The southern city of Aswan teemed with excitement as the sixth edition of its International Aswan International Festival of Culture and Arts set off on 17 January. The festival, which runs till 22 February, is held under the sponsorship of Culture Minister Ines Abdel-Dayem, and hosts 250 guests from seven countries. Apart from Egypt, the participants are China, Ethiopia, Greece, India, Kenya, Thailand, and Tunisia. Ethiopia is the guest of honour at this edition’s festival.
The participating Nile Basin countries are presenting a flow of arts particular to each of them.
Opening day saw a Pharaonic style procession of boats sail Aswan’s Nile carrying the various festival participants, who raised flags and sang joyfully. It was a procession that brought to mind the significance of culture and art in fostering communication among nations.
On the Nile bank, ensembles from each country performed traditional music and folk songs. In their traditional garments, they headed to the marketplace, one of the most important commercial centres in Aswan where an eager public greeted them with enthusiam.
The evening saw Ahmed Awwad, Chairman of the General Authority for Cultural Palaces, who represented Ms Abdel-Dayem; join Aswan Governor, Magdy Hegazy and India’s Ambassador to Cairo, Sanjay Bhattacharyya, to open a book fair and an exhibition for heritage handicrafts and traditional products at the Fawzi Fawzi theatre.
More than 2000 viewers attended a concert directed by Egyptian musician Hisham Attwa, followed by a screening of a documentary that reviewed the artistic performances of the participating countries.
Mr Awwad gave a welcome speech in which he said: “Art is an international language and a means for communication between people all over the world; art enriches sublime human values.” He thanked Aswan Governor for financing the festival.
For his part, Governor Hegazy said Aswan was opening its arms to Egypt’s guests, reminding that the city was chosen as the Capital of African Economy and Culture for 2018.
Both Mr Awwad and Mr Hegazy presented the participant countries with memorial shields. Then they exchanged the shields of the Authority of Culture Palaces and Aswan governorate.
19 February 2018