Thursday,20 June, 2019
Current issue | Issue 1338, (30 March - 5 April 2017)
Thursday,20 June, 2019
Issue 1338, (30 March - 5 April 2017)

Ahram Weekly

The walls have eyes

The walls have eyes
The Indian ambassador with Abla and the Lycée Al-Horreya School children

AS PART of the 2017 India by the Nile Festival 2017, a celebration of Indian music, dance, theatre, visual art, food and wellbeing, the Embassy of India in Egypt, in collaboration with Teamwork Arts, organised Living Walls – Street Art. Offering experts and amateurs a space in which to express and share their thoughts through the medium of street art, the event saw the renowned Egyptian painter Mohamed Abla teaming up with noted Indian artist Yogesh Saini to paint a wall in Cairo, in association with local bodies including the Ministry of Education, the Ministry of Culture and the General Association of National Institutes.

The two artists were joined by those Egyptian school students who had won last year’s “Glimpses of India”, an annual painting competition organised every year by the Embassy of India in Cairo. Living Walls – Street Art took place over three days (21-23 March) at the Zamalek branch of Lycée Al Horreya School. The painting sessions with the participation of the students and the two artists took place from 9 am-12 pm and the inauguration ceremony took place on 23 March at 11.30 am. It offered a learning platform for the young participants to unleash their talents. The artists and the participants will work together to create a celebration of Indian and Egyptian culture through art.

Abla is well- known for his paintings of abstract scenery in Egypt. He graduated from the Faculty of Fine Arts, Alexandria in 1978, and held his first exhibition in the same year. He has participated in numerous exhibitions including the Kuwait Biennale and the Havana Biennale, Cuba. He is the recipient of several prestigious prizes in Egypt and abroad. In 2007, he founded the Fayoum Art Centre, a space for artists to meet, work and collaborate. In 2009, he established the first caricature museum in the Middle East. In 2009, the League of Arab States selected him to organize an exhibition in New Delhi. In 2010, he went to India for a second time on the invitation of India’s premier arts institution. In June 2009, MACIC organised an exhibition of his paintings on its premises.   

Yogesh Saini is an engineer and an MBA-graduate with a strong creative streak and interest in the public domain. After a career including corporate leadership stints in the US, Hong Kong and Taiwan as well as founding technology start-ups in the Silicon Valley, Saini has found a niche that allows him to merge his business skills with artistic expression. As an artist and an art designer, Saini has been involved with the conceptualisation and creation of hundreds of original art works through his organisation: Delhi Street Art. One of Saini’s first art initiatives was to convert all 150 garbage bins of Lodi Gardens into public canvases on which amateur and professional artists could experiment with their creativity. Right in the heart of Khan Market, Delhi Street Art partnered with Abla to complete the artistic restoration of a run-down wall and, in the process, also created a tribute to the Paris terror attack victims.

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