Al-Ahram Weekly Online   15 - 21 January 2009
Issue No. 930
Published in Cairo by AL-AHRAM established in 1875

Pack of cards

Remains of the day

The historical area of Fustat, home to ancient mosques and archaeological treasures, witnessed the inauguration of Darb 1718, Cairo's newest cultural centre. This new initiative is the brainchild of Moataz Nasr, a contemporary artist and winner of the Dak'Art prize in 2002 for video installation. The centre aims at supporting and promoting the contemporary art scene in Egypt, as well as "providing local artists with opportunities for international exposure and cross-cultural exchanges," Nasr said. "Crossing My Sweets" is the exhibition currently being held at the centre through 31 January. Al-Ahram Weekly 's Amira El-Naqeeb was among the guests at the opening, where she captured this shot. Curated by Ibrahim Alaoui, art historian and former director of the Museum of the Arab World Institute, the exhibition collects diverse styles of contemporary Arab art. It features the work of 12 artists from around the Arab world, including Lebanon, Morocco, Egypt, Tunisia, Algeria, Bahrain and Iraq. ( see Listings p.4 )

photo: Ahmed Shehata

On the occasion of the visit of African Union Commission Chairperson Gean Ping to Egypt and the nomination of Culture Minister Farouk Hosni to the post of UNESCO secretary- general, the latter held a lavish reception in honour of Ping at Mohamed Ali Palace in Manial, Cairo. Hosni talked about the tremendous African contributions to enriching the world in various fields such as sciences, arts and literature, emphasising the role that Africa should play globally. Ping, meanwhile, focussed on the role played by the African Union in easing the struggles in Africa, including in Somalia, Darfur and Congo. The event was attended by a host of African ambassadors to Egypt, Assistant Foreign Minister for African Affairs Mona Omar and Ambassador Sabri Magdi, head of the African Organisations Department. Hosni seized the opportunity and awarded Ping a tome on Islamic architecture.

Naila Hamdy, chair and assistant professor of the Journalism and Mass Communications Department at the American University in Cairo (AUC), was inaugurated president of the Arab-American Association of Communication Educators (AUSACE) during the association's 13th annual conference, held in Richmond, US. Hamdy is the first Arab woman to hold the post. Established in 1995, AUSACE's primary mission is to develop professional relationships and educational exchanges among Arab and American university faculties, media professionals, and students. "AUSACE is important because it fosters good relationships between US and Western media scholars and their Arab counterparts leading to collaborative research and exchange of ideas and knowledge," explained Hamdy, an AUSACE member for over 10 years.

Compiled and edited by Krishna Kripalani, a new book on the life and message of Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi (1869-1948) titled Gandhi 2: Confessions, Meditations, Visions was translated into Arabic by professor Heba Mahmoud Aref. The book is published by New Sotour Publishing House.

photos: Abdel-Hamid Eid

Pop singer Ali El-Haggar is back again with his new hit album Hawa wa Adam (Eve and Adam). A press conference was held at Al-Sawy Cultural Wheel to mark the release of his new album, and it was attended by a galaxy of celebrities arriving to congratulate El-Haggar. Among the attendees were actors Ahmed Rizq and Ahmed Abdel-Aziz as well as music composer Ammar El-Sherei, singer Hamada Hilal as well as El-Haggar 's family.

A seminar was held at the Cairo Capital Club, hosted by the Garden City Lions Club (GCLC), presided over by Awatef Serageddin. Among the keynote speakers at the seminar were psychiatrist Ahmed El-Aqabawi, who talked about various methods to combat stress and best avoid exhaustion and physical pain. Veteran actress Laila Taher, as well as GCLC members Bahiya Youssef, Safinaz Zeineddin, Aisha Abdel-Rahman and Samiha Hamed, were all present.

The Press Syndicate hosted a memorable celebration to commemorate the 19th anniversary since the death of timeless novelist and writer Ihsan Abdel-Quddous. A plethora of media figures attended including Mufid Fawzi, Amal Fahmi, poet Ahmed Abdel-Moeti Hegazi, Al-Ahram Weekly 's very own caricaturist George Bahgory and Nermine El-Quwesti from Al-Ahram. Abdel-Quddous 's two sons Mohamed and Ahmed distributed the prizes to the winners of the Ihsan Abdel-Quddous Short Story Contest.

photos: Ayman Barayez

Under the auspices of the Ministry of Culture, the Zamalek-based Egyptian Centre for International Cultural Cooperation (ECICC) hosted an evening titled "China Today". The evening featured a cultural seminar discussing the development of the Chinese-Egyptian relations, as well as a photography exhibition showcasing China's remarkable monuments. A number of high-profile figures attended the evening, including First Under-Secretary for Foreign Relations at the Culture Ministry Faisal Abdel-Kader, Chinese Ambassador to Egypt Wu Chunhua as well as ECICC Director Sayed Abdel-Qawi.

In solidarity with Gaza, veteran plastic artist Adli Rezqallah created two paintings titled "Stop Killing Our Children" and "The Flower of the Martyr". They are dedicated to Palestinian martyrs. Celebrating his 70th birthday, Picasso Gallery in Zamalek is currently hosting an exhibition by the artist. The two works in question are on show, as well as 62 paintings illustrating his various stages of creativity from 1980 to 2008. ( see Listings p.4 )

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