Egyptian sculptor defends work after barrage of mockery

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This collage combines two pictures shared by artist Ahmed Abdel Naby of his statue "Masr Tanhad" or Egypt Rising. (Pictures taken from Al Masry el-Youm newspaper)
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Updated 03 August 2020

Egyptian sculptor defends work after barrage of mockery

  • Users mocked the statue on social media saying it did not look pretty at all
  • The artist insisted that the piece is “a personal artistic experience”

CAIRO: Egyptians have mercilessly mocked an artwork labeled as “Egypt Rising” by sculptor Ahmed Abdel Naby after many on social media said it looked “distorted” and “ugly”.
The white marble statue appears to depict a woman seated, dressed in a traditional “jalabiya,” with a head cover and braided hair falling over her left shoulder. 
The artwork was shared on the artist’s official page with him proudly posing next to it. But images of what he said is an unfinished piece have been trending on Twitter and Facebook as many users thought the statue did not look pretty at all.  
“In the beginning, I thought this marble statue called ‘Egypt Rising’ is just a silly joke, but apparently … the scandal is real!” well-known Egyptian author Yousef Ziedan wrote on his Facebook page. 
A few others were keen to support the sculptor until he finished his work before they can make up their mind. 
The artist said the statue pictures were initially shared on his personal account for his friends to see, but he was surprised by the huge criticism it received.
He also apologized to his Facebook followers for what he described as an “influx of abusive comments” posted on his page over the statue’s photos. 
He insisted on saying that the piece is “a personal artistic experience” and that no official authority has tasked him to construct it, Al-Masry Al-Youm newspaper reported.
Abdel Naby said his artwork depicts a woman who is trying to get out of a stone block that she is trapped in. 
He defended his work saying many people did not understand the complexity of sculpting marble as opposed to other materials.
It is not the first time Egyptian sculptors have been heavily criticized on social media after unveiling their statues. 
Most famous in recent years was a statue of Egyptian footballer and Liverpool star Mohamed Salah by sculptor Mai Abdallah, which was unveiled in 2018. The depiction of Salah with an enormous head and tiny limbs was heavily mocked by social media users.


In 2015, a huge bust of Queen Nefertiti was removed from public display in the Upper Egypt city of Samalout after locals compared it to Frankenstein.




A huge bust of Queen Nefertiti has been removed from the Upper Egypt of Samaloot after locals compared it to Frankenstein. (Image courtesy: Ahram Online)


In 2018, a bronze statue of Khedive Ismail Pasha, the 19th Century Ottoman ruler of Egypt and Sudan, had been clumsily painted a part of restoration work in black and white, making the once great Khedive appear more like a badly-drawn cartoon character.

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First UAE sighting of one of the world’s rarest birds in Abu Dhabi 

Updated 20 September 2020

First UAE sighting of one of the world’s rarest birds in Abu Dhabi 

  • Known as a Steppe Whimbrel, the bird is estimated to have a global population of only around 100
  • It is believed to have travelled in time for the autumn bird migration

DUBAI: One of the rarest birds in the world has been spotted in Abu Dhabi by two members of the Emirates Bird Records Committee (EBRC), according to state news agency WAM. 
Known as a Steppe Whimbrel, the bird - estimated to have a global population of only around 100 - was seen by Oscar Campbell and Simon Lloyd at the Saadiyat Beach Golf Course, WAM reported on Saturday.
Believed to have travelled in time for the autumn bird migration, the Steppe Whimbrel is an extremely rare sub-species of the widespread Whimbrel, which regularly passes through the Emirates in spring and autumn.
The Steppe Whimbrel seen in Abu Dhabi is believed to have been born this year, making it the first time a juvenile Steppe Whimbrel has been spotted anywhere in the world, according to WAM.
“On August 29, we were studying around 20 whimbrels on the Saadiyat Beach golf course. We were stunned when one flew off showing the distinctive white wings, clearly different from the other birds,” Campbell and Lloyd told WAM. 
“We immediately realized the potential significance of this so we concentrated on observing the bird and obtaining photographs, allowing us to check the key identification features,” they said.
Campbell and Lloyd then shared their photographs with world’s top expert on Steppe Whimbrels, Gary Allport, who confirmed their findings. 
“The discovery of a Steppe Whimbrel in Abu Dhabi is remarkable in itself, and confirms our suspicion that the migration route of the sub-species passes through the Arabian peninsula region,” Allport said. 
“What is even more remarkable is that this is the first time ever, anywhere in the world, that a juvenile Steppe Whimbrel has been seen in the field…It’s an amazing find,” he added. 
The Saadiyat Beach Golf Course management was delighted with the discovery. 
“When you look at the significance of sighting the Steppe Whimbrel in Abu Dhabi, its history and the subspecies actually being declared extinct in 1995, it is pretty amazing,” Clinton Southorn, Cluster Director of Agronomy for managers Troon Golf, told WAM.
“This is one of the reasons the Saadiyat Beach Golf Club has worked hard to achieve its Audubon certification and showcase the positive environmental impact the course can have on the environment,” he added.