Tuesday,12 December, 2017
Current issue | Issue 1161, (22 - 28 August 2013)
Tuesday,12 December, 2017
Issue 1161, (22 - 28 August 2013)

Ahram Weekly

Nahdet Masr is back

Last Monday, renovation work on the Nahdet Masr statue, the late Mahmoud Mokhtar’s masterpiece, began. Located in the square facing Cairo University, which is named after it, the statue sustained some damage during the Muslim Brotherhood sit-in that occupied the square for 40 days. Sherif Sonbol captured the start of its restoration. The tale of this statue goes back to 9 January 1927, when the square outside Cairo’s main railway station was filled with soldiers to control the crowds gathered in anticipation of the arrival of prime minister Saad Zaghloul Pasha. Mokhtar was then polishing his work, “The Renaissance of Egypt”, to be installed in Midan Al-Mahatta, later Midan Ramses. During the event, Mokhtar, in overalls and a paper hat, escorted Zaghloul — his patron — to the statue and began to explain the nature of the work. Zaghloul was impressed by the fine workmanship, the sense of balance and the impressive scale. Mokhtar wanted to create a statue that combined all the dreams and cultures of Egypt, blending the glories of the past with future aspirations. This is how the idea of Nahdet Masr was born. On 20 May 1928, Nahdet Masr was unveiled in Midan Al-Mahatta in a ceremony attended by king Fouad, prime minister Mustafa Al-Nahhas Pasha, and the famous poet Ahmed Shawki, who recited a poem about the rebirth of Egyptian art. Zaghloul, who had patronised the project, had died 10 months before the unveiling in 1928. The statue was relocated to its current venue near Cairo University in 1955.

 

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