Egypt/ 8.4 Amateur arts, cultural associations and civil initiatives  

8.4.1 Amateur arts and folk culture

The Opera House’s Skill Development Center organizes many activities for non-professionals: Choral, Ballet for kids and singing for adults.

A cinema school has been opened by Raafat Al-Mihi within Galal Studio.

A drama school has been opened within The Creative Centre which reports to the Ministry Of Culture.

A modern dancing school was opened by Walid Aouni.

Long-term training courses are being provided in Emad Eddin Studio in different arts, dramatic and dancing arts for example, and in dramatic techniques as well. These courses have resulted in the emergence of the “there is still a rest” dramatic festival in which trainees participate according to their specifications. Moreover, a festival for those who joined the specialist training courses in modern dancing will be arranged in the future.

“Festival for Youth Creators” has been being arranged by the French Cultural Centre   since 10 years. First ranking participants in this dramatic festival are awarded by the chance of attending Avignon Festival.

Training courses in various fields including writing and artistic and cultural management are provided by the cultural resource.

Handicapped are provided with artistic activities by the British Council.

Various cultural and artistic activities are provided in Cairo, Alexandria and Al-Minia by Jesuit Centre which is also highly concerned with arranging training workshops in different fields.

However, these activities represented by training courses and workshops are not enough because they are of short terms and their aims are rarely explained to trainees who, consequently, accomplish their training only formally, thus without gaining the expected benefit.

“When Sarwat Okacha established the Ministry of Culture in 1958, says Ez Eddin Naguib, a plastic artist and the founder of Asala Society for Heritage and Modern Arts, “he was aware of the great importance characterizing these arts and organizing them within a comprehensive cultural system. Hence, he paid attention to master, trainers,(--) and apprentices who used to be trainers’ sons. Specialist ateliers were established for both professional craftsmen and apprentices, and studios were opened for the use of amateur photographers within Al-Ghouri Palace, thus, pushing towards the merging of traditional art with the modern one. This was followed by the establishment of a handicraft centre and a section for spontaneous arts, in addition to the organization of a permanent exhibition in Al-Ghouri Palace to be a station displaying different governorates’ traditional folk arts products. Along with all of these, ceramic centre was established in Al-Fustat.

Ten years ago, when Ez Eddin Naguib assumed Al-Ghouri Palace responsibilities, everything was about to fade as a result of the Ministry of Culture’s turning to more showy affairs and more modern arts, and the consequent lack of budgets. Naguib established Asala Society within Al-Ghouri Palace in cooperation with the Ministry of Culture represented by CDF, what provided some input to move the wheel of work and buy creation necessities as he reunified the then existing professional craftsmen and representing the second generation. When Mr. Naguib retired, these handicrafts started to scatter again since Al-Ghouri Palace was the only place that tried to preserve environmental handicrafts.

Chapter published: 07-04-2016