A hundred Egyptian school children, including 25 children with ‘special needs’, were honoured by the Maulana Azad Centre for Indian Culture (MACIC) of the Indian Embassy in Cairo. The children were handed prizes for the “Glimpses of India” painting competition in a ceremony held at the Gomhouria Theatre, Cairo on 16 November.
Participating in the event were Egyptian dignitaries, NGOs, media and the families of the winners. Ms. Yosra al-Lozy, the Egyptian Cinema and Television actress handed over the prizes with Ambassador Sanjay Bhattacharyya. An exhibition of the award winning paintings was also held on the occasion. The performance by a Bhangra troupe livened up the evening and won the hearts of the audience.
The Glimpses of India painting competition has been held annually over the last 21 years to celebrate the creativity of the children of Egypt and their love for India. This year’s competition saw the participation of 4700 students from 430 schools in Cairo, Giza and Alexandria. A three-member independent jury selected 100 winners from the entries. Held in coordination with the Egyptian Ministries of Education and Culture, the popularity of the event has grown over the years and has become a regular feature in the school calendar. The children look forward to this event and prepare arduously for putting on paper their vision and love for India. The themes for the competition, India and Egypt best friends for ever, Indian festivals, Bollywood and Monuments, led to remarkable paintings of exquisite techniques and perception. The braille paintings done by blind students revealed the depth of affection and feeling between the people of the two countries. The children have insights to the two countries’ civilizational relationship as well as the contemporary culture in a manner that is both unique and beautiful.
Speaking at the occasion, Ambassador Bhattacharyya told the children that they “are the bridge between India and Egypt and the torch bearers of a glorious future has been unveiled in their paintings”. Yosra El Lozy, who shot to fame with her first movie directed by Youssef Chahine and whose films have been screened at Film Festivals in India, urged the children to follow their dreams, pursue their interests, and never give up. One parent said, “thank you for recognising our children and showing us how creative they are”.
One of the winners Abdel-Rahman Magdy Zak said his drawing “comprises two most beautiful cultures in the world. I drew an elephant that symbolizes Indian culture and dressed it in a decorated mask resembling the Egyptian culture.” Another winner, Mariem Khaled Omar said that she drew King Akbar and Jodha with Taj Mahal and Egyptian and Indian flags in the background to the most romantic love story and to keep the country safe. Mohamed Osama Hassan Abdel Satter who drew Mahatma Gandhi in the front and Taj Mahal and blending of two National Flags of India and Egypt in the backdrop said that he was inspired by the peaceful struggle against the British regime. Noor Mohamed Hanafy Mahmoud who had shown Indian tiger in the front and different shades of saffron, white and green in the background said “tiger represents the power of India”. The painting was also selected as the cover page of the book of prize winning paintings that was released on the occasion.
The popularity of the paintings has prompted NGOs to propose an auction of the prize winning contributions with the proceeds going to charity. The children were very excited to know that their art work would contribute to children suffering from cancer and other causes. The “Glimpses of India” event, held in cooperation with the Ministries of Education and Culture of Egypt, hopes to make it a nation-wide event next year such that all school children in Egypt will have a day when they can connect with India.
25 November 2015