Middle-east Arab News Opinion | Asharq Al-awsat

Abu Simbel graffitied to attract tourism | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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One of the Abu Simbel murals. (Asharq Al-Awsat)

One of the Abu Simbel murals. (Asharq Al-Awsat)

One of the Abu Simbel murals. (Asharq Al-Awsat)

Cairo, Asharq Al-Awsat—Graffiti documented the Egyptian revolution in Cairo’s streets and squares. Now the art form appears to have spread to the municipality of Aswan, a prominent antiquity and civilization storehouse in southern Egypt. The Sun Colors Festival—launched last month in conjunction with the area’s annual Sun Festival—saw the walls of Abu Simbel, a village northwest of Aswan and home to the UNESCO Nubian temples, adorned with colored murals.

Organized by the Abu Simbel Youth Center in cooperation with the students of Fine Arts and Applied Arts from Cairo, Luxor and Asyut, and with funding from the Awsan municipality, the festival aimed to showcase Aswan’s archaeological landmarks. It also reflected an eagerness in the younger generation to play their part in helping the area regain its stature as a popular winter holiday destination.

“The graffiti is a depiction of Upper Egypt [the south] in all its beauty,” said Mohamed Mahmoud, a seventeen-year old participant of the festival, who also said the drawings were popular with locals and tourists.

Nourhan Ezzuddin, an eighteen-year-old participant, told Asharq Al-Awsat: “The paintings draw inspiration from the River Nile and the charming nature of the area.”

“We intended to create a general panoramic view of the city’s archaeological and historical landmarks as well as the lives of the ancient Egyptians,” she added.

Abu Simbel is popular during the winter months thanks to its dry whether, moderate temperature and calm atmosphere. Abu Simbel was given the name “Abasht” by the ancient Egyptians, as depicted in their drawings on the walls of its temples, from which the Nubia residents drew its current name.

Alaa Abdelhafiz, manager of Abu Simbel Youth Center, expressed his thanks to the team of volunteer youths for their creative efforts and their free sense of artistic expression in depicting the lives of the Aswan people. “The aim was to have twelve drawings of different sizes to create a panorama expressing Aswan’s culture and arts as a means of introducing tourists to the customs and traditions of the area,” he said.

He added that the experience was a wonderful opportunity for the young generation to meet and express their love for Egypt and to emphasize that the country is ready to receive more tourists in the days to come.