Love is all around

15-12-2011 09:07 AM

Mary Mansour

WATANI International
14 August 2011
At the Cordi Jesu church in Downtown Cairo, an exhibition of Coptic art is held, and Sister Pina of the 108-year-old Italian hospital in Cairo is honoured.
“The Sacred Heart” was the theme title of the first Coptic Art exhibition recently held by the Italian School of Art Fr Giorgio Stephani (SAGS) in the Cordi Jesu Church, Downtown Cairo.
The exhibition aimed at gathering Egyptian and international artists to represent the Sacred Heart of Jesus through different artistic techniques. It has proved a great experience and a good opportunity to introduce artists to one another. The exhibition was an opportunity for 30 participating artists to enhance their artistic promotion.
SAGS is a non-profit organisation founded by Fr Giovanni Esti, a Comboni missionary in Egypt and an expert in sacred Coptic art. The Comboni missionaries were founded in the 19th century by St Daniel Comboni (1831 – 1881) to serve in Africa; the saint himself died prematurely while fulfilling his mission in South Africa. Out of Fr Giovanni’s service which frequently brought him in touch with young women looking for achievement, and his desire to foster Coptic art, the idea of the “Sacred Heart’ exhibition was born. 
Honours and awards
The exhibition, which was opened by Fr Giovanni, the project’s spiritual guide and organisation consultant, who has a doctorate in Coptic and Sacred Art, and Seniorita Ilaria Costa, the administrator of the art school, was attended by a number of Egyptian and Italian artists.
The event began by the honouring ceremony of Sister Pina who is coordinator of the caregiver sisters who serve at the venerable 108-year-old Italian Hospital Umberto Primo in Cairo, for her dedicated efforts as caregiver throughout some 25 years. 
Prizes were handed to the winning innovative artworks. The first prize of EGP5,000 went to Mokhlis Michael for his installation of a Cross in iron depicting how painful was the sin carried by the soul of Jesus Christ. The prize of best technique went to Ashraf Fayeq whose painting of Jesus Christ stressed His love for humanity. The prize for the most creative work was won by Eveline Adel, who depicted God’s love even for his enemies and sinners. The jury prize went to Samer Fayeq who depicted his human soul looking at a mirror with tears in his eyes, while Jesus Christ looks in tender reassurance.
The other artists all received certificates for their participation. The artworks varied from paintings, sculptures, installation and stained glass to collage, all centred on Jesus Christ and His life and depicting some of His miracles and parables.
Among the creative works, artist Hani Sawiris used direct symbolism and impressionism to depict the grief of St Daniel Comboni, who is holding a weak child whose head is crowned with the Crown of Thorns. Another icon under the title “The Shepherd and the Sheep” by Edmon Kamel expressed God’s deep love for His creatures; caring for every human being, He searches for the lost sheep.
A painting of “The Widow’s Two Mites” by Mary Mansour is one of the few paintings ever to depict this parable. In the story, a widow donates two small coins, while wealthy people donate much more. Jesus explains to His disciples that the small sacrifices of the poor, which are given out of want not out of plenty, mean more to God than the extravagant donations of the rich.
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