With the aim of celebrating the international day of the Arabic language and raising awareness about its outstanding beauty and value, the faculty of fine arts in Zamalek hosted its second yearly exhibition titled “Painting the Arabic”.
The exhibition is part of an agreement between the faculty of fine arts and the institut Français d’Égypte, under the supervision of both Safia AlKabany, the dean of the faculty, and Emmanuel Prigent, the French cultural attaché in Cairo. The exhibition was held in the art museum of the faculty that includes paintings by a number of prominent art pioneers in Egypt.
“This year, the exhibition witnessed large participation from a big number of students,” said Zeinab Nour, the main coordinator of the signed convention between the faculty and the French institute.
“We made some announcements about the competition a month ago to give the students enough time to find a creative idea for their artistic works. The selection process of the paintings came in two phases. A committee from the faculty staff members reviews the submitted paintings and selects the best ones to participate in the competition. Then, they choose the best painting to be awarded the first prize after that,” she added.
The first prize is a cultural trip to France for a week where the winner can improve his talent and learn new painting techniques. This year, the committee received 36 artistic works from students from different specializations. The first award went to Sara Maher for her project “Vision”, in which she incorporated Arabic into a bright visual piece of art.
“The topics of the paintings were freely chosen by the students themselves. The main goal was to give every student an opportunity to express his opinions about the Arabic language and the factors that influence its dominance in our society using an inspiring artistic technique,” Nour noted.
In her opinion, the good organisation of the exhibition and the continuous guidance of the professors are the main reasons behind its success. “We created a group on Facebook for the participants to provide them with advice about the size of the paintings, the techniques that can be used, and the materials that may suit them the best,” she added.
Some plans to expand the exhibition and make it open for the public are still being discussed.
In spite of what people say about the deterioration in the proficiency of the Arabic language among native speakers in Egypt nowadays, Nour does not actually believe that the situation is that bad. “The Arabic language is deeply rooted in our religions, rituals, and values and it would never vanish. I believe it is normal for the young generations to find an alternative way of expressing their thoughts and beliefs. Franco-Arab is a means of expression,” she explained.
In her opinion, this should not be assessed from a frustrated perspective because it happens everywhere around the globe.
“We should not blame the young people for not being able to use the Arabic language properly in their daily writings and conversations. Instead, we have to blame the education system that does not pay much attention to teaching the students the rules of Arabic. When you find an 18-year-old student who cannot write down his name correctly, you have to blame the school that led him to this disgraceful situation,” Nour stated.