Cairo art show links Gandhi to Egypt’s revolution

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A poster exhibition entitled “Did you sense the spirit of Gandhi in Tahrir Square?” is currently running in Cairo as part of the ongoing India by the Nile festival, reported Ahram online on Monday.

The exhibition compiles works by various artists from Egypt, India and African countries. All the pieces link Mahatma Gandhi, the revolutionary who demanded Indian independence from Britain in the 1940s, to the Tahrir square protesters who topped long-time Egyptian ruler Hosni Mubarak in 2011.

Many of the posters portray images of Tahrir square from the early days of Egypt’s revolution, Gandhi’s image has been superimposed upon those shots by many artists in the exhibition.

Artist Reham Sayed Khulief introduces the element of social media to his work.

He depicts a Facebook status update, posted, it seems, by Gandhi himself.

“I can’t teach you violence as I do not myself believe in it. I can only teach you how to bow your heads before anyone - even at the cost of your life,” reads the inset text.

The works on display are the result of a competition launched on Oct. 2 2013, the anniversary of Gandhi’s birthday in 1869.

Entrants were divided into two groups, school-age students and adults. 80 works from Egypt and over 70 from the India-Africa platform were submitted for final evaluation, according to the second secretary for press and political affairs from the embassy of India in information provided to Ahram online.

Winners were chosen by a judging panel from India and Egypt in January 2013, the subsequent exhibition inauguration was attended by Gandhi’s granddaughter Kirti Menon.

The first prize for the best Egyptian poster went to Amr Shaalan for a photograph depicting an aerial view of Tahrir square, filled with praying people. The artist uses shades of sepia to create an image of Gandhi’s face emerging from the square.

Sandeep Raj. K, the first-prize winner from India, depicts Gandhi’s iconic round glasses shadowed by two peace symbols. At the bottom of the canvas we find a scaled down map of Egypt with the text, “HERE, it's again the vision of peace.”

The prize winning Egyptian artist will travel to India to attend short workshop as part of his award. Meanwhile, the Indian winner will receive training in Egypt at a local art school in Fayoum.

The poster exhibition will run until May 9, while the wider India by the Nile festival will run on until May 13.