introduction, or explanation, in German by announcer Heinz Piper. Swiss television invited Frinton and Warden to record its own, shorter, version of the sketch, which has also been broadcast for years on New Year's Eve.

The popularity of Dinner for One has also spread to other countries, particularly Scandinavia, where it has also become an end-of-year tradition. It was even shown on East German television, beginning in 1988.

A silly moment of merriment

Frinton was a master at playing comic drunks and had a huge following on British television in the 1950s. His career was in a lull when he taped the German version of his popular sketch. He died of a heart attack at 59 in 1968, before the many reruns of the sketch made him a household name in Germany.

Warden died 10 years later, three years before what would have been her own 90th birthday.

The post Dinner for One: Germany's cult British classic to air on UK TV for first time appeared first on Daily News Egypt.

]]> 0
‘Teatro’ revives Egyptians’ most beloved superstars Sun, 30 Dec 2018 12:00:51 +0000 I wanted people to smile once their eyes rested on statues, which would not have happened unless they blindly loved displayed characters: artist

The post ‘Teatro’ revives Egyptians’ most beloved superstars appeared first on Daily News Egypt.

Mai Abdullah is a young artist who always had passion towards Egypt’s iconic stars never which she never defied to bring to light until it found its way to the public through some of her most unique sculptures being displayed at her first solo exhibition called ‘Teatro.’

Taking place at Zamalek’s Gallery Misr, the exhibition showcases 22 statues of Egypt’s most beloved superstars, each posing in his most familiar of standing. A few steps betweent Omar Al-Sherif, Um Kolthoum and Abdel Halim Hafez are sufficient revive the spirits back to life in the middle of the audience, who all agreed that the statues rejuvenated them. The exhibition’s opening witnessed the attendance of the Minister of Social Solidarity Ghada Wali who expressed her support and enthusiasm towards Abdullah’s work.

The display follow the journey of Abdullah’s graduation project, which was wood sculptures of eight famous stars.

“I felt that there were practically stars inside of me that I want to bring to light and sculpt. Despite the risks of repeating myself and presenting the same exhibit which all artists are aware of, I believed that I could go forth on without using mud to shape these figures and allow the world to see them the way I do,” Abdullah told Daily News Egypt.

The 22 sculptures are fashioned from polyester resin, which is a material that is stronger than typical mud, and it assists in sharply presenting the features, according to Abdullah.

From her point of view, she chose to display the character based on the connection Egyptians have with them.

“I decided that I want to sculpt the artists which Egyptians love the most. Charisma was on the top of my list. Stars who are charismatic enough to have forged a strong love relationship with their audiences naturally found their way to my head when I was choosing,” Abdullah mentioned.

The sculptures vary from deceased stars to others who are still alive. However, they are all considered the closest to Egyptians’ hearts.

“I wanted people to smile once their eyes rested on the statues, and that would not have happened unless they blindly loved the displayed characters,” she added.

Some of the statues showed megastars in their most famous roles, such as Mary Monuib who was known for her roles as a spinster looking to seduce any man into marrying her in a comic way. The sculpture presented Mounib with her well-known look and smile, which she is known for having while trying to set a man up into marrying her.

For over a year and a half, Abdullah spent her whole time—to the extent of sacrificing her job as a teacher’s assistant at Minya University, and all other social activities— in order to dig deeper into the details of each character so as to present them as they currently are, unmistakable and unequivocally close to real version of themselves.

“I made a list of the artists I wanted to shape. Before starting each piece, I studied the character in-depth in order to decide what side of this star I will be highlighting. I found some of them were quite easy to be featured as caricature statues while others were the comple opposite,” she confessed.

As she kept going, she explained that artists who are known to people as comedians were the easiest to work on like Mary Mounib and Alaa’ Wally El-Din, “whom one could not help but smile when seeing their pictures, so featuring them as caricatures was not difficult.”

On the other hand, Characters like Adel Adham, known for portraying nothing but evil roles and questionable characters, was one of the hardest characters to shape.

“People know him as the wicked and evil man, so thinking of a way to bring him to them in a funny, light way through which he can be seen in another perspective was the hardest part of the whole process,” Abdullah explained.

As the majority of art producers, Abdullah developed a connection with each sculpture she spent time creating, despite the change to time spent on each of them.

“Some of them were so easy when it came to apply the vision I have in my mind on mud, that they took only two days, such as the sculpture of Fairoz. On the other hand, others were much harder to bring the soul of the character to life through mud, extending the work period up to a month sometimes, such as Adel Adham,” she asserted.

Based in Minya, Abdullah faced many challenges to make her exhibition take place.

“Despite the large artistic scene in Minya, it is not as big or as major as Cairo. So, I brought the exhibition to Cairo. The centre made more sense as it is the only way to attract more people from all the governorates, which would not have occured if I made in in Minya,” Abdullah explained.

During the past months, with the help of Gallery Misr, Abdullah has been transporting the statues in shipments from Minya to Cairo in order to safely bring them over.

Nonetheless, all the struggles and challenges are all currently forgotten with the huge success the exhibition witnessed. Teatro was met by a substantial gesture of support, penchant and affection by both critics and the public.

Social media showered Abdullah with favouritism by people praising her ability of reviving their most favourite characters in a delightful exhibition which runs until 14 January.

The post ‘Teatro’ revives Egyptians’ most beloved superstars appeared first on Daily News Egypt.

]]> 0