Diarna exhibition reflects diverse Egyptian heritage 

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More than 540 exhibitors from 27 governorates are exhibiting their products in the 64th edition of Diarna. (AN Photo)
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The exhibition featuring art workshops and storytelling has proved popular with children. (AN Photo)
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More than 540 exhibitors from 27 governorates are exhibiting their products in the 64th edition of Diarna. (AN Photo)
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Updated 14 January 2020

Diarna exhibition reflects diverse Egyptian heritage 

  • Exhibition brings under one roof handicrafts, Nubian and Sinai sculptures, Siwa Oasis dates, and embedded leather from Shalateen
  • The exhibition has been a hit with visitors, generating more than $250,000 in profit since it opened in December

CAIRO: The Diarna exhibition in Nasr City, Cairo, reflects diverse Egyptian heritage while also bringing it under one roof through handicrafts, Nubian and Sinai sculptures, Siwa Oasis dates, and embedded leather from Shalateen. 

More than 540 exhibitors from 27 governorates are exhibiting their products in the 64th edition of Diarna, which runs to Jan. 15. 

It was inaugurated by Minister of Social Solidarity Nevine El-Qabbaj. 

Shadia Youssef is one of 20 exhibitors of Nubian heritage and is from Aswan. “I consider heritage products a gateway to travel and participate in various exhibitions,” she told Arab News. She regularly takes part in exhibitions and is always looking forward to the next one. 

The exhibition has been a hit with visitors, generating more than $250,000 in profit since it opened in December. 

There is a special section on the first floor for people with special needs, the first time the exhibition has had such a feature, and there is also a pavilion dedicated to teaching children art basics.

Doha Mustafa Gabr, who came up with the idea, said many families headed to the pavilion once they learned it was hosting art workshops. “The place now is a source of joy for children,” Gabr told Arab News. 

Gabr drew on a team of seven artists: Amira Saad, Esraa El-Naggar, Nashwa Ibrahim, Nehal Dahab, Enji Abdel-Haq, and Asmaa El-Zobeir, in addition to Rebei Zein, who is responsible for storytelling workshops at the exhibition.

The exhibition covers 3,000 square meters. Ashraf Gad said more children were coming every day, and there were visits from organizations that cared for orphans and children with special needs. 

“Visitors leave the exhibition after getting a dose of various cultures,” Gad said. “I bought Nubian accessories. I was so pleased with the exhibition especially after I saw our Egyptian heritage and cultural products displayed under one roof. I hope the exhibition is held throughout the year and not just for three weeks.”


A narrow, airbrushed take on the Syrian war

“Between Two Brothers” screened at the recent Cairo International Film Festival. (Supplied)
Updated 20 January 2020

A narrow, airbrushed take on the Syrian war

  • Syrian auteur Joud Said’s latest feature is based on the Syrian war and its impact on two siblings.

CHENNAI: Syrian auteur Joud Said’s latest feature, “Between Two Brothers” — which screened at the recent Cairo International Film Festival — is based on the Syrian war and its impact on two siblings.

Khaldoun (Mohammad al-Ahmad) and A’rif (Lujain Ismaeel) see their relationship torn apart by the strife in Syria, leading to agonizing days for their childhood sweethearts, twins Nesmeh and Najmeh.

A’rif goes to war, aligning himself with anti-government forces, while Khaldoun, who had been spending time outside his country, returns to mayhem.

The characters see their world turn upside down when A’rif kidnaps several men and women from the village. Nesmeh and Najmeh are part of the hostages and what ensues is a dilemma that sees A’rif turn  violent and vindictive.

Each brother has his own opinion on what is right and what is wrong about the war and this leads to a chasm opening up between them.

The director, who has come under heavy fire in the past for his supposedly pro-government views, is controversial to say the least.

In 2017, Syrian director Samer Ajouri withdrew his entry “The Boy and the Sea”  from the Carthage Film Festival in protest at the selection of Said’s feature, “Rain Of Homs.” Later, in 2018, Egyptian director Kamla Abu-Zikry accused Said of helming films which represented the Assad government’s viewpoint.

Despite the director defending his films in a clutch of newspaper interviews, it should be noted that “Between Two Brothers” was produced by Syria’s National Film Organization.

Said makes a pitiful attempt to teach the audience that each side has its reasons. But it is not hard to see where the tilt lies — we do not see any state security forces and violence erupts solely from the rebels’ ranks. In a way, “Between Two Brothers” airbrushes the destructiveness of war, with blatant symbolism and a couple of comedy scenes further eroding a subject as grim as this.

Yes, there are some visually arresting shots of the countryside captured with articulation and imagination by cinematographer Oukba Ezzeddine and the actors who played both brothers did a fair turn in their roles, but all in all it was far too narrow a representation of war to be effective.