In the year following Egypt’s “January 25th revolution,” as the country seeks to find its way into the future, the 4th annual CARAVAN Festival of the Arts (2012) with the theme “The Road Ahead” will open in Maadi/Cairo on April 26, 2012. While recognizing it will be a long and at times difficult road for Egypt, the CARAVAN Festival of the Arts focuses on ending sectarian strife and encourages the establishment of a society that inherently respects and honors religious diversity, living and working together in harmony.
The goal of the festival is to build bridges between creeds (Islam and Christianity) and cultures (East and West) through the visual arts, literature, film and music. This strategic inter-religious arts initiative over the last three years has generated significant attention from the international media and art world.
The 2012 CARAVAN Festival of the Arts, with the theme of “The Road Ahead” seeks to build on the new spirit of interfaith solidarity that was so beautifully illustrated, witnessed by the world, during the “January 25 revolution” in 2011.
Hosted at the historic St. John’s Church in Maadi/Cairo, the CARAVAN arts initiative comes out of a vision that the Arts can be one of the most effective mediums to enhance understanding and encourage friendship between Muslims and Christians, for as the late Nobel Prize Egyptian novelist Naguib Mahfouz wrote, “Art is language of the entire human personality."
To be officially opened on Thursday April 26, 2012 at 7:00 PM by the celebrated Egyptian actress Yousra, 45 premier Middle Eastern and Western visual artists will come together for a selling exhibition which will be held inside the historic St. John’s Church, with each submitting one piece of work that reflects the theme, “The Road Ahead”. The visual art exhibition, curated by participating British artist Roland Prime, includes a diverse range of noted Arab contemporary artists such as Reda Abdel Rahman and Mohamed Abla, to expatriate artists such as the well-known Norwegian artist Britt Boutros Ghali and renowned American sculptor Erik Blome.
Special participating guests to this year’s CARAVAN Festival of the Arts are Ahdaf Soueif, the Anglo-Egyptian Booker Prize shortlist author in international acclaimed novels Map of Love and In the Eye of the Sun, Khalid Abdalla, British-Egyptian film actor (star of The Kite Runner and Green Zone), and the Ana Masry Band (meaning “I am Egyptian” in Arabic): a musical group that has become very popular since the revolution known for their fusion of Arabic, Muslim, Sufi and Christian music.
“It could not be timelier,” says Rev. Canon Paul-Gordon Chandler, author and the American Rector/Minister of St. John’s Church, and Founder of the Caravan Festival of the Arts, “to be involved in this interfaith aspect of peace-building in this country, toward promoting a sectarian-free Egypt”.
In looking toward this upcoming festival, Roland Prime, curator of the CARAVAN Festival’s visual arts exhibition, says, “Our desire through this fourth exhibition is to address the importance of religious harmony and unity for Egypt’s future.”
All attendance is free of charge, but 20% of all art sales go to Middle Eastern charities assisting the poor.
WEEKLY PROGRAM of the CARAVAN Festival of the Arts:
Thursday April 26 at 7:00 PM: Opening presentations by Yousra, celebrated Egyptian actress, and Muslim and Christian dignitaries, with a special performance by singer Rula Zaki. All 45 participating premier visual artists will be present.
Wednesday May 2 at 7:00 PM: Literature Night with Ahdaf Soueif, Anglo-Egyptian Booker Prize shortlist author. Her talk will be about her new book: Cairo: My City, Our Revolution.
DATE TBA: Film Night featuring a talk by and interview with British-Egyptian film actor Khalid Abdalla.
Saturday May 5 at 7:00 PM: Music Night with closing concert by the Ana Masry Band.
The participating visual artists include Egyptians Mohamed Abla, Mansour Ahmed, Maher Ali, Bishop Mouneer H Anis, Farid Adel, Farres Ahmed Farres, Omar El Fayoumi, Rania El Hakim, Carelle Homsy, Isolde Kadry, Ahmed Magdy, Naguib Mahmoud, Galila Nawar, Reda Abdel Rahman, Ahmed Selim, Mohamed Youssef, Hisham El Zeiny, and Khalil El Hakim (Lebanon), Mutaz Eleman (North Sudan), Hakim Jamain (Jordan), Wilson Abrama Adiuru Ntana (South Sudan), Soha Sabbagh (Lebanon), Asmaa Takieddine (Syria), Erik Blome (USA), Anne du Boistesselin (France), Maaike Draper-Albers (The Netherlands), Renata Dyk (Poland), Brian Flynn (U.K.), Britt Boutros Ghali (Norway), Dorian Haqmoun (Switzerland), Damon Kaworsky (Australia), Julie Klimentos (U.K.), Renee van Lille-Demetroudes (South Africa), Cosima Lukashevich (USA), Julia Morgan (USA), Sonja Moser (Austria), Kimberly Odekirk (USA), Julie Oxenforth (U.K.), Francois Perez (France), Roland Prime (U.K.), Carolyn Seaton (USA), Cecilia Smith (USA), Marian Villadsen (Denmark), Katrina Vrebalovich (USA), Lucy Westwood (U.K.)
The CARAVAN Festival of the Arts will be held at St. John’s Church in Maadi, corner of Port Said Rd & Rd 17.
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