Wednesday,19 September, 2018
Current issue | Issue 1180, (16-22 January 2014)
Wednesday,19 September, 2018
Issue 1180, (16-22 January 2014)

Ahram Weekly

Of place and time

Nevine El-Aref sums up some of official culture’s most important developments

Al-Ahram Weekly

 Minister of Culture Saber Arab officially inaugurated the Port Said Cultural Palace after its development with a budget of LE36 millions. The palace is 5,500 square metres and includes exhibition halls, a theatre with a capacity of 1,200 seats and an open-air cinema with 250 seats. It also has music halls and a library for children. Arab said that the first event to be hosted by the palace will be an art exhibition displaying 60 paintings by Port Said artists and a book fair.
The Al-Gezirah (Mahmoud Khalil) Museum overlooking the Giza Corniche is set to open after 15 years of restoration. The museum was closed for restoration and development in 1998 in order to provide more space to display the artworks and better facilities to its visitors, but work had frequently stalled or stopped. The development includes the installation of new security and lighting systems as well as greater storage space. It also incorporates conference halls, two cinemas, a cafeteria and a bookshop. Now the Ministry of Culture is carrying out the third and fourth phase of the restoration which include landscaping of the outdoor exhibition.
The Al-Gezirah Museum was originally the residential house of well-known 20th-century collector, Mohamed Mahmoud Khalil Pasha. It was opened in 1962 and dedicated to the memory of Khalil and his wife Emiline Lock. In 1971 the government seized the palace and President Anwar Al-Sadat used it as his executive office. In 1993, it became a museum again. It displays a large Impressionist collection by renowned artists such as Paul Gauguin, Claude Monet, Auguste Renoir, Auguste Rodin and Vincent van Gogh, mainly collected before 1928.
In an attempt to pay homage to the well-known Egyptian vernacular poet Ahmed Fouad Negm, also known as Al-Fagommi, the Cairo Opera House held a concert featuring singer Ali Al-Haggar, the Mohamed Hassan music group and the Eskenderella band, who all performed songs written by Negm.
The Ministry of Culture is set to restore the Mansoura Theatre which was destroyed during the terrorist explosion at the Daqahliya Security Directorate last month, the building partly collapsing as a result of the blow-up, its windows and parts of its wood stage broken down.
Minister Arab feels this destruction is a great loss since the 111-year-old theatre is the oldest ever in the Middle East; it was a section of the large palace of Amina Hanem, Khedive Tawfik’s wife, built in 1868 and revamped in 1902 by an Italian architect. The theatre, Arab explained, witnessed great concerts and performances for, among other events, the opening of the Suez Canal. The likes of singing diva Umm Kolthoum as well as acting pioneers Naguib Al-Rihani, Ali Al-Kassar and Youssef Wahbi all performed on its stage.
The General Egyptian Book Organisation has released a new book by the late writer Tharwat Okasha entitled Hellenic Art: an encyclopaedic account of the Greek influence on the Egyptian arts be they writing, carving, painting or philosophy. In the book Okasha introduces his own point of view and his vision for the influence of the Hellenic arts on Egyptian art as he saw it in museums, exhibitions, temples, tombs, mosques and churches.

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