3 - 9 February 2000
Issue No. 467
|Published in Cairo by AL-AHRAM established in 1875|
Pack of CardsBy Madame Sosostris
* You wouldn't believe how flighty I can be, dears: in fact, sometimes I don't believe it myself. Two weeks ago, when I saw our most famous actor, Adel Imam, being appointed good-will ambassador for the United Nations High Commisssioner for Refugees (UNHCR), I was so busy cheering him on that I got all the letters of the alphabet mixed up and apparently, believing that I was accurately relating the event, I inadvertently told you that he had been appointed good-will ambassador for UNRWA (the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees) -- which of course is not at all the same thing. So take note, fans: Adel Imam has been appointed good-will ambassador for the UNHCR, and not for UNRWA. I hope that neither you, my poppets, nor our favourite comedian, nor especially these highly respectable UN organisations will hold this qui pro quo against me -- or, worse, start whispering that I had something stronger than weak tea before attending the press conference that day.
Egypt Region International Economy Opinion Culture Features Special Profile Travel Living Sports People Time Out Chronicles Cartoons Letters * Not that a tiny little drop of something would have gone amiss in this bitter cold weather. I could not remember ever having been so cold and, just as I was ready to curl up near the heater, I was reminded that if I wanted to find hidden treasures at the Book Fair, now was the time. After some deep rumination, I realised that I had better take myself there at once if I wanted to have the whole place to myself. I therefore courageously rose to the challenge and donned a special coat I had been keeping in case I had to travel to the North Pole in a hurry, then braved the elements in search of precious tomes that may have eluded me thus far. I was rather surprised and more than a little miffed to discover that literally thousands of people had had the same idea. Looking for bargains under the rain at the Book Fair; wasn't it an icy cold day?
* Still shivering from my foray into the great icy outdoors, my little heart was warmed by news of the resounding success of my dear friend artist Nazli Madkour's exhibition, which opened on 24 January in Manama. The event was held under the patronage of the Ministry of Cabinet Affairs and Information of Bahrain, and attended by Ali Abdallah Khalifa, responsible for plastic arts, at Mrs Samia Yatim's gallery, Al-Dukkan. Apparently everybody who is anybody in Manama was there, including no less than nine ambassadors to Bahrain. A couple of days later, dear Nazli gave a talk accompanied by a slide show on "Women and Art in Egypt." Needless to say, she spoke to a full house. For those of you who might be planning a vacation in Bahrain right now (think about it, the weather may be kinder there), the exhibition will be open until mid-February.
* While Manama is showing works by a gifted Egyptian artist, we are also having our own exhibitions, and the one I attended recently at the Shadicor Gallery, "Visions of the year 2000" was quite interesting. Hosted by Adel Thabet, it featured painter Youssef Raafat as the guest of honour as well as an impressive group of artists among whom I noticed Tad, Hafez El-Ra'i, Jihan Raouf, Taha Qorani, Adel Thabet himself, Fathi El-Khatib, Magda El-Sharqawi and Mustafa Bekir: a fine gathering of talents that you will enjoy admiring as much as I did, I am sure.
* If an airplane trip is out of the question, of course, you could always travel to "The Other Side of Time", the intriguingly titled exhibition by Mervat Rifaat being held at Salama Gallery in Mohandessin. I will be there, of course -- always a fan of H G Wells, I see this as my chance to do some time travelling of my own.
* Well darlings, I kept the good news for last so that I can leave you with more to look forward to: artist Hugh Sowden has just finished furbishing the interior of the new All Saints Cathedral in Zamalek. Hugh first becameinvolved in this mammoth project in 1984 and has been working on what he terms his "frescurals" for years. "I do realise it has taken rather a long time," he says, but the loving attention paid to his every endeavour, not to mention the spiritual, if not necessarily religious, inspiration behind each tiny detail, makes the end result a marvel to behold. My poppets, as soon as you lay your eyes on the fabulous interior you will be paralysed with wonder, but don't stand with gaping at any one detail for long, for Hugh has many another surprise for you: the central corona, the figure of Christ, the frescoes gracing the south, west and north galleries are all as astounding as they are functional. Don't wait too long, treat yourselves to this artistic spectacle and you may well bump into yours truly, for I do intend to go back more than once.