The Politics of Art in Modern Egypt: Aesthetics, Ideology and Nation-Building 9780755611232, 9781848856042

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The Politics of Art in Modern Egypt: Aesthetics, Ideology and Nation-Building
 9780755611232, 9781848856042

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LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS 1

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Nahmia Sa‘ad, Hasad al-Qamh (Harvest of the Wheat), 1937. Etching on zinc. Source: Fathi Ahmad, Fann al-Jirafik al-Misri. (Egyptian Graphic Art). Cairo: al-Hay’a al-Misriyya al-‘Amma li-l-Kitab, 1985, p. 51. Mahmud Mukhtar, Nahdat Misr (Renaissance of Egypt) circa 1925 –1928. Granite. Source Rushdi Iskandar, K. al-Mallakh, and S. al-Sharuni, Thamanun Sana min al-Fann. (Eighty Years of Art). Cairo: al-Hay’a al-Misriyya al-‘Amma li-l-Kitab, 1991, p. 23. Muhammad Nagi, Jama‘a min Haras al-Hudud (A Group of the Frontier Guard), 1932. Source: Effat Naghi, et al., Mohamed Naghi: un impressioniste Égyptien, (Muhammad Nagi: An Egyptian Impressionist). Sahafiyin, Cairo: International Press, 1988, unnumbered page. Muhammad Nagi, Maydan Adis Ababa Manalik (Menelik Square–Addis Ababa), 1932. Oil on Canvas. Source: Mathaf al-Fannan Muhammad Nagi, Muhammad Nagi, 1888 –1956 (Muhammad Nagi, 1888 –1956). Cairo: Ministry of Culture, 1990, p. 110. Muhammad Nagi, Tibb al-‘Arab. (Medicine of the Arabs), 1934 –1939. Oil on Canvas. 260 × 190.5 cm. (Painting for Alexandria Hospital). Source: Hassan Al Thani Collection. Image courtesy of Mathaf: Arab Museum of Modern Art. Muhammad Nagi, The School of Alexandria, circa 1939 –1952. Oil Painting. 3 × 7 m. Source: Effat Naghi, et al., Mohamed Naghi (1888 –1956): un impressioniste Égyptien, (Muhammad Nagi: An Egyptian Impressionist). Cairo: International Press, 1988, p. 45. Muhammad Hasan, The Dictatorship of the Fine Arts, 1939. Drawing. Source: Rushdi Iskandar, and K. al-Mallakh, Khamsun Sana min al-Fann. (Fifty Years of Art). Cairo: Dar al-Ma‘arif, 1962, appendix of photographs.

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Mahmud Husna, The Peddler of Art, n.d. (prior to 1955). Sculpture. Source: Rushdi Iskandar, K. al-Mallakh, and S. alSharuni, Thamanun Sana min al-Fann. (Eighty Years of Art). Cairo: al-Hay’a al-Misriyya al-‘Amma li-l-Kitab, 1991, p. 40. Announcement for sculpture by Fathy Mahmud of the late King Fu’ad. Front page of al-Ahram, March 28, 1951. Gamal al-Sagini, Khatwa 1952 (Footprint 1952), 1968. Hammered copper. 76.5 × 36 cm. Source: Kamal al-Mallakh, Gamal Es-Seguini. Cairo: General Book Organization, 1985, appendix. Relief of Mahmoud Bey Khalil, President of the Art Connoisseurs Society, 1940. Bronze Sculpture. Source: Rushdi Iskandar and K. Mallakh, Khamsun Sana min al-Fann (Fifty Years of Art). Cairo: Dar al-Ma‘arif, 1962, appendix of photos. ‘Abd al-Hadi al-Gazzar, Portrait of the Art Critic Aimé Azar, 1956. Oil on wood. Source: Alain and Christine Roussillon, Abdel Hadi al-Gazzar: Une Peinture Égyptienne (Abdel Hadi Al-Gazzar: An Egyptian Painter). Cairo: Dar al- Mustaqbal al-Arabi, 1995, p. 116. ‘Abd al-Hadi al-Gazzar, al-Majnuna (The Fool), 1948. Oil on cardboard. Source: Alain and Christine Roussillon, Abdel Hadi al-Gazzar: Une Peinture Égyptienne (Abdel Hadi Al-Gazzar: An Egyptian Painter), Cairo: Dar al-Mustaqbal al-Arabi, 1995, p. 46. ‘Abd al-Hadi al-Gazzar. al-Ju‘ (Hunger) (renamed The Theatre of Life), 1948. Oil on cardboard. Source: Aimé Azar, L’eveil de la conscience picturale en Egypt (The Rise of the Pictural Conscience in Egypt), Cairo: Imprimerie Française, 1954, p. 43. ‘Abd al-Hadi al-Gazzar, The Past, the Present and the Future, 1953. Oil on hardboard. Source: Alain and Christine Roussillon, Abdel Hadi al-Gazzar: Une Peinture Égyptienne (Abdel Hadi Al-Gazzar: An Egyptian Painter). Cairo: Dar alMustaqbal al-Arabi, 1995, p. 177.

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‘Abd al-Hadi al-Gazzar, Let me live in the magic …, 1953. India ink on paper. Source: Alain and Christine Roussillon, Abdel Hadi al-Gazzar: Une Peinture Égyptienne (Abdel Hadi Al-Gazzar: An Egyptian Painter). Cairo: Dar al-Mustaqbal al-Arabi, 1995, p. 193. ‘Abd al-Hadi al-Gazzar, An Ear of Mud, an Ear of Paste, 1951. Oil on Cardboard. Source: Alain and Christine Roussillon, Abdel Hadi al-Gazzar: Une Peinture Égyptienne (Abdel Hadi Al-Gazzar: An Egyptian Painter). Cairo: Dar al-Mustaqbal al-Arabi, 1995, p. 91. ‘Abd al-Hadi al-Gazzar, ‘Alam al-Arwah, (World of Spirits, or Infinity), 1953. Ink on paper. Source: Museum of Modern Art, Cairo. (photo by author). ‘Abd al-Hadi al-Gazzar, Tahdir al-Arwah (Preparation of the Spirits, also known as The Young Sorcerer), 1953. Ink on Paper. Source: Alain and Christine Roussillon, Abdel Hadi al-Gazzar: Une Peinture Égyptienne (Abdel Hadi Al-Gazzar: An Egyptian Painter). Cairo: Dar al-Mustaqbal al-Arabi, 1995, p. 102. Photo of ‘arusa dollmaker with various forms of his art, including what the caption describes as a ‘Berber’ type. Source: ‘Abd al-Ghani al-Nabawi al-Shal, in his ‘Arusat al-Mawlid (The Bride of the Birthday Festival), Cairo: Dar al-Katib al-‘Araba al-Naqd, 1967, appendix of photos. Samir Rafi‘, Les Gardes du Mokattam (The Guardians of the Moqattam) 1946. Painting of unknown medium. Source: Aimé Azar, La Peinture moderne en Egypte (Modern Painting in Egypt), Cairo: Les Éditions Nouvelles, 1961, p. 89. Ahmad Mahir Ra’if, Fi-l Kahf (In the Cave), 1952. Illustration. Source: al-Thaqafa, December 22, 1952, p. 35. Kamal Yusuf, L’Attente, circa 1945 –1950. Painting. Source: Aimé Azar, L’eveil de la conscience picturale en Egypt (The Rise of the Pictural Conscience in Egypt), Cairo: Imprimerie Française, 1954, p. 37. Hamid Nada, L’ombre de Kob Kab (The Shadow of Kob Kab), 1947. Graphic medium. Source: Aimé Azar, L’eveil de la conscience picturale en Egypt (The Rise of the Pictural Conscience in Egypt), Cairo: Imprimerie Française, 1954, p. 53.

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The Politics of Art in Modern Egypt ‘Abd al-Hadi al-Gazzar, Sunuduq al-Duniya (The Cosmorama, also known as The Magic Eye or Theatre of the World), 1951. Oil on cardboard. 64 × 45.5 cm. Source: Hassan Al Thani Collection. Image courtesy of Mathaf: Arab Museum of Modern Art. 96 ‘Abd al-Hadi al-Gazzar, Mawlid al-Dirawish, (The Darwish Festival), 1948. Charcoal on Paper. Source: Alain and Christine Roussillon, Abdel Hadi al-Gazzar: Une Peinture Égyptienne (Abdel Hadi Al-Gazzar: An Egyptian Painter). Cairo: Dar al-Mustaqbal al-Arabi, 1995, p. 49 97 ‘Abd al-Hadi al-Gazzar, al-Mawlid (Festival), 1956. Oil on Cardboard. Source: Alain and Christine Roussillon, Abdel Hadi al-Gazzar: Une Peinture Égyptienne (Abdel Hadi Al-Gazzar: An Egyptian Painter). Cairo: Dar al-Mustaqbal al-Arabi, 1995, p. 112. 97 ‘Abd al-Hadi al-Gazzar, The Popular Circus 1956. Oil on Hardboard. Source: Alain and Christine Roussillon, Abdel Hadi al-Gazzar: Une Peinture Égyptienne (Abdel Hadi Al-Gazzar: An Egyptian Painter). Cairo: Dar al-Mustaqbal al-Arabi, 1995, p. 114. 99 Muhammad ‘Iz al-Din Mustafa Hamuda, Portrait of Jamal al-Sagini, 1953. Oil on Canvas. 65 × 92.5 cm. Source: Museum of Modern Art, Cairo. 100 Gamal al-Sagini, ‘Arusat al-Salam (The Sweet Bride or The Bride of Peace), 1967. Hammered Copper. Source: Kamal al-Mallakh, Gamal Es-Seguini. Cairo: General Book Organization, 1985, Appendix. 101 Gamal al-Sagini, Shajarat al-Hayat (The Tree of Life), 1962. Hammered Copper. 77 × 32 cm. Source: Kamal al-Mallakh, Gamal Es-Seguini. Cairo: General Book Organization, 1985, Appendix. 103 Jathabiyya Sirri, Umuma, (Motherhood) 1952. Print. Source: Fathi Ahmad, Fann al-Jirafik al-Misri (Egyptian Graphic Art). Cairo: al-Hay’a al-Misriyya al-‘Amma li-l-Kitab, 1985, p. 353. 104

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Gamal al-Sagini, al-Nas al-Busata (The Simple People), 1970. Hammered Copper. Source: ‘Afif Bahnassi, al-Fann al-Hadith fi-l-Bilad al-‘Arabiyya (Modern Art in the Arab World). Tunis: UNESCO/Dar al-Junub li-l-Nashr alYunasku, 1980, p. 208. (Overlay of this author’s translation.) Gamal al-Sagini, from the ‘arusa series, Folk Candy Dolls, circa 1973. Oil on celotex. Source: Kamal al-Mallakh, Gamal Es-Seguini. Cairo: General Book Organization, 1985, appendix. Hasan Fu’ad, untitled illustration in ‘Abd al-Rahman al-Sharqawi, al-’Ard (The Earth). Ink drawing. Beirut: alMaktab al-Tijari, 1954, p. 75. ‘Abd al-Hadi al-Gazzar, Damned Son of Dogs, 1953. Colored ink drawing. Source: Alain and Christine Roussillon, Abdel Hadi al-Gazzar. Une Peinture Égyptienne (Abdel Hadi Al-Gazzar: An Egyptian Painter). Cairo: Dar al-Mustaqbal al-Arabi, 1995, p. 195. Advertisement for Shell Oil water pump, Mada ‘Ahd alSaqiyya (Passing of the Age of the Waterwheel), 1953. Source: Arts page, al-Ahram, December 23, 1953. Hasan Fu’ad, untitled illustration in ‘Abd al-Rahman al-Sharqawi, al-’Ard (The Earth). Ink drawing. Beirut: AlMaktab al-Tijari, 1954, First edition., p. 161. ‘Abd al-Hadi al-Gazzar, al-Ma’sa ‘Am 1951 (The Tragedy of 1951), circa 1951–53. Oil on celotex. Source: Subhi alSharuni, ‘Abd al-Hadi al-Gazzar: Fannan al-Asatir wa ‘Alam al-Fadha’, (Abd al-Hadi al-Gazzar: Artist of the Fables and The World of Space), Cairo: al-Dar al-Qawmiyya li-l-Tiba‘a wa-l-Nashr, 1966, p. 45. ‘Abd al-Hadi al-Gazzar, The Hanging Man, 1953. Oil on celotex. Source: Subhi al-Sharuni, ‘Abd al-Hadi al-Gazzar: Fannan al-Asatir wa ‘Alam al-Fadha’, Cairo: al-Dar alQawmiyya li-l-Taba’a wa-l-Nashr, 1966, p. 47. ‘Abd al-Hadi al-Gazzar, Dinshaway drawing series, 1953 – 1955). India ink on paper. Source: Alain and Christine Roussillon, Abdel Hadi al-Gazzar: Une Peinture Égyptienne (Abdel Hadi Al-Gazzar: An Egyptian Painter). Cairo: Dar al-Mustaqbal al-Arabi, 1995, p. 111.

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‘Abd al-Hadi al-Gazzar, Dinshaway drawing series, 1953 – 1955. India ink on paper. Source: Alain and Christine Roussillon. Abdel Hadi al-Gazzar: Une Peinture Égyptienne (Abdel Hadi Al-Gazzar: An Egyptian Painter). Cairo: Dar al-Mustaqbal al-Arabi, 1995, p. 111. Photos of Old Aswan Dam. Souce: al-Ahram, December 18, 1953 Inji Aflatun, The Builders, 1953. Oil Painting. Source: Museum of Modern Art, Cairo. Fathy Ahmad, al-Bina’a (The Construction), 1963 Linoleum print. Source: Fathi Ahmad, Fann al-Jirafik al-Misri, (Egyptian Graphic Art). Cairo: al-Hay’a al-Misriyya al‘Amma li-l-Kitab, 1985, p. 227. Rashad Munsi, al-Mu’assasa al-Misriyya al-‘Amma li-l-Naql al-Dakhili… (Egyptian Agency for Relocation…). Graphic illustration. Source: al-Ahram, October 12, 1963. Advertisement in al-Ahram, May 23, 1966, for the 4th Anniversary of the publication of Nasser’s book, al-Mithaq. ‘Abd al-Hadi al-Gazzar, al-Mithaq, (The Charter), 1962. Oil on Wood. Source: Alain and Christine Roussillon, Abdel Hadi al-Gazzar. Une Peinture Égyptienne (Abdel Hadi Al-Gazzar: An Egyptian Painter). Cairo: Dar al-Mustaqbal al-Arabi, 1995, p. 137. Gamal al-Sagini, The Doll (1958) Tapped Copper Tray . Source: Kamal al-Mallakh, Gamal Es-Seguini. Cairo: General Book Organization, 1985a. Appendix. Gamal al-Sagini, Shajarat al-Masir, (The Tree of Destiny), 1962. Hammered Copper. Source: Rushdi Iskandar, K. al-Mallakh, and S. al-Sharuni, Thamanun Sana min al-Fann (Eighty Years of Art). Cairo: al-Hay’a al-Misriyya al-‘Amma li-l-Kitab, 1991, p. 125. Detail from ‘Abd al-Hadi al-Gazzar, Hafr Qanat al-Suis (The Digging of the Suez Canal), 1964. Ink and crayon on paper. Source: Alain and Christine Roussillon, Abdel Hadi alGazzar: Une Peinture Égyptienne (Abdel Hadi Al-Gazzar: An Egyptian Painter). Cairo: Dar al-Mustaqbal al-Arabi, 1995, pp. 152–3.

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‘Abd al-Hadi al-Gazzar, al-Sadd al-‘Ali, (The High Dam), 1964. Oil on Celotex. Source: Alain and Christine Roussillon, Abdel Hadi al-Gazzar: Une Peinture Égyptienne (Abdel Hadi Al-Gazzar: An Egyptian Painter). Cairo: Dar al-Mustaqbal al-Arabi, 1995, p. 148. Pieter Bruegel, Turmbau zu Babel (Tower of Babel), 1563. Oil on oak panel. Source: Courtesy of the Kunst Historisches Museum, Vienna. ‘Abd al-Hadi al-Gazzar, Lighthouses of the Red Sea (circa 1964). Oil on celotex. Source: Subhi al-Sharuni, ‘Abd al-Hadi al-Gazzar: Fannan al-Asatir wa ‘Alam al-Fadha’ (‘Abd al-Hadi Al-Gazzar: Artist of the Fables and The World of Space), (Cairo: al-Dar al-Qawmiyya li-l-Tiba‘a wa-l-Nashr, 1966), p. 117. Sabri Sulayman Hijazi, al-Tarahil (The Migrant Laborers), circa 1964. Illustration. Source: Fathi Ahmad’s Fann alJirafik al-Misri (Egyptian Graphic Art), Cairo: al-Hay’a al-Misriyya al-‘Amma li-l-Kitab, 1985, p. 269. Photographer unknown, Ma‘a al-Ladhina Ya‘maluna Layl Nahar li-Tahwil ’Ard al-Sa‘ id min al-Hiyad ila Rayy Da’ im, (With Those Who Work Night and Day to Transform the Land of Upper Egypt from Basins into Permanent Irrigation) Source: al-Ahram, January 12, 1966, p. 7. ‘Abd al-Hadi al-Gazzar. Al-‘Amalaqa (The Swinging Colossus), 1963. China ink on paper. 26 × 35 cm. Source: Subhi al-Sharuni, ‘Abd al-Hadi al-Gazzar: Fannan al-Asatir wa ‘Alam al-Fadha’, Cairo: 1966, p. 101. Ra’uf Mus‘ad, Chapter title page, Ma‘raka Yawmiyya wa Su’al bila Ijaba! (A Daily Battle and a Question without an Answer!), in Sun‘allah Ibrahim, Kamal al-Qilish, and Ra’uf Mus‘ad, Insan al-Sadd al-‘Ali, (The Man of the High Dam). Cairo: Dar al-Kitab al-‘Arabi li-l-Tiba‘ah wa-al-Nashr, 1967, p. 25. ‘Abd al-Hadi al-Gazzar, Dynamics of the High Dam, 1964. Ink on paper. 24 × 32 cm. Source: Subhi al-Sharuni, ‘Abd al-Hadi al-Gazzar: Fannan al-Asatir wa ‘Alam al-Fadha’, (‘Abd al-Hadi Al-Gazzar: Artist of the Fables and The World of Space), Cairo: al-Dar al-Qawmiyya li-l-Tiba‘a wa-l-Nashr, 1966, p. 113.

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TRANSLITERATION In a simplified transliteration the apostrophe is used for ‘ayn and the ta marbutah is dropped and rendered as al-thaqafa and not al-thaqafah, except when in construct, as in madrasat al-funun. A fuller system of transliteration with dots and macrons appeared in an earlier version of this work in my doctoral dissertation, Politics, Discontent and the Everyday in Egyptian Arts, 1938 – 1966 (State University of New York at Binghamton, 2008). Transliterations of personal names used in this book mostly follow the spellings for Egyptian pronunciations as shown in the table below. I note the variable use of French spellings in texts on Egyptian art written in French. In trying to keep personal names consistent with bibliographic entries, and the OCLC catalogue entries, I have not assimilated the article with titles or personal last names. Thus I use al-Sagini, and not As-Sagini, and for names of journals I generally use al-Thaqafa, and not Ath-Thaqafa. For common spellings and names of principal artists I use the following: Name in Text

French Spelling

Inji Aflatun (1924–89) Gamal al-Sagini (1914–1977) Georges Henein (1914–77) Hamid Nada (1924–90) Habib Gurgi (1924–90)

Angie Aflatoun Gamal El-Seguini Georges Henein Hamed Nada Habib Gyorgy

Ramsis Yunan (1913–66) ‘Abd al-Hadi al-Gazzar (1925–66)

Ramses Younane

‘Iffat Nagi (1910–75)

Effat Nagui or Naghi

‘Abd El-Hadi El-Gazzar

Arabic

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Name in Text

French Spelling

Fu’ad Kamil (1919–73) Muhammad Hasan (1892–1961) Kamil al-Tilmisani (1915–72) Muhammad Nagi (1886–1956)

Fuad Kamel

Mahmud Mukhtar (1891–1934) Mahmud Sa‘id (1897–1964) Yusuf Kamil (1891–1971)

Mahmoud Moukhtar

Mohamed Hassan Kamel El-Telmissany Mohamed Nagui or Naghi

Mahmoud Said Yousuf Kamel

Arabic

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS This book is a collaborative product of exchange, guidance and tutelage of a number of scholars and friends in the fields of the arts, humanities and history. Without the patience and insight of the following, this would have been impossible. Professor Peter Gran first encouraged my interest in comparative culture while I was an undergraduate, and then as a graduate student. Professor Gran’s emphasis on comparison and the social consequences of history encouraged me and numerous others to seek questions and issues we may have otherwise overlooked or not thought possible. Professor Rifa‘at Abou El-Haj has been a wonderful teacher to a generation of graduate students at Binghamton University and a critical mentor of unmatched rigor. Professor Nkiru Nzegwu has encouraged and offered hope to those of us in Africana studies, where few others would or could offer advice. Her resolve and original critical thinking and writing on issues of African arts and philosophy allowed many of her students to advance their own graduate research and dissertations in areas that received little support outside of the milieu she has created as the chair of Africana Studies at Binghamton University. Professor Dirgham Sbait of the Arabic Department at Portland State University generously gave time from his busy schedule and supplemented my graduate coursework to help me complete a translation of Nagib Surur’s Yasin and Bahiyya, and to share his critical thoughts and interpretations. His friendship and encouragement helped me to pass through some critical points in my thinking of aspects of the arts and literature. His own critical scholarship and thought helped me immensely. Numerous scholars and friends at Binghamton University helped in all sorts of ways, and among these I must mention my friend Mohamed Ali, a fellow graduate student, whose deep knowledge of Egyptian social history and culture offered invaluable insight. Numerous others have helped me immensely with their friendship and support, including Onyile Onyile, who completed a dissertation on Oron sculptural figures in Nigeria, and Tarek Shamma, who has written a critical dissertation and book on Richard Burton’s translation of A Thousand and One Nights. I also thank the Graduate Program of Philosophy, Interpretation and Culture for providing

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a comparative milieu that made this book possible when other traditional departments found a topic on non-European arts rather awkward. This book originally began at the Art History Department at Binghamton University, but the interdisciplinary focus and openness toward Africana Studies at the Graduate Program for Philosophy, Interpretation and Culture encouraged a more critical reappraisal of the paradigm of area studies that had prevailed as a doctrine of the Cold War. In Tunis, I thank Ali Louati of the Maison de Centre d’Art, and his staff for their generosity in sharing the resources of their excellent library on contemporary arts. I also thank Mme. Dora Bouzid for her lecture and discussion on her book, École de Tunis, and the artist Hedi Turki for sharing ideas on Tunisian art with me. I also thank Professor Tahar Labib for meeting to share ideas on Tunisian culture and art, and our interest in Gramsci. A number of other Tunisian scholars and artists also helped along the way in sharing their art and ideas. I must also acknowledge the work of Liliane Karnouk, whose Modern Egyptian Art was an extremely useful source in collecting and organizing the development of different phases of artistic development in Egypt, and which has allowed a comparative context for English-reading students interested in modern Arab culture. She has also been generous in discussing a number of observations on Egyptian art and this manuscript. In Cairo, I thank the staffs of the Mahmoud Khalil Museum Library, the Hannager Center Music Library, and the Museum of Modern Art for offering a number of useful sources and ideas and allowing me access to materials. The artist Fathi Rafki al-Razzaz shared with me his own interpretations of his art and on Egyptian art at his showing at the Hannager Art Center. I also thank several Egyptian art students who shared their notions on Mahmud Sa‘id and al-Gazzar which I found extremely insightful and knowledgeable. At Clatsop Community College in Astoria, Oregon I thank Dean Tom Gill, Prof. Steve Berk, Dr. Rick Knight, and Richard Roland for their support and ideas. I also thank Prof. Jessica Winegar at Northwestern University for her encouragement and review of a draft of this manuscript and Prof. Donald Lacoss at the University of Wisconsin at La Crosse for his generous sharing of ideas and commentary. Professor Donald Reid of Georgia State University has also shared ideas and a personal recollection of the Nagi family. The artist and scholar, Kamal Boullata also offered personal encouragement and his own generosity, writing and organizations of art exhibitions in modern Arab art have been formative for my generation. I

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must also acknowledge my benefit from Professor Nada Shabout’s scholarship and her helpful research network, The Association for Modern and Contemporary Art of the Arab World, Iran, and Turkey (AMCA). Through AMCA, I must also thank the intellectual exchange and advice received from Dr. Sarah Rogers, Professor Stephen Sheehi, and Professor Dina Ramadan, Sam Bardaouil, among many others. The support and assistance of the Qatar Museum Authority, the Mathaf Museum of Modern Arab Art in Doha, and of Sheikh Hassan Al Thani are also gratefully acknowledged. At I.B.Tauris, I am in gratitutde to the highly professional guidance of my editors Jenna Stevenson, Maria Marsh, and especially to Nadine El-Hadi for her extensive comments and suggestions. In reading Nagib Surur’s Yasin and Bahiyya, I often recalled my grandmother, who as the daughter of Dorsetshire agricultural laborers, shared reminiscences of her experiences working (like Bahiyya) as a domestic servant and later as a worker in the munitions factories in London, and the personal tragedy and horror of the First World War. She was an inspiration for my choice of studying history and art history, as was the method of E.P. Thompson in his The Making of the English Working Class. To my parents, both of whom were accomplished artists, who met because of the Second World War, and who gave selflessly to others. To my brother Michael for the lessons I learned from his moral courage and resistance against the Vietnam War. Above all, I thank my wife, Gigi Malkin, the love of my life, who offered valuable critiques and insights of various artists and exhibitions that we have attended. Through her wit and wisdom, her intellect and experience, she is a window onto the world.

PREFACE Modern Egyptian art, besides offering a visual interpretation of modern life, opens a comparative insight into the horizon of Arab and African aesthetic experience; for it renders in original form the maturity of Islamic and modern Arab cosmopolitan culture. This study of early- to mid-twentieth-century Egyptian art explores how and why artists created a philosophy of artistic experience that reflects the social horizon of aesthetics – the inclusion of popular, participatory, traditional and modern forms of art. I ask the reader to broaden their conceptions of modernity and to challenge the exceptionalist paradigm of Western art and modernity. In so doing I hope to show the complexity and fullness of the dynamics of artistic practices and discourse in Egypt and Arab culture of this period. Recognition of modernism in Arab culture should open further research and awareness of the comparable merit and value of aesthetic production and debate that is found in other African or Arab centered experiences in the arts. Finally, I hope to provide a new paradigm for readers to move beyond Occidental claims of an exclusive modernity or a clash of cultures that has had serious implications not only for cultural studies but for political and social valuations. This study of Egyptian twentieth-century aesthetics also explores why the visual arts became the locus of a political struggle between the state and peasant labor. I examine why the privileging of art by the state was in effect an act of self-consumption by an elite that sought to identify and distinguish itself from mass or popular culture.1 In the interwar period, struggles between elite and popular culture came to the fore as the state deliberately sought to suppress Sufi and religious festivals in the context of escalating violence between landlords and peasants. In the same period, the claim to a Nahda, or a special Renaissance, arose as a paradigm of Egyptian elite arts in the 1920s during a period of intensive nationalist state formation. This reification of art allowed the northern Egyptian elite, with its political dominance of state institutions and its status as large landowners, to identify themselves with the ruling elite of other nation-states. The Nahda model was evident in the cultivation of the arts by diplomatic families during the 1920s and 1930s, as in the career of Muhammad Nagi,

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or the Surrealist, Georges Henein. The Nahda paradigm also sought to impose a national pedagogy in the arts as an experiment at reforming lower class and Southern regional cultures and polities that opposed the elite’s hold on power. These developments should not be interpreted as a merely Eurocentric orientation. Nagi’s cultural mission to Ethiopia in the early 1930s was indicative of an international cosmopolitanism aimed at the development of alliances.2 The reorganization of art groups and academies suggests the difficulty of nation-state cultural programs at achieving wide support. Elites with authoritarian preferences tolerated a middle class participation and discourse in the arts to deflect dissent and to encourage consensus for a Nahda or reform.3 In mid-twentieth-century Egypt, nationalist elites were surprised by the results of expanded discourse and participation in the arts. A radicalization arose from the Egyptian Surrealists and their successors who together raised and recognized the central struggle of peasant laborers as a subject for the arts. This study attempts to correlate these transformations with other trends in recent scholarship on Egyptian intellectual struggles as a problem of history, including Roel Meijer’s The Quest for Modernity (2002); the interest in relating culture as a reflection of social history as in Sayyid ‘Ashmawi’s al-Fallahun wa-l-Sulta (Peasants and Power) (2000); and Peter Gran’s essays on the Southern Question in Egyptian studies and more generally in his The Rise of the Rich: A New View of World History (2009). This work also seeks to challenge the notion that only two paradigms of thought dominate Egyptian culture in the twentieth century: a modernization-nationalist paradigm through which progressive intellectuals identify with the nation-state as a path of reform, as in the liberal notion of the Nahda and its reconfiguration in the Nasserist paradigm; or an Islamist paradigm of religious fundamentalism, as signified in the writing of Sayyid Qutb.4 A study of the Egyptian Surrealists and their successors in the arts shows that there were other paths sought that maneuvered around the paradigm of the nation-state. Those alternate routes included a reevaluation of aesthetic philosophy led by the members of the Contemporary Art Group beginning in the 1940s, with their emphasis on popular culture, the arts and aesthetic experience of the festival, and the Sufis. By the early 1950s, the artist al-Gazzar reconciled Islamist elements of Qutb’s criticism of Western modernism and capitalism with his own developing critical philosophy. The isolation of the elite nationalist road for art and its limited utility to the state raises the question of whether it had been intended to be shared among the masses, despite its rhetorical programs and pedagogy. Indeed,

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the revolt of the Egyptian Surrealists who had been sent as art teachers to rural schools in the late 1930s is indicative of the dissidence within the national program of the arts. Hence, the Nahdawis exhibited open disdain for popular culture and the arts of the masses, as they preferred to exploit their differences with mass culture through the use of salons. In opposition to the Nahdawis, a radical shift in the thinking about the use of art as consumption and a shift toward a philosophy of inclusion began to take place from the late 1930s. This was the contribution of the writing of Ramsis Yunan and his peers. The notion of a politics of aesthetics allows for a wider polemic than a history of art has previously allowed. Given the Eurocentric and conservative institutional and ideological role of art history, it is not surprising that Egyptians preferred to develop a criticism of aesthetics that embraces multiple disciplines, including literature, art, music and popular culture. The thrust of this new emphasis arose from the philosophy of the Egyptian Surrealists, also known as the Essayists, and their successors, the Contemporary Art Group, which included a number of Upper Egyptians as prominent and key participants, including Ramsis Yunan (b. 1913, and from a poor Coptic family in Minya), Fu’ad Kamil (b. 1919 in Beni Suef), and his brother Anwar Kamil, and other contemporary artists, including Muhammad Hamid ‘Uways (b. 1919 in Beni Suef). With the revolutionary coup of 1952, the old nationalist paradigm for the arts was replaced by the Nasserists who consolidated power by displacing the two most immediate threats to its authority: the Muslim Brothers on the right and communists on the left. The Nasserists actively promoted the plastic arts as a means of consolidating intellectual support for public policy. During the Nasser period the open disdain for the masses that characterized the first Nahda movement had to be reconfigured into a program of official recognition of folklore as a claim to an authentic tradition. This official folkloric paradigm served as a corollary for sustaining elite art programs that absorbed the fashions of international abstraction, that together countered the challenge of educational policy sought by Islamists. After the late 1950s, the limits of the plastic arts in fulfilling Nasser’s attempt to expand a notion of national unity and Pan-Arabism resulted in a return to segregation of an art for the rich and an art for the poor. In the second half of this book, the Southern question is explored as a problem for the Nasser state’s policy for the arts, as artists from Upper Egypt and the inflection of Southern Egyptian culture impressed upon the arts. This presented a critical impulse against the ruling strategy of using

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the Southern problem to play regions against each other and to deflect the struggle between rich and poor.5 The development of Nagib Surur’s trilogy, Yasin and Bahiyya, is analyzed as a transformation from a narrative of the struggle of a single village in Buhut in the Northern Delta and the encounters at Kamshish in the Delta, into a narration of the Southern problem. Characters in the third play of the trilogy, Tell the Eye of the Sun, are migrants who are forced to take up work on the Aswan Dam. Surur wrote this work during a period of state sponsored patronage in which artists from the North were sent to the South. This patronage yielded a counter reaction against state policy by many of these artists, including al-Gazzar and the writer Sun’allah Ibrahim, who were appalled by the conditions they found. Further research to re-interpret the Southern problem should be applied to the arts, akin to the works underway on the historiography of Southern Egypt as a question of the state and power.6

Chapter 1 THE SOCIAL HORIZON OF EGYPTIAN AESTHETICS In each society, a philosophy appears which characterizes and distinguishes it. But we err if we depict this philosophy and its tendencies which produce society as monochromatic. We err if we imagine a harmonious society as if it were a musical harmony. What are found in society are the contradiction, opposition and struggle of the powerful from the base. Henry Moore as quoted by Ramsis Yunan in his essay, al-Hulm wa-lHaqiqa (The Dream and the Reality), 1940.1 The major error which prevents people from understanding contemporary artistic production lies in the fact that they unconsciously try to grasp it according to the categories of one bygone conception of art or the other, or according to a medley of categories from those different conceptions. The orientations of contemporary art are literary, philosophic, and scientific. Husayn Yusuf Amin, Introduction to the 1948 catalogue of The Contemporary Art Group exhibition in Cairo.2 This comparative study of Egyptian aesthetics interprets the historical and political context of artistic discourse during the years 1908–1966, a period marked by intense clashes between landlords and rural laborers over the material conditions of labor set against the Depression, World War II and the Cold War.3 I discuss the rise of the Egyptian Surrealists from the late 1930s and the Contemporary Art Group from the late 1940s in comparison with the discourse of the Egyptian nationalist Nahda, or national cultural Renaissance, that arose from the late 1920s. The polemical discourse waged by the Egyptian Surrealists from the late 1930s was framed in the context

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of political and institutional struggles of new intellectuals, specifically in the rise of art teachers and artists who argued against an elite academicism that sought to dominate Egyptian artistic discourse.4 The struggle initially took the form of a debate among graduates and proponents of the Kulliyyat al-Funun al-Jamila, or the Academy of Fine Arts, founded in 1908; the newer graduates of the Madrasat al-Mu‘allimin al-‘Ulya, or the Teachers’ College; and members of the Ma‘ had al-Tarbiyya al-Fanniyya, the Institute of Art Education, founded in 1938. A contest for power was centered in the Ministry of Education’s direction on the course of education and the state’s extension of reform through the use of rural social cooperatives.5 In response to the Academy’s emphasis on formalism, the Surrealists and their successors, many of whom were graduates of the Teachers’ College and employed as teachers in rural towns, advocated the discourse of a broader aesthetic experience based on the inclusion of all classes and members of society. Egyptian Surrealist criticism was locally centered within a social and political context and developed a materialist and psychological analysis of the origins of art. The specificity of the Egyptian Surrealist response, while versed in cosmopolitanism, was not an application or mere adoption of modernism as a universal form or ideology. The forum of artistic production and criticism of the Surrealists and the Contemporary Art Group from the late 1940s was formed in the context of the rise of mass political mobilization against the large landowners and the old regime, which culminated in the revolts and coup of 1952. After 1952 and the usurpation of power by the Nasser regime, Egyptian cultural nationalism was reabsorbed by the state as a program for a ‘Second Nahda’ (a Second Renaissance) through an appeal to corporatism and folklore, and through the arts as a means of containing political mobilization.6 The state used the Second Nahda to deflect the political and ideological war that marked the Nasser period in its purges of the Muslim Brothers and a communist labor and intellectual movement after the 1952 coup. The unraveling of the Second Nahda as a national project of the arts occurred as intellectuals critical of the state’s arts project exposed internal dissonance that resulted from the increase in migrant labor from the late 1950s and the aftermath of the defeat of the 1967 War.7 Artists critical of the state’s emphasis on regulation and corporatism were increasingly subjected to imprisonment, and resorted to subversive techniques in art and writing, including those developed by the Egyptian Surrealists in the late 1930s and 1940s.8 During the period 1938–1966, the consequences of capitalism’s social stratification were emphasized with great originality by the Surrealist

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Ramsis Yunan in his critical writing and art career. Yunan stressed the historic development of the artist as intellectuals who articulate the contradictions in society and contemporary life. Yunan’s work anticipated the marking of the everyday as an indicator of capitalism’s extensive transformation of daily life that offered the artist a critique of the differences between the rich and the poor.9 By 1940, Ramsis Yunan distinguished the individual artist’s attempt to reconcile the conflicts in contemporary society and industrialization in what he called the conflict between ‘the spirit of the night and the occupations of the day.’ ‘Abd al-Hadi al-Gazzar and the Contemporary Art Group rendered and interpreted the unevenness of this transformation as a commentary on displacement of the poor. I begin, however, by situating my own authorship within the problematic stance of Anglo-American scholarship on Egyptian arts and culture.10 THE PARADIGM OF ISLAMIC ART HISTORY AND POLITICAL DOCTRINE IN AESTHETIC DISCOURSE This book arose from my interest in contemporary Egyptian arts and my doubts about the paradigm of Islamic art history and its failure to account for the experience of Egyptian aesthetics in the recent past. Egyptian aesthetics has posed great difficulty for Anglo-American scholars, who analyze Egyptian arts within the paradigms of Orientalism as a survey of the spaces of antiquity and medieval architecture, and Neo-Orientalism as a survey of the production of public space and the market system.11 I conclude that Egyptian antiquity and Islamic art history, as a special preserve at British and American universities, extend imperialist theory and are in conflict with developments in the interpretive sciences. The assumption that Egyptian aesthetic experience is religious and Islamic is based on a political doctrine emphasized during the Cold War that imposed a theory of religious experience over the actual contextual production of aesthetics.12 For the period considered, 1938–1966, the production of aesthetics in all of its varied discourse and experience cannot be explained through a single ideological model, whether Islamist, modernist, or traditionalist. In the alternative, I compare my own experience of Anglo-American scholarship with an Egyptian discourse on aesthetics that sharply critiqued the limited aims of the Orientalists and waged a debate over theories of Marxism, the everyday and political philosophy and culture. I offer Lewis Awad’s recollection, written in 1994, to introduce the problem and limits of self-perception in Anglo-American perspectives on the world framed by the Cold War and its aftermath. Recalling a series of lectures in 1953 entitled ‘Egyptian Theatre,’ by a Yale scholar, the Egyptian

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intellectual and literary critic, Lewis Awad, noted how he had expected it to represent a survey of Egyptian theatre. Instead, Awad was dismayed to learn that the unnamed scholar was only able to discuss a limited aspect of ancient Egyptian drama, and made no mention of the experience of modern Egyptian theatre or society. Awad and his colleagues were left to conclude, ‘The American people must not know anything at all about modern Egypt.’13 Awad, as a humanist and accomplished writer of literary and theatrical criticism and history, was intimately familiar with the various disciplines of Egyptian arts and wrote the interpretive biographical introduction to the posthumous collection of Ramsis Yunan’s essays on art and philosophy, Dirasat fi-l-Fann (1969) (Studies in Art). In his essays Yunan critiqued what he called the crisis of European art theory with its incapacity to include experiences of arts outside of Europe.14 In recalling the Yale scholar’s lecture on theatre, Awad could raise anew the pretension of knowledge and interpretation. In 1953, the same year that Awad attended the American scholar’s lecture on Egyptian theatre, another American scholar, Donald Wilber, an Islamic art historian and a former assistant in Egyptian archaeology, also worked as a CIA agent in the American led coup that deposed Prime Minister Mossadegh in Iran.15 These imperialist ventures left Wilber’s own approach to the arts compromised, for as he later wrote a ‘secret history’ for the CIA of his role in the coup, he never questioned its impact on his scholarship. Wilber shared characteristics with other Orientalist art historians, and he assumed a self-validation that remained unchallenged in Anglo-American academic scholarship.16 Americans engaging a world in which globalism became a competition by big powers over alliances had often exposed, but not admitted, their own limits of knowledge about the specific conditions of their encounters as well as their conceptual limits in political discourse. Awad had exposed how these conceptual limits could be exposed and made transparent through the arts. Islamic art history was first extended into the Anglo-American academies following the British scholar K.A.C. Creswell’s compilation, Early Muslim Architecture (1932–40), and the American Arthur Upham Pope’s A Survey of Persian Art from Prehistoric Time to the Present (1939). Creswell’s support for the Egyptian royal regime and his role as an imperialist within British and American institutions has received little critical attention.17 In June 1951, as Creswell completed the dedicatory preface to his second major tome, The Muslim Architecture of Egypt, he thanked the patronage of King Faruq, who paid for its publishing and who, like his father the late King Fu’ad, had shown ‘great interest in art and archaeology.’ While

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lauding the King’s great interest in art, Creswell was avoiding any consideration of the open and pitched battles between peasants and the large landowners of Egypt, which erupted throughout the Delta region of Egypt in that same summer.18 These struggles included violent battles at the villages of Kafur Nigm and Buhut, where peasants attacked the manor and warehouse of Pasha Badrawi, one of the largest landowners and most politically powerful men in Egypt.19 Creswell also ignored the discourse of artists and art critics in Egypt who, since the late 1930s, had been engaged in confronting Egypt’s agrarian crisis as a subject for the arts.20 Two essays appearing a half-century apart in The Art Bulletin illustrate further the establishment of the field of Islamic art as a problem conceptualized in Euro-American assumptions about the division of the world, and academic classifications of history and art. In his 1953 essay, ‘Problems in Islamic Architecture,’ Creswell drew upon the review essay by Richard Ettinghausen, ‘Islamic Art and Archaeology,’ published in 1951, to outline his own project of a typology of early Muslim architecture.21 Creswell’s purpose was consistent with the role of a colonial expert, who, following the Egyptian coup and uprising against the old regime in the early 1950s, found a steady institutional refuge and support at the American University of Cairo.22 Islamic art as a special problem or as an obstacle remained largely unchallenged and was restated as recently as 2003, in an important review article, by Blair and Bloom, ‘The Mirage of Islamic Art: Reflections on the Study of an Unwieldy Field.’23 Blair and Bloom wrote that only the Westerner cared to undertake the study of Islamic art, and this same notion had been asserted previously in a short review article by Edward Madden, who wrote confidently, ‘until recently Muslim writers also have been of little help to the interested Westerner.’24 In a rejoinder to Madden, Lois al-Faruqi wrote that the ‘reason for this lack of interest in the whole field is not known, but it is certainly not accurate to ascribe to the Muslim a despair resulting from inability to explain his art to outsiders.’25 This presumption of a separation between the Western and Muslim scholar has a long-standing chain of cited authorities in Orientalist scholarship. In 1957, the archaeologist Myron Smith, in a review of a Donald Wilber book, claimed the Western scholar had a responsibility to demonstrate a standard and model for scholarship for the ‘young scholars in Muslim lands who are looking to us for standards.’26 Within this Orientalist discourse, it was rare for scholars to undertake self-criticism. At a Princeton University Bicentennial Conference on Near Eastern Culture and Society in 1947, Mehmet Aga-Oglu argued that the study of Islamic art suffered from compartmentalism, which he noted was

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hindering the development of its understanding. In his ‘Remarks on the Character of Islamic Art,’ Art Bulletin (1954) published posthumously, Aga-Oglu noted that Islamic art ‘presents many problems in connection with its religious, social, economic, and aesthetic foundations which so far have not been satisfactorily explained.’27 Aga-Oglu also stated ‘its historical development and its relation to preceding and contemporary artistic cultures have been recognized but not clearly defined.’28 Most Islamic art historians in the 1950s, however, had more limited expectations for method. For instance, Lois al-Faruqi questioned the imposition of a religious model superimposed on aesthetic experience, by suggesting that ‘for the Muslim there is no secular art as opposed to religious art, no secular politics as different in jurisdiction or goal from religious politics, no secular actions which contrast or are in opposition to religious duties.’29 However, in the same article al-Faruqi also raised the Orientalist dictum, ‘the truth is that, with recent exceptions, the Muslim neither wrote on aesthetics for the Muslim reader nor the non-Muslim reader.’ Altogether, these works shared an astonishing ignorance and dismissed published studies in Arabic on Islamic art and aesthetic philosophy in the 1930s and 1940s, including Zaki Muhammad Hasan’s published works and the public lectures and publications of Mustafa Nazif.30 This brief summary of the conflicted paradigm of Orientalist art history introduces the problem of my own authorship and research interest. I am particularly interested in a number of paradoxes produced in AngloAmerican Orientalist scholarship about art and aesthetics over the past half century as it was shaped by World War II and the Cold War. There is the glaring disparity between the amount of scholarship on Egyptian antiquities, medieval Islamic art and architecture, and the complete absence of scholarship and discourse about contemporary Islamic, Arab and Egyptian aesthetics.31 Another paradox lies in the concepts of progress and decline that frames the paradigm of Islamic history, and the relative claim that the Enlightenment is solely a European experience. In such circumstances, essentialized concepts were accepted as normative statements that upheld the ‘golden age’ of the past, but presumed a recent decline, a ‘clash of civilizations.’ During the past half century, Anglo-American scholarship has collaborated in producing models of historical knowledge about world markets divided into regions and ideologies.32 Among the regions singled out by Anglo-American scholarship for special treatment are the so-called Islamic societies, whose history was explained through an essentially unchanging medieval religious model. With its survey of medieval Islamic space,

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Islamic art history was useful to Anglo-American collaboration in developing colonial administration and postcolonial alliances, particularly in upholding architecture’s state patronage and authority. During the Cold War, the avoidance of a discursive treatment of contemporary aesthetics dissuaded scholarship from inquiry into the complex context of aesthetics, politics and society that the surrealist philosopher-artist Ramsis Yunan presented in Egypt. In choosing the specific period of Egyptian aesthetic experience, 1938– 1966, let me pose another example of the relational problem of knowledge for Anglo-American scholars and readers. Colonel T. E. Lawrence’s essentialized statement that ‘there was so little Arab art in Asia that they could almost be said to have had no art,’ was likely accepted by a New Yorker who bought the 1938 edition of Seven Pillars of Wisdom.33 T. E. Lawrence shared the same colonial military experience with another former British officer, K. A. C. Creswell, and the views espoused earlier by the Egyptian viceroy, Lord Cromer, who assumed and accepted the division of the aesthetic project of the colonial in opposition to the colonized, who, he argued, lacked aesthetic development.34 Lawrence and his readers would have been unaware, that at the time of his military campaigns in World War I, which formed the context and subject of his Seven Pillars of Wisdom, the burgeoning Egyptian School of Fine Arts in Cairo was completing its first decade, and its new graduates were extending their artistic education at art academies in Florence, Paris, and Rome. Nor would Lawrence have recognized that one of these graduates, Muhammad Nagi, was engaged in discussions on painting with Claude Monet at his garden home in Giverney.35 The colonial project opposed tradition to modernity, prejudged Islam as a traditional religious ideology, and used the Enlightenment and rational secularism to extend this prejudice into the realm of aesthetics.36 A number of recent studies have continued to disavow any narrative of a complex discourse within the Middle East, North Africa or Egypt that allows a contextual, historical reflection.37 There has been a reinvention of the Islamic paradigm to include the discussion of aesthetics as an extension of the political agenda of anti-terrorism.38 For example, Malise Ruthven, in his Fury for God (2002) portrayed Sayyid Qutb, the Egyptian Muslim Brother who was tried and executed by the Nasser regime in 1966 on charges of treason, as an ‘Occidentalist’ and proponent of an ‘aesthetics of martyrdom.’39 What Ruthven meant by an ‘aesthetics of martyrdom’ was never explained, as Ruthven offered no interpretation nor example of the Egyptian aesthetic experience from the standpoint of 2002, nor from any

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earlier period. Ruthven bypasses the intellectual formation of Qutb, who, from the mid-1930s to the early 1950s, had been a regular literary critic and featured columnist for the cultural journal al-Risala. Ruthven’s dismissal of Qutb also avoids the context of the lively and productive debate about contemporary art underway in Cairo.40 In this context, Qutb’s choice to blend cultural and political discourse in The Battle of Islam and Capitalism (1951) was characterized by his emphasis on an Islamic spiritual revival as a counter to Marxism. In these essays, Qutb increasingly sought a solution for the material struggles between labor and capital through the forms of an Islamic culture and state. Nor was Qutb an exceptional example of the crossing between aesthetics and politics. Al-Gazzar’s 1953 painting of The Past, the Present and the Future, depicting an imprisoned Muslim Brother peering over the prison wall with a symbolic key, representing freedom and the future, may also be viewed contemporaneously in relation to Qutb’s position and writing.41 Within the field of Islamic art history, the horizon of Egyptian contemporary aesthetic experience, as with that of other Arabs and Africans, remained distant from the temporal discourse and spatial theory of art history within Anglo-American academic scholarship. Given the choice of some Islamic art historians to actively support regimes in Egypt and elsewhere, the relational transitions between aesthetic experience and their social context present a conflict for Eurocentric authorship. A disconnection emerges between the actual space and horizon of experience engaged by Egyptians, with its full range of complexities and contextual relations, and the restricted space and time accorded to it in Anglo-American scholarship, with its exclusive containment of the Orientalist creation of Islamic art history.42 In recognition of these relations, I pose here the stance of my own authorship as a position of transitional perspectives. COMPARATIVE METHODOLOGIES OF AESTHETIC EXPERIENCE IN EGYPT The task of comparative knowledge requires us to discern the limitations and claims of history in the experience of its context and its expectations. With its specification of Islamic Art as a collective singular, Anglo-American Orientalism acted as judge over the temporal comparison of culture and history as a unified subject.43 As applied to Egypt, the Orientalist method de-contextualized art history as part of a colonial agenda of denying the contemporary experience of the colonized.44 Colonial occupation privileged architectural history and its spatial theory over an inquiry into the experience of popular and traditional aesthetics. Postcolonial discourse

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later extended this spatial theory with an emphasis on globalism and the rise of the art market. My research into modern Arab art also reinforced my skepticism about claims that modernity was a Western invention..45 Orientalist exclusivity had the effect of negating the experience of the contemporary in the East and validating the privilege of the modern in the West.46 With their emphasis on space and form over temporal qualities and experience, the Orientalists relied upon an all-embracing and unchanging theory of Islam as determinative of the space of architecture. Comparison of the Egyptian experience allows us to break the chain of these relative claims of European or American methods. A paradigm of comparison was demonstrated in the Syrian scholar, Mustafa Fasi’s al-Batal fi-l-Qissa al-Tunisiyya hatta al-Istiqlal (The Hero in the Tunisian Story until Independence).47 Fasi interpreted the development of the Tunisian short story and journalism from the 1920s–1950s as a response to disparities in material conditions caused by the forced shift toward large scale agriculture imposed by French colonialism. This resulted in the dislocation of thousands of Tunisian peasants into the informal labor market. The Tunisian artist Ammar Farhat illustrated this transformation in his 1941 painting Moissonneuses (Women Harvesters) that depicted women harvesting in the fields. Moissonneuses also parallels the recognition of women agricultural laborers that appeared in Egyptian Graphic Artist, Nahmia Sa‘ad’s engraving, Hasad al-Qamh (Harvest of the Wheat), that appeared as a part of a series of his graphic works in an international exhibition in Paris in 1937.48 The placing of the Tunisian laborer at the center of society was also emphasized by Tahar Haddad in his The Tunisian Workers and the Emergence of the Union Movement.49 Haddad participated in the rise of the union movement that paralleled the rise of other national commercial institutions managed by Tunisians during the later colonial period, including the Bank of Financial Assistance, founded in 1922. The endeavor by local capitalists to control banking as a national enterprise in coexistence with colonialism had direct parallels with the formation of Bank Misr, the Egyptian national bank. THE EXCLUSION OF THE EGYPTIAN FROM CONTEMPORARY AESTHETIC DISCOURSE Many in the West uphold the occasional doctrine of Islamic prohibitions against the use of images as if it were a permanent condition to exclude the discussion of contemporary aesthetics.50 There is little basis to upholding

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Figure 1 Nahmia Sa‘ad, Hasad al-Qamh (Harvest of the Wheat), 1937. Etching on zinc. Source: Fathi Ahmad, Fann al-Jirafik al-Misri. (Egyptian Graphic Art). Cairo: al-Hay’a al-Misriyya al-‘Amma li-l-Kitab, 1985, p. 51.

Islamic iconoclasm as a reason for denying discussion and consideration about Egyptian aesthetic experience. For example, the Egyptian intellectual, Mustafa ‘Abd al-Raziq, writing in 1924, at a time when the secular role of the arts was a growing interest for state formation, provided a rationale for the enormous range of artistic and visual experience encountered in modern Egyptian life. Al-Raziq cited an earlier fatwa, or philosophical legal opinion, by the reformist Shaykh at al-Azhar, Muhammad ‘Abduh (1849 –1905) entitled, ‘al-Suwar wa-l-Tamathil wa Fawa’ iduha wa Hukumuha’ (Photos and statues and their utility and regulation).51 Similarly, the Muslim Brothers, by the 1930s, had researched the permissibility of mass produced images for pamphlets.52 EGYPTIAN DISCOURSE ON AESTHETICS AND ITS POLITICAL AND SOCIAL CONTEXT This book passed through a series of transitions, from the process of an area studies approach, toward the specific contextual experience of Egyptian aesthetics in the period, 1908–1966. The category of the modern and

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of form was unsatisfactory, not because the Egyptians didn’t experience modernity and its forms as a colonial and postcolonial project, but because the term and concept itself presumed a limited range of experience itself. Hence, I have presented here the concept of the social horizon of aesthetic experience as the practice and philosophy of the arts rooted through context and historical experience.53 Egyptian intellectuals compared the epistemology of the arts and the experience of its political context. They expanded their vocabulary to interpret past and present as a range of forms and symbols, whether from a traditional vocabulary and iconography of art, or from the international experience of the multiplicity of forms and media. In response to a number of these paradoxes in Anglo-American scholarship, this book arose as an inquiry into why and for what purpose the forms and discourse of the plastic arts were taken up by artists in mid-twentieth-century Egypt. As this inquiry expanded, it found a richly diverse and provocative discourse on aesthetics readily and actively engaged in the social milieu and the everyday experience of Egyptians. The arts and aesthetics of mid-twentieth-century Egyptians interacted with two central issues: the Egyptian peasant struggles against capitalist agriculture; and the problem of nationalism and the state, as a reconfiguration of elite political power before and after the 1952 revolutionary coup. In response to these critical issues, the arts in Egypt were formed and placed within a social context of human agency. As a continuously open question, this is conceptualized here as the social horizon of aesthetic experience.54 The social horizon of aesthetic experience allows expansive possibilities as a field of discourse in the arts about the past, the present and the future as commentaries on the confrontations of the social setting.55 The complexity and sophistication encountered in the discourse of Egyptian intellectuals about the experience of aesthetics of the recent past and the present is introduced here as intellectuals correlating art and agency in relation to mass political action. The claim to modernity is usually taken up as a special claim to present history as a comparison with other eras or cultural formations that are judged to be in decline or inferior to the present. If we were to assert a history of modernity itself, it becomes possible to reconstruct the repetitive and quite varied claims to modernity.56 The claim of modernity by Baudelaire for a Parisian cosmopolitanism of the nineteenth century was convenient to an expanding urbanism. Modernity may also be reclaimed in different epistemologies and contexts by the socialites, brokers and art collectors of post-war Manhattan. Within Egypt, the Nahda as a

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national cultural renaissance was preferred to the concept of the ‘modern,’ whose Arabic meaning is as ambiguous as it is in English and European languages. This epistemology was not a simple exercise of opposition to tradition. Egypt’s ruling elite could hardly turn their backs on traditions which could be embraced politically and ideologically in academic and religious institutions, as shown in Mahmud Mukhtar’s nationalist sculptures. Egyptian discourse about contemporary art and the unevenness of daily life and culture transcended the epistemology of the modern or the contemporary as temporal categories which set themselves off as historical transitions. In early twentieth-century Egypt, ‘the modern’ was averred through an emphasis on form, hence the prevalence of the term al-funun al-jamila (the fine arts) for the pre-revolutionary period, and the term, al-funun al-tashkiliyya (the plastic arts), for the post-revolution period. A deference to specifically qualified time in context was provided in Ramsis Yunan’s essay from 1960, al-Fann fi-l-‘Asr al-Tharri (Art in the Atomic Age). The claim to a Nahda as a special time arose as a discourse of nationalist power by the large landholding class that dominated the Egyptian polity. In response to the material and political crises that marked the period 1938–1966, Egyptian aesthetic discourse increasingly drew upon the recognition of the experience of the everyday and mass culture. Within the everyday and mass culture, the presumed dichotomy between the contemporary and the traditional had to be situated in material and spatial terms. A rich Egyptian family of large landowners could support the Academy of Fine Arts, while their villa was under threat of assault by peasants organizing for better conditions of tenancy and pay.57 A salon of fine art could be shown in Cairo, while a festival with mass participation was suppressed by the Egyptian state as a threat to authority. Thus by 1938, in the midst of the global depression, artists and critics engaged in and undertook a polemic on the relation of the arts to the state and mass political movements. The resort to European fascist political ideology by supporters of Egypt’s large landholders led to a corollary emphasis in aesthetic discourse and cultural form by pro-regime supporters in the Academy and adjunct institutions of the arts. The elevation of the art academy as the institution of elite higher arts, convenient to administrative state formation, privileged the Nahda against its predecessors, which now had to be termed as the lesser arts.58 The elite as the interpreters of the Nahda, invented the division between academic art and folk art . A similar problem is presented by Wijdan Ali in Modern Islamic Art (1997) whose title is explained as: ‘an enigma that carries ambiguous connotations… the term modern conjures up a progressive, up-to-date

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condition…the word Islamic has overtones of tradition and religion, more relevant to the past than the present.’59 Hence, in all of these approaches Islamic art remains traditional and separable, and in a presumed discontinuity with the modern. The reason for this, Wijdan Ali assures us, is a result of the ‘decline of the Islamic arts’ following the weakening of political institutions in the nineteenth century. But the solution for the problem of an ‘undermined traditional art in the Islamic world,’ as proposed by Ali was found in the nineteenth-century ‘artistic renaissance’ or Nahda, which paved the way for ‘a modern Islamic art that encompasses Western aesthetics.’60 Most accounts of twentieth-century Egyptian art history and discourse assumed a hierarchical monopoly of art by a small academic trained elite, convenient to a colonial proxy monarchy, and a liberal, nationalist opposition.61 Other interpretations of contemporary Egyptian art rely upon a nationalist formalism. Sylvie Naef, in her important institutional study of the arts, A La Recherche d’une Modernité Arabe (1996), described al-Gazzar as a Nasserist, largely avoiding a discussion of his complex relation to the state.62 Naef sees the rise of modern art as a developmental or evolutionary process. Thus, art progresses from the introduction of European painting technique and Orientalist painting, which introduced the salon system of presentation, teaching and critique.63 Naef acknowledged the conflict between artisans as producers of art and the arbitrary institution of a ‘higher’ fine arts category via the salon painting. Without establishing the production of art and visual culture in early modern periods, the Ottoman and late Mamluk periods, or the cultural reforms of the nineteenth century, Naef lacks a historical foundation for asserting that the Arab world found itself marginalized and impoverished.64 Naef adopts the linear explanation of the formation of the plastic arts through a discussion of art instituions from the European salons of 1891 to the founding of the School of Fine Arts in Cairo in 1908.65 The history of the School of Fine Arts, from 1908 to the 1920s, is presented as the Egyptian nationalizing of the art academy, as Egyptians assume the transfer of power of a leading cultural institution from colonialism to the rise of nationalist artists, such as Mahmud Mukhtar and Muhammad Nagi. This transfer of power is, according to Naef’s chronology, the birth of the artistic milieu.66 Thereafter, if this methodology is upheld, the history of the art institution is the history of Egyptian modern art through 1952. With this institutional lineage established, the individual biographies of artists follow as products of its institutions. There is no real artistic conflict, until the ‘rupture onto the scene of the Egyptian Surrealists’ in 1938.67 The Surrealists mark a transformation based on a new

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style overthrowing the academic style of the elites. Naef further extends this school of styles analysis into a discussion of the Contemporary Art Group, formed in the late 1940s, as a corollary with pan-arabist thought and prototypical Nasserist nationalism.68 While Naef’s study is helpful as a comparative framework for studying twentieth century Arab art institutions, the potential for a historical approach to modernism in the Arab world may be seen in Nada Shabout’s Modern Arab Art (2007). Liliane Karnouk’s Modern Egyptian Art (1988) was another important work of comparative art history for an English readership. Karnouk followed other writers who regarded al-Gazzar, Hamid Nada, and Gamal al-Sagini as exceptions in the development of Egyptian art, whose arts were products of their upbringing in the old Cairo neighborhoods of Sayyida Zaynab, the Citadel, and Khan al-Khalili, and thus are examples of urban folklorists or traditionalists operating through a modernist medium.69 I differ from these approaches and argue that a comparative reading of the arts of al-Gazzar and the Contemporary Art Group may instead reveal the fuller intent and meaning of their arts projects. Similarly, the complexity of the Egyptian Surrealists cannot be determined through a single form, style or group identity, as the frequent changing of their exhibitions and renaming of their art groups demonstrate their episodic character. Thus, an emphasis on style and national identity assumes a linear succession of schools of artists, so that one style is the logical successor to another. This linear theory established a chronological nationalist art. What I propose, instead, is a paradigm that explains the social context and conflict found in Egyptian artistic discourse that went beyond a national secular model found in the Nahda paradigm.70 The secular progress model, offered by Naef, Karnouk, and Wijdan Ali, share the tendencies of the Orientalist presumption of progress and decline as relative categories in national art and history.71 Accordingly, the problems of the present or recent past can be explained as a theory of generalized decline, whereas the triumph of Egyptian nationalist modernism in the Nasser period is the culmination of a longer course of adapting Western modernization. The genesis of these values arose from the Nahda of the Egyptian elite, as a new time, which could be claimed against the time and space of political action by the masses. This notion of new time has been critiqued by Reinhart Koselleck as a trend toward claiming a neuzeit in modern European philosophy and history.72 An alternative to this Eurocentric emphasis on new time as an aesthetic new age, or Nahda, is to free the subordination of decoration and more popular and common forms of art by returning the concept of art to experience.73 Encouraged by the

The Social Horizon of Egyptian Aesthetics

15

aesthetic philosophy of the Egyptian Surrealists and Contemporary Art Group, the experience of art becomes pluralized with mass participation, the proliferation of festival arts, with their contemporary and traditional panoply of music, dance and decoration. ALTERNATIVES IN EGYPTIAN AESTHETIC DISCOURSE In this focus on the formation of arts in contemporary Egypt, I rely on the discourse produced on the experience of Egyptian aesthetics. The comparative treatment of culture has been developed by the historian Sayyid ‘Ashmawi’s interdisciplinary treatment of the history of political struggle between Egyptian peasants and the state. ‘Ashmawi’s al-Fallahun wa-l-Sulta (Peasants and Power) (2000) provides a method for discussing the combination of agency and political discourse, of which the arts were manifestations. A departure from the stagnation model of Eurocentric modernization theory emerges in Rabi‘ Hamid Khalifah, Funun al-Qahira fi-l-‘Ahd al-‘Uthmani, (The Arts of Cairo in the Ottoman Age) (1985). Khalifah’s work, which examines the considerable development in the arts in early modern Egypt in the eighteenth century, demonstrates the relation of long distance trade and artistic production.74 Khalifah’s methodology offers insight into a widened Egyptian aesthetic experience through the recognition of traditional crafts and artisanal arts.75 Similarly, ‘Izz al-Din Najib has drawn attention to this problematic in his useful and interpretive survey of twentieth-century Egyptian arts, al-Tawajjuh al-Ijtima‘ i li-lFannan al-Misri al-Mu‘asir (The Social Direction in the Contemporary Egyptian Artist) (1997). The social horizon of Egyptian aesthetic experience from 1938–1966 is interpreted here through its contestation with the crises that marked this period: the agrarian labor crisis, mass political movements, and contestation with the state. The emphatic choice and location of subject and the everyday by the artists Ramsis Yunan (1919–66), ‘Abd al-Hadi al-Gazzar (1925–66), the Contemporary Art Group, and the writer Nagib Surur (1932–78) are interpreted as representatives of an Egyptian artistic discourse from the 1940s to the 1960s. The development of a philosophy of aesthetics based on social experience and the locale of the subject was put forth in the writings of the Surrealists, particularly by Yunan, and the Lebanese art critic and professor of aesthetics at Ain Shams University, Aimé Azar in his L’eveil de la conscience pictorale en Egypte (1954). Their art and philosophy are contiguous to other proponents of aesthetic discourse amid political mass movements, ranging from the Muslim Brothers, Sayyid Qutb (1906–66), to the state corporatism of Gamal ‘Abdel Naser

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The Politics of Art in Modern Egypt

(1918–70). During this period, two of Egypt’s most symbolic and significant peasant uprisings at Buhut in 1951, and Kamshish in 1966, became subjects for the arts amid the rise of migrant labor, and civil crises leading to the 1967 War. The transformation from the open revolutionary appeal by artists at the beginning of this period to an emphasis on the subversive at the end of this period reflected the response of artists to the state’s project of extending land capitalism and the increase in migrant labor. The period 1938–66, may be contrasted with the interwar period, 1919– 38, when large landholders dominated the Egyptian state and cultural production. With its privileged but limited position coexisting with British occupation in Egypt, this privileged class expanded its wealth through cash crops and the shift to textile industries, and expanded its domain in the cultural sphere. Unable to garner mass support during the interwar period, the state appealed to the arts as an ideology for nationalism and a state administrative class. Government policy directly suppressed popular and mass participation in festivals, while pursuing a segregated use of the arts for elite formation, and crafts and vocational arts for the masses.76 The alternating succession of short-lived regimes used fascism to engender reactionary activism and allegiances to counter the rising mass movement of the Muslim Brothers and various groupings of the left that appeared after 1928. The Egyptian state absorbed and redirected these mass movements through combinations of persuasion and coercion into a corporatist solution that drew upon the direct experience of Egyptian intellectuals with Italian state corporatism in the 1920s and 1930s. While the 1952 Egyptian Revolution is commonly viewed as a break with the past, or more specifically with the so-called iqta’, or feudal position, of the large landowners which prevailed in the first half of the century, this break is reconsidered here against the experience of artists and intellectuals who transcend 1952. From the standpoint of the arts, the response by artists after 1952 indicates a continuation of the pre-revolution struggles among labor, intellectuals and the state. Artists who, prior to 1952, had openly opposed the old regimes of the landlord-dominated state were forced to reposition themselves again after 1952. During Nasser, the state expanded the outwardly public role of artists; the government bureaucracy utilized artistic production in support of the Aswan Dam and other state projects. Ultimately, numerous artists resumed their critical posture to the abuses and conditions of labor, particularly the working conditions on the Aswan Dam. These artists resorted to the use of the subversive, as a language of critical discourse against the state

The Social Horizon of Egyptian Aesthetics

17

and resumed a number of symbolic techniques begun during the late 1930s and 1940s by the Egyptian Surrealists. The period under study, 1938–1966, may also be contrasted with the position of Egyptian society after 1966 and the impact of the 1967 War. After the war, the culmination of social and economic pressures and Cold War power politics forced the state to realign its corporatist strategy in favor of the Sadat regime’s shift to internal repression and its open door strategy of accommodation with the West. Although not studied here, the arts of the surviving members of the Contemporary Art Group and the writing of Nagib Surur following the 1967 War emphasize discontent with the failure of the state and its policies. This may be seen in al-Sagini’s sculptural interpretation of this disquiet in his Simple People (1970), or in Sun’allah Ibrahim’s subversive rewriting of the state’s managerial abuse of labor conditions on the Aswan Dam in his Star of August (1974). SUMMARY OF CHAPTERS Chapter Two discusses the institutional formation and positioning of an elite aesthetics in Egypt based on land agrarian capitalist accumulation. In the interwar period (between the two World Wars), a relatively weak state, bound by limits of continued British occupation, relied upon a nationalist ideology to bolster the position of the large landowners and their expansion into other industries and banking, and accorded a space to intellectuals in the arts. Egyptian intellectuals, drawing upon their familiarity and experience with fascist corporatist theories in Italy, developed theories of state activism in the arts. The prominent artist and director of the Academy of Fine Arts, Muhammad Nagi, promoted the concept of art as a religion of the state. The Ministry of Education enacted a separate fine arts program for the elite, and a utilitarian program for rural reform and industrial education for the masses. Nagi and his contemporaries advocated a position for the arts that paralleled Giovanni Gentile’s solution in Italy for a program of fascist arts and education. Aesthetic discourse involved a debate among one strand of the elite who favored reforms in support of the large landowners, and those who increasingly sided with the upwelling of peasant revolts and popular resistance. Tensions and contradictions emerged over the dominance of the arts, in rivalries between the land baron and art magnate, Mahmud Khalil, supporters of fascist politics, and the monarchy.77 The range of this artistic genre could also extend nationalist ideology through the trope of classical Egypt, as in the large monumental sculpture, Egypt’s Renaissance (1919–28) with its idealized, symbolic peasant woman.78 The transformation of the village as a local unit into a nationalist

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The Politics of Art in Modern Egypt

symbolic space relied on the iconic symbol of the generic peasant culture with its strong tones of resistance to colonialism and the struggle in landlord- tenant relations.79 During this period, Mahmud Sa‘id’s emphasis on the feminine in his painting, al-Zar (Ritual of Song and Dance), 1939) may be seen as a subversion of the masculine authoritarian culture of the fascist parties. The claim to a special Nahda was upheld as the special achievement of the large landholding class, which instituted its own special arts academy in 1908 for the training of fine arts. Out of the Academy and affiliations arose prominent artists and works of art proclaiming the Nahda in prominent paintings and public sculpture. The Nahda project was a useful attempt by the state to develop intellectuals known in both the arts and social reform, as the ruwad or the pioneers, who could lead education reform and the management of rural reform to combat the perceived prevalence of ignorance, disease and poverty of the peasant masses.80 Rural craft arts were openly promoted for the peasantry in the 1930s by Habib Gurgi, and in the experimental Rural Social Centers administered under Ahmed Hussein.81 The nationalist model of Nahda modernity set the tone for the polemical debate and competition in the arts that followed. Chapter Three interprets the rise of the Egyptian Surrealists and Contemporary Art Group in the context of their opposition to the state and large landowners’ dominance of cultural institutions and the disparity of material conditions between tenants and landowners. By the late 1940s, the Contemporary Art Group emerged to forge a philosophy of the arts based on the aesthetic experience of ordinary Egyptians and everyday life. Following the reformation of the state after 1952, members of the Contemporary Art Group resorted to the subversive as a trope for commentary, as the state instituted a redirection for the arts as a component of state agency. Central to the state’s cultural project was a declaration of iqta’ or a feudal relation, between the large landowners and the peasantry. The institutional struggles and the posed alternatives in the visual and literary arts are set as a background out of which artists, like al-Gazzar, Surur and their contemporaries, emerge and struggle to maneuver within the state’s alternating currents of repression and official sponsorship.82 Radicals from the extreme right and left positioned themselves in fascist or Marxist positions in pitched discourse from 1938 onward. The tensions were openly played out through the revolutionary coup of 1952, after which the state reorganized the arts and other major institutions to their advantage, while maintaining the pre-1952 repression of unions and the Muslim Brothers. The solution of the post-1952 regime was to embrace corporatism through

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its use of the arts, and to dissuade emphasis on the social production and relations of capital and society put forth by intellectuals. In response, a number of artists, particularly those in the Contemporary Art Group, chose to mediate their own position between this repression and mass political action by resorting to interpretations of Sufism and the everyday in their art. Ramsis Yunan (1913–66), in his philosophical and artistic criticism is comparable to Antonio Gramsci’s theory of the development of organic and traditional intellectuals as products of social conditions and a specific temporal context. The extent of Yunan’s originality is evident in hi s major essays, from Ghayat al-Rassam al-‘Asri (The Aim of the Contemporary Artist) in 1938, through to his final essays in 1966. His early interest in combining Freud and Marx as analytical tools for the discussion of contemporary art and literary movements, and the goal of the artist to interpret and promote a new consciousness, was his hallmark as a critical theorist and artist. Yunan adopted a historical interpretation that alluded to the contemporary conditions in Egypt with its landlord and peasant struggles to the conditions of society and culture that led up to the French Revolution. He compared European art and non-European art as products of historical contexts and specific conditions through class analysis by intellectuals and artists. Chapter Four interprets the festival, a subject usually dismissed in Anglo-American scholarship, as bound in two temporal modes: in the present as an anthropological or folkloric model, or the past as a ritualized tradition. This artistic milieu based on celebration was contested by the state, and had its confrontational seeds in the peasant struggles of the mid-twentieth century against large landholders and authorities within the large market towns. During the depression of the 1930s, the suppression of festivals by the state and police was an attack against Sufis and the Muslim Brothers, which impacted small vendors and entertainers who depended on the many local neighborhood mawlid festivals. As successors to the Egyptian Surrealists, al-Gazzar, Gamal al-Sagini and other members of the Contemporary Art Group turned to the festival arts as subjects for art. The choice of the ‘arusa sugarine doll as a subject for a series of sculptures, paintings and brass works, began in the late 1940s and continued to the end of al-Sagini’s career and death in 1976. Al-Gazzar and al-Sagini realized that the festival scene in Egypt, as a traditional art, was not a simple folkloric art that was a window onto an ontological past; rather, it was an ongoing traditional art with a philosophical basis, which remade and re-presented the social experience of aesthetics.

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The Politics of Art in Modern Egypt

Chapter Five interprets the transformation of artistic discourse from the early 1950s as an open response to the historical problem of peasant-landlord agrarian struggles. A subversive commentary arose on the acceleration of the tarahil migrant labor problem and the issue of the Southern Question in Egyptian polity. Al-Gazzar’s painting and graphic works are compared with Nagib Surur’s writing as a commentary on the impending continuing crisis of migrant labor on state projects in Upper Egypt, and land tenant issues presented as themes and subjects of considerable difficulty. Surur’s adaptation of the Upper Egyptian folk ballad, Yasin and Bahiyya, into a verse novel, reflects an expanded treatment of the themes of the peasant polity, the village novel, the urban milieu of the masses, and the everyday. Chapter Six presents and interprets the development of a subversive artistic commentary on the consequences of state policies toward labor amid the material crisis of the early 1960s.83 The artistic discourse of this period is explored as two tropes. A first trope centered on the Aswan Dam and how it could be ideologically constructed for purposes of the colonial and nationalist regimes. This is compared with the initial representations of the dam in the fine arts, in the paintings and graphic arts of the 1950s and early 1960s, and the development of a second trope through which an emphasis on labor emerges, particularly in the graphic arts of ‘Abd al-Hadi al-Gazzar. The reevaluation and transformation of this second trope as a resort to subversion is compared with a discussion of Sun’allah Ibrahim’s two texts, The Man of the High Dam, a work begun in 1966, and his later work, Star of Augustus.84

Chapter 2 ART INSTITUTIONS, AGRARIAN CONFLICT AND FASCISM FROM 1908–40 The State, envisioning a social function reserved for the fine arts, is engaged in driving the artistic destinies of the country. These politics were imposed as the example of a religion of the state…. But the slow instruction of the masses that has endured since 1908 deviated from the interest of our artists that was formed in the course of these twenty-three years…. Muhammad Nagi, ‘Une Politique des Beaux-Arts en Egypte,’ (circa 1931)1 The cooperative movement began in Egypt in 1908, but up to now it has not taken the necessary steps. Among the reasons are the sluggish ignorance of the masses, and its neglect by the elite and its weakness of character. The chief cause is that the cooperative movement is mostly official, for which civil servants work, and the civil servants do not act responsibly as they should. Muhammad ‘Abd al-Bari. ‘On the Just Treatment of the Peasant’, al-Thaqafa. (January 1940)2 Rather, it is in the totality where the goals of different classes are divided and collide within society. These contradictions were opened up in the origins of the social crises by the explosive upheavals. Members from literature and poetry and philosophy struggled over the origins of this opposition and their works were distinguished with a mark of concern when it showed the different parties between the construction of a single class. Ramsis Yunan ’al-Hulm wa-l-Haqiqa (The Dream and the Reality), March 19403

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In this chapter, I argue that during the 1930s conflicts in the arts reflected broader struggles over Egyptian political power.4 Elites, who sought to maintain hegemony of their interests as large landowners, dominated the parliament, key ministries and local political offices, and were confronted with multiple forms of counter-hegemonic struggle from a diverse range of opposition. This opposition included intellectuals in the arts, the resistance of peasant agricultural workers, the conservative fascist movement of Misr al-Fatah (Young Egypt), and the Muslim Brothers which appealed to large groups of supporters in towns and cities. This debate in the arts was waged between proponents of the Nahda paradigm, who favored an elite program of a national renaissance in the arts, and its opponents based as journalists and employees of the Ministry of Education and secondary schools, who opposed the conservative agenda and advocated an art pedagogy of inclusion and participation of popular culture. The Nahda paradigm, a core of a conservative nationalist cultural policy following World War I, complemented the rural cooperative movement, which as early as 1909, promoted the increased capitalization of agriculture in the Egyptian countryside in order to shift the burden of costs onto small producers and tenants.5 By the end of the 1930s, the Nahda paradigm had lost efficacy and was effectively challenged by the rise of mass political organizations, including the Muslim Brothers which had made inroads into the teaching professions and appealed increasingly to both the urban and rural poor. The Nahda paradigm was also challenged by the rise of para-fascist organizations, as a militant option, to counter the more populist Muslim Brothers and leftist coalitions of socialists, communists and anarchists. Within the arts these para-fascist organizations found sympathy among elite administrators like Mahmud Khalil. A resistance to the Nahda paradigm arose from the teaching professions, particularly from those art teachers whose experiences in the rural countryside radicalized their experiences. Surrealists like Ramsis Yunan noted that the open nature of the political struggle in the arts underscored the divisions within the ruling class.6 THE COOPERATIVE MOVEMENT AND THE NAHDA PARADIGM I begin, however, by examining two short texts by representatives of the large landowners, Muhammad ‘Abd al-Bari and Muhammad Nagi, who mourn the loss of their class hegemony over the bulk of the working population, and particularly their agrarian workforce. As a consequence of this loss of power, Nagi and ‘Abd al-Bari offered a rationale for the restitution of the large landholders’ power. Both defended the stake of their own class

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in resorting to corporatism and the organization of economic production that became a strategy of conservatives in both Italy and Egypt from the 1920s. ‘Abd al-Bari revived the ideal of the cooperative to rationalize the landowners’ control of the share of capital. In these texts, the appeals of Muhammad ‘Abd al-Bari and Muhammad Nagi to 1908 as the age of the cooperative movement, or as the moment of the modern Egyptian Nahda, illustrate the ideological configuration of art.7 Writing from the midst of the global depression and struggles between landowners and peasant laborers, ‘Abd al-Bari and Nagi claimed 1908, the year in which the university and the fine arts academy were founded, as the formative time of a nationalist paradigm afforded by agrarian capitalist accumulation. In referring to 1908 these conservative writers had in mind the project of Egypt’s self-styled aristocracy to finance the College of Fine Arts and a university to bolster the formation of an administrative class.8 The memory of the academy’s foundation could be compared against the numerous contradictions of contemporary aesthetic and political discourse about Egyptian civil society. By the end of the 1930s, civil society had reached a crisis and ‘Abd al-Bari saw the fate of the cooperative movement transformed into al-Hai’a al-Ra’smaliyya or corporate capitalism, which was compromised by the lack of available money in distribution.9 ‘Abd al-Bari was writing amid the serial crises of Egyptian parliamentary dissolutions of parliaments and the rise of dictatorship in the 1930s. Writing in January of 1940, for the journal al-Thaqafa (Culture), ‘Abd al-Bari referred to the peasant issue as ‘this dangerous situation,’ and the most pressing problem facing Egypt.10 Pressured by a reduction in expropriations of crop surpluses, rising rents and low wages, peasants submitted petitions and responded in kind to the violence by the landowners’ militias.11 When ‘Abd al-Bari referred to 1908 as the age of cooperation, he meant to distinguish a period of relative calm that was seemingly devoid of the tensions between agrarian capitalists, tenant farmers and day workers. Essentially, ‘Abd al-Bari was alluding to a time in which he could recall the legislative proposals, submitted in 1909, by ‘Umar Lutfi Bey to form agricultural cooperatives as a way of increasing the capitalization of agriculture, the distribution of costs for mechanization and components of farming to small producers through cooperatives as a source of local lending to boost local marketing of goods, and the extension of small credit to form collective associations to purchase goods.12 ‘Abd al-Bari compared this earlier period for his affluent readership, as 1908 signified the establishment of two of Egypt’s most prestigious cultural institutions, the Academy of Fine Arts and Cairo University.13 He offered an economic explanation for the

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The Politics of Art in Modern Egypt

resistance of large landowners to peasant demands for increased pay, a lessening of rents, and a reduction in the appropriations of crop surpluses. ‘Abd al-Bari analyzed the three main issues under debate in Egypt and presented a remedy for each. The first was the demand for a raise in pay by farm workers. For ‘Abd al-Bari, this was a false issue as the demands for pay needed to be weighed against the risk and need for reinvestment in land and distribution by landowners.14 Against the charge that limits on wages were repressive, ‘Abd al-Bari noted the lasting impact of the 1929 Depression and the greater impact of foreign markets and buyers. Against the claim that demands for high rent and a reduction in the portion of crop surpluses appropriated by landowners were damaging to the tenants, ‘Abd al-Bari argued that the fluctuating uncertainty of climate and growing conditions harmed the value of the harvest, and required the discretionary control of the share of the yields by landowners as a precautionary measure.15 By turning to 1908 and the past, ‘Abd al-Bari sought a laudable period of success in economic and cultural institutions and the beginnings of ‘the cooperative movement’ in Egyptian civil society.16 The prominent issue of the interwar conflict was the agrarian labor struggles and the acceleration of a mass movement spurred after 1928 by the Muslim Brothers. Caught between the agrarian crisis and the mass organizations of the Muslim Brothers, the elite upheld state institutions and nationalism as the most viable ideology for unification and cooperation.17 The emphasis of leftists and the Muslim Brothers on teaching placed its members in a position as teachers to contest the power of the Ministry of Education and to oppose middlemen and officials who acted as agents for the large landowners in enforcing the terms of rent and crop appropriations. By the 1930s education became a stage of cultural and political struggle in which the agrarian issue surfaced. The conservative landowners upheld an elite program for education and the notion of the cultivation of culture, as represented in the position of Taha Husayn, who favored Western style reforms. Younger educators openly opposed Husayn’s intervention and his eventual rise to Minister of Education. This included a group of young art teachers employed by the Minister of Education and led in part by Ramsis Yunan.18 When Muhammad Nagi called for the use of art as a ‘religion of the state,’ he was responding to the recent rise of the Muslim Brothers, and the need of the ruling elite to counter its organization, which included its activism in education.19 Nagi relied upon his own, and that of other Egyptian intellectuals, experience in Italy, where the theories of state corporatism had appeared in the writings of Giovanni Gentile’s manifesto,

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Origini e Dotrina del Fascismo (1929).20 Gentile’s emphasis on a new spirit of the state argued for government institutions to supersede but coexist with religious institutions, such as the Catholic Church.21 In Gentile, Nagi found a religious analogy to idealism compatible with a state corporatist solution for cultural action.22 Nagi lamented the slow progress made among the masses since 1908 and saw education as a tool for their instruction and reform as a national project.23 For Nagi, the aim of art education was to reconcile the ‘instruction of the masses’ with the role of public sculpture, which in the 1920s, during the Nahda, enjoyed a prominent public role when the state sponsored public sculptures of nationalist leaders.24 Nagi was responding to his experience in Italy in the late 1920s, where his role as founder of the Egyptian Academy of the Arts in Rome acquainted him with Italian fascist intellectuals and cultural theory.25 Other prominent Egyptians would later openly display fascist intentions, including Mahmud Khalil, a land baron, art collector, and President of the Senate from 1938–40, and a prominent member of parliament and supporter of the governments of various prime ministers during the 1930s, including the notorious repressive tactics of the government of the Prime Minister Ismail Sidqi in the mid-1930s. Instead, Nagi chose a liberal path that allowed him to selectively absorb and distance himself from a particular position. In their composition and thematic emphasis on a verdant agriculture, Nagi’s landscapes of Italian and Egyptian country estates were cognizant of the cultural ideology of agrarian policy in Italy and Egypt. Nagi’s position is more analogous to Benedetto Croce’s critical but tangential relation with Gentile, than with a Salvemini, the liberal critic who opposed the Fascists from exile.26 From this stance, Nagi wrote his essay on the role of the state in promoting art in what he called the ideological use of the arts as a ‘religion of the State.’27 As the search proceeded for a cultural ideology to bolster elite intellectual development and state formation, the actual results of cultural policy transformed beyond what was imagined in 1908. Nagi envisioned a revived cooperative cohesion between elite pedagogy and the compliance of a mass public education scheme that would influence the role of an elite leadership in obtaining support and influence from the public. But by the 1930’s, this idealistic policy had altogether failed and the criticism of elite education and the shortcomings in public education arose as one of the major points of opposition to the state. In the arts, the emphasis on elite art education had its roots in the academy system, but the experience of a new wave of art teachers in the expanding program of national pedagogy challenged this elite orientation. First, let us examine the orientation and direction of the art academy in its intent as an elite program.

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The Politics of Art in Modern Egypt

FORMATION OF ART INSTITUTIONS The foundation of the Egyptian School of Fine Arts (Madrasat al-Funun al-Jamila al-Misriyya) in 1908 is historically upheld as the structural beginning of a modern professional institution for art training.28 For Egyptian art historians writing from the vantage point of the 1960s, the emphasis on the school’s value rationalized the Nasser government’s investment and strategy for the arts with its expansion of state institutions.29 During its first decade when the Academy was staffed and administered exclusively by European art instructors, the school was endowed in 1909 with a large bequest of over 10,000 guineas in gold by Egypt’s largest landowner, Prince Yusuf Kamal, in 1909.30 With this endowment, the School of Fine Arts emphasized the orientation of the large Delta landowners toward a refined notion of the arts. The first new building was erected in Alexandria, and the school soon reached an enrollment of 150 students. Given its aristocratic patronage, the school favored portraiture as the genre of painting. The leading portraitist was Ahmad Sabry (1889–1955), one of the first graduates of the academy. An orphan of Turkish parents, Sabry was raised at his aunt’s home in the neighborhood of Sayyida Zaynab in Cairo, but in keeping with the classical and aristocratic pretensions of the arts, he assumed the title of ‘bek’ or bey, along with other artists of the large estate landholding class, including Muhammad Bek Nagi, and Mahmud Sa‘id.31 Other artists emerging from the School of Fine Arts in the early decades included those from the administrative or bureaucratic class, such as Yusuf Kamil (1891–1971), the son of an engineer. Kamil, had graduated from the School of Fine Arts in 1911, and also became a teacher and administrator at the school from 1929 to 1950.32 Leading painters and teachers at the school during the interwar period included Raghib ‘Ayad (1892–1982), who graduated from the School of Fine Arts in 1911, and taught art at the Greater Coptic School; and Muhammad Hasan (1892– 1961), who later earned the label ‘Professor,’ for his long career as teacher and administrator at the School of Fine Arts. As a sign of Cairo’s importance, the School of Fine Arts relocated in 1927 from Alexandria to new facilities near Sayyida Zaynab Square, where it was also renamed Madrasat al-Funun al-Jamila al-‘Aliya (The School of the Higher Fine Arts).33 In 1941, at the height of the agrarian and parliamentary crises during which ‘Abd al-Bari appealed to the founding year of 1908, the college was renamed al-Madrasa al-‘Aliya li-l-Funun al-Jamila (Higher School for the Fine Arts). By 1950, the name changed again to al-Kulliyya al-Malakiyya li-l-Funun al-Jamila, (Royal College for the Fine

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Arts), thereby emphasizing its royalist affiliation and status as an academy during the final and desperate years of the old regime.34 Renaming the school reflected the resumption of royal patronage in the arts, beginning with the initial grant for the construction of the fine arts academy in 1908, and continuing since the late 1930s, when it began to receive increasing attention from the palace. For this first generation, entry into the conservative-based School of Fine Arts was a privilege for families from the landowning or administrative functionaries. In addition to its patronage from the royal family, the Academy also counted on the inclusion of aristocratic painters during this period: Mahmud Sa‘id, a member of the royal family, and Muhammad Nagi, a diplomat with royal family ties. All had studied studio arts in either Rome or Paris, a mark of distinction for entry into the ranks of teaching at the School of Fine Arts. For many of the early graduates, painting served as a validation of status and class position. In the genre of painting undertaken by the Alexandrian group, the techniques of Renoir were favored for the presentation of subject portraiture.35 While the portrait subject represented the elite’s own class, the generic nameless peasant or the old neighborhoods of Cairo remained as secondary subjects for street life portraits or sketches. The location of various studios, including Yusuf Kamil’s in the neighborhood of the Citadel in Cairo, presented life on the street and the everyday as subjects.36 The graduates of the arts academy formed the corps that Muhammad Nagi called upon as a new type of intellectual in Egyptian civil society. As one of Egypt’s most distinguished artists, and the first Egyptian director of its national academy of arts, Nagi is illustrative of the new career in the arts made possible after 1908.37 Nagi’s career was remarkable for the breadth of his experience and work as a lawyer, diplomat and artist. He was thus a central and formative figure in the plastic arts of Egypt from the 1920s to the 1940s, and was a transitional figure in the reconfiguration of intellectual positioning during this period of sustained crisis.38 His career as a diplomat, artist and art professor, served the ideology of the Nahda, which Egypt’s ruling class claimed as the cultural platform for upholding their special status as an elite caste as a rationale for rule over the masses. Egypt’s diplomatic corps during the interwar period invested great amounts of time and encouragement in the arts as a means of promoting Egyptian domestic and international influence.39 In the following sections I examine Nagi’s biography as illustrative of this trend.

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NAGI’S EDUCATION AND FORMATION AS AN ARTIST A milieu of politics and the arts were formative in the development of the young scholar and artist. Nagi was born in Alexandria in 1888 into a wealthy and well connected family. His father, Muhammad Musa El-Togby, was of Iraqi and Kurdish ancestry, and worked as director of the customs office in Alexandria.40 Nagi’s maternal grandfather, Rashid Basha Kamal was a governor of the Red Sea province; he was also the commander in chief of the army in the eastern Sudan and the borders of Ethiopia, and reportedly led an Egyptian army in the war between Ethiopia and Eritrea in the late nineteenth century.41 The combined experiences of his father and grandfather suggest that by the time Nagi was sent to Ethiopia in 1931 as a cultural attaché, he had learned the complexity of Egyptian and East African diplomatic politics. Nagi’s education was exceptional and distinguished. Prior to attending college in France, he pursued drawing in pen and ink under the tutelage of an Italian artist, Piattole, in Alexandria. He soon began painting and produced his earliest paintings, including Hulm Ya‘qub, (Jacob’s Dream) in 1907. In 1910, he obtained a baccalaureate degree in law at Lyons University in France. Thereafter, he moved to Florence, Italy, to study at the Academy of Fine Arts where he remained through World War I. NAGI AND MUKHTAR’S NAHDA PROJECT AND NATIONALIST IDEOLOGY At the conclusion of World War I, Nagi returned to France and sought tutelage from the elderly Claude Monet at his home in Giverney and they engaged in a discourse about painting.42 Nagi’s meetings with Monet occurred just as Monet was completing his Water Lilies series, which he donated to France as a victory and anti-war statement following the signing of the Armistice.43 By this time, Nagi had been painting for about a decade, and turned to developing his first mural, Nahdat Misr (Renaissance of Egypt), which was exhibited at a Paris salon in 1920 and was awarded a gold medal. This mural and its theme is important to note in terms of the development of the Egyptian national project for art, for it coincided with the better known sculpture of the same title Nahdat Misr (Renaissance of Egypt) by his colleague, the prominent Egyptian nationalist sculptor, Mahmud Mukhtar.44 Nagi and Mukhtar, who were both in Paris during this time, served the nationalist project in their shared experience of French and Italian art education, and in their symbolic reinvention of pharaonic legends as nationalist myths. Mukhtar, who became Egypt’s most famous artist of the first half of the twentieth century, had also shown a small

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model of his sculpture at the Paris exhibition in 1920, but his full scale sculpture of Nahdat Misr was not begun until the mid-1920s and finished in 1928 for placement outside Cairo’s main railroad station. It is now permanently placed at the gates of Cairo University.45 According to ‘Izz al-Din Najib, Nagi’s mural was acquired by the Egyptian parliament in 1922 and later placed or completed at the El-Shoura Council.46 The significance of this purchase is realized in the class membership of the early parliaments, which was dominated by the large landowners.47 Both Nagi’s and Mukhtar’s conception of the Nahda configured a formative ideology of Egyptian nationalism, anti-colonialism, and the Wafdist nationalist party. In the 1920s, the emphasis on the Egyptian Renaissance served the political platform of the Wafdists. Artists supported the Wafdist Nationalist platform when Mukhtar was active as a public sculptor, and the diplomat-artist, Muhammad Nagi, was painting abroad. The development in exile of nationalist ideology in culture and politics is noteworthy in the context of the nationalist leader Sa‘ad Zaghlul’s appearance as Egypt’s representative at the Paris Peace Conference in 1919, but whose return to Egypt was forcefully delayed by the British until 1921. An essay on the notion of the link of nation and an Egyptian Renaissance appeared in a 1920 column by Amin al-Rafa‘a who discussed Mukhtar’s return to Egypt.48 Al-Rafa‘a endorsed Mukhtar’s sculptural project as a glorious service to the nation. The Nahda revival appearing in Egyptian journalism and in Nagi’s and Mukhtar’s art was counter to Howard Carter’s sensationalized discoveries and forceful archaeological excavations of the royal tombs of Tutankhamen in 1922. As Renaissance of Egypt neared completion in January 1927, Mukhtar explained in an interview the plan to have the 14 meter tall sculpture placed in the public square in front of Cairo Station.49 In his interviews, Mukhtar noted he first conceived of the idea in 1920, while he was still in Paris. Mukhtar explained that he only began the piece after the Wafdist government approved financing for this expensive project. Accordingly the ownership of the sculpture was the Egyptian nation and people. Mukhtar stated, ‘The sculpture Renaissance of Egypt is owned by no one and was not made by any one individual, but it is owned by Egypt, and all of Egypt made it and rises from its base.’50 Indeed, the collaborative nature of the Egyptian Nahda project, and its immense scale had required teams of workers (see Figure 2).51 The sculpture is a marriage of the ancient sphinx at the base with an unveiled Egyptian woman rising above it as the symbol of the reawakened Egypt. The gesture of the Sphinx with its front shoulders raised as it begins to rise suggests the power of the new state. To reflect this new emphasis on

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nation and the public sphere, the sculpture depicts a generic peasant woman lifting her veil, as evoking the nation rising from the ancient Sphinx. The prominence of the unveiling doubled as a reference to the Egyptian women’s movement led by Mukhtar’s close friend, Huda Sha‘rawi.52 As Mukhtar explained, time was rhetorically represented as a comment on history, by reserving pink granite for the upper portions to separate the present from the past, represented in green at the base of the sculpture. Mukhtar deliberately construed the merger of regions as an issue of national unification, by his selection of granite from Aswan.53 The outpouring of

Figure 2 Mahmud Mukhtar, Nahdat Misr (Renaissance of Egypt) circa 1925–1928. Granite. Source Rushdi Iskandar, K. al-Mallakh, and S. al-Sharuni, Thamanun Sana min al-Fann. (Eighty Years of Art). Cairo: al-Hay’a al-Misriyya al-‘Amma li-l-Kitab, 1991, p. 23.

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specific poetry and journalistic commentary on the dedication of Mukhtar’s sculpture as a public monument to Egyptian nationalism affirms the ideological position and function of a new public art.54 At the sculpture’s public dedication on May 20, 1928, it was reviewed by the prominent literary critic and writer, Ibrahim ‘Abd al-Qadir al-Mazini for the newspaper, al-Siyasa al-Usbu‘ iyya (The Political Weekly).55 For al-Mazini, Mukhtar’s Nahdat Misr as a symbol of nationalist revival marked the remaking of an Egyptian government as it shared power with its British occupier. The successful reception of the sculptural project encouraged Mukhtar to produce a smaller and more portable version in around 1927, which was well received in Paris. The use of expensive materials was rationalized as a demonstration of the historic wealth and revival of Egypt, and as a counter to the presupposed wealth of Europe in their epochal periods of art, as in Michelangelo’s choice of marble in the Italian Renaissance.56 Sculpture also produced its own sub-genre, as represented by Mahmud Mukhtar’s aggrandized, oversized busts of key nationalist figures, Sa‘ad Zaghlul and Tala‘t Harb, which feature prominently along main avenues of downtown Cairo. By contrast, the peasant as a generic type, nameless and iconized, is represented in Mukhtar’s production during the late 1920s and early 1930s of a series of stone and bronze sculptures of women drawing water or bearing jugs of water from the Nile. The corollary production of nameless peasants in dozens of Mukhtar’s sculptures compared with his featured sculptures of named leaders of the Wafdist Party for public display at prominent locations in Cairo, and reinforced the notion of an elite leadership to lead the nameless masses. By the late 1920s, the emphasis on simplicity in beauty marked a trend by some Egyptian artists toward a formal solution in art and literature. The literary critic, al-Mazini, placed the appreciation of the work of art in the senses and personal subjectivity of the viewer, a view that had its proponents in the nationalist period in the corollary literary theories of ‘Abbas Mahmud al-‘Aqqad. In his interview al-Mazini, contrasted life in the countryside and the city, to which Mukhtar cautioned against such an over-reading of his art.57 Muhammad Nagi’s response to the publicity and reception accorded to Mukhtar’s sculpture was to acknowledge its widespread acclaim, and make an appeal of a similar role and recognition of painting in the Nahda. In his 1931 address, Nagi wrote that ‘hitherto, sculpture had monopolized the attention of the public powers.’58 Nagi noted that if art ‘is the expression of a people who are conscious of their destinies, what part does painting have in this rebirth?’59 The answer to Nagi’s question soon came forth from the open political struggles over public space and art.

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From the mid–1930s, competition over public sculptures had serious political overtones. When the Wafd government dissolved and the government of al-Nahhas was dismissed at the end of 1937, the dedication of a public sculpture of Sa‘ad Zaghlul was a symbol of divided forces among old Wafdists. The dedication was purposely suspended by supporters of the teenage King Faruq, who openly opposed the more liberal opposition.60 Proponents of the al-Nahhas government preferred sculptures of Sa‘ad Zaghlul and nationalist leaders, while supporters of the royal family preferred the dedication of sculptures of recent monarchs and obtained direct funding of their projects from Italian diplomatic and fascist sources.61 These rivalries over public art marked the contentious political crisis that marked the late 1930s and the 1940s. The considerable flurry of activity and support for public art projects by the royals and their supporters up through 1951 was a hallmark of their desperation against the rising tide of opposition from both intellectuals in the arts and from mass organizations on the ground. The expensive and failed attempt to complete and dedicate the large sculptural monument of the late King Fu’ad in Alexandria marked the last whimpers of the monarchical paradigm and coincided with a series of salons by the conservative Art Connoisseurs Society.62 Education remained a central concern for administrators and art teachers. By 1928, programs for cultural study abroad for art students and teachers augmented the elite education and professional development of career bureaucrats and diplomats. At the recommendation of the artist Ragheb ‘Ayad, the establishment of an art academy in Rome was proposed to the foreign ministry’s consul Sadeq Henein, who had been Egypt’s ambassador to Madrid.63 This proposal was implemented by the Egyptian government to foster diplomatic relations with Italy and establish an institute of arts for Egyptian students.64 At the same time this elite orientation was contradicted in public education, with the open dismissal by elite administrators toward the arts of the masses, or what ‘Abd al-Bari called their lack of character. The open disdain of numerous artists toward the politician and art baron Mahmud Khalil underscored Khalil’s vitriolic Eurocentric assumptions about art and elite cultural formation held by members of the Art Connoisseurs Society, and marked the debate over the role of art in education.65 ART EDUCATION AND NATIONALISM From the late 1920s through the 1940s, as the large landowners were faced with an upwelling of peasant resistance, the ruling elite turned to fascism, and the Academy resorted to pedagogical and authoritarian models based on

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its comparative experience with Italian culture. The arts became a stage for open disputes for proponents of the monarchy who turned towards increasingly para-fascist dress and militant displays, as shown in the conservative Ahmad Husayn’s Misr al-Fatah (Young Egypt) movement and the military bust sculpture of the late King Fu’ad by Muhammad Hasan in May of 1940.66 These outward demonstrations showed how the turn to fascism could be culturally inscribed into political forms. Egyptian intellectuals in the fine arts compared Italian theories of an active policy of the state toward the arts, as Egyptian educators turned to Italian fascist theories of education. The pivotal figure for Egyptian educational and artistic theory was Giovanni Gentile (1875–1944), Mussolini’s Minister of Education. Gentile’s voluminous writings and speeches influenced Egyptian educators and intellectuals during the interwar period. Gentile’s theories about reforming public education through pre-vocational phases of learning in the industrial arts appeared in an Egyptian educational journal.67 Other essays in the same journal advocated the reform of rural education in Egypt to emphasize not only the general improvement of education in village schools, but also the ‘raising of the level of life’.68 Education reform and the call to include a program of specialized art training had been advocated in Egypt by Ahmad Fahmi al-‘Amrusi, at an education conference in 1925.69 Al-‘Amrusi held the view that the fine arts were a refinement of taste that could only be promoted through education.70 As new groups of artists arose from a wider array of social backgrounds, many began to enter the arts institutions of Alexandria, Cairo and the Egyptian Institute for Arts Studies in Rome, Italy. Critical commentary on the arts for those less privileged had been based since the late nineteenth-century in journalism, in part, because of the limited avenues for academics and teachers during the interwar period. Art criticism and the prolific production of special journals in aspects of the arts and trades flourished during the late nineteenth century and provided a forum for a new urban articulation in the discourse of the arts and cultural and social polity. The number of journals and newspaper columns on the arts and applied crafts proliferated against the exclusively imported model of the high arts emerging in the high arts institutions of the elite. Increasingly, the notion of self-promotion of the arts through special announcements and circulars arose as a solution to the problem of censorship and limited venues.71 Journalists opposed the elite imported model of European modernity in the arts. This change in tactics and tempo had numerous manifestations. These currents in journalism, which culminated by the late 1930s

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in the organization and publishing of a series of revolutionary styled art journals by the Egyptian Surrealists, directly countered the aesthetic ideology of the elite and nationalized paradigm of the Nahda model, with its binary opposition between elite culture as an attained discourse and the generalized cliché of an ignorant mass of peasantry.72 These journals with their emphasis on the realization of social and aesthetic experience for the common Egyptian contrasted with the conception of elite arts posed by the so-called pioneer generation from the landowning class. For instance, the appearance of the first weekly review of movies in 1923 may be better understood in the context of an arts journalism that had developed since the late nineteenth century in photography, theatre and music.73 Aesthetic ideology among the landowning class from the 1920s to 1930s relied on a nationalist model of the ideal villa and village, which increasingly became a subject of scandal for the rich and mockery and scorn from the peasant laborers. As the villa in the countryside became an increasingly volatile and dangerous place for the land property class, the urban villa in Cairo and Alexandria marked the diversification of economic holdings, in banking, in textiles, and manufacturing. This transfer extended into the arts. The ideological construct of the village as a local unit and transformation of the market towns into a nationalist symbolic space was a feature of the artistic discourse during the interwar period and framed a subject of considerable debate. The interwar period was marked by the material separation at the level of village politics between those who held substantial power, the large landholders in the Delta, and those with limited power, the landless and poor peasants with small holdings. The ideal village conflicted with the reality of the peasant as an agent in political practice, framed within this artistic discourse. Muhammad Nagi’s paintings of his family with their attendant peasant harvesters and servants represented the peasant and the village as separate from, but dependent on, the landowner and the villa. Nagi’s paintings of the family country villa display an overt patriarchy and caste-like structure. Beyond the village, the larger market towns, including Ikhtab in Daqahliya province, were regional centers for justice and civil administration were dominated by the large landowning families.74 The literary model for the confrontation between landowners and peasant laborers arose from a discourse of the Nahda with the ancient past as a model of the present Egyptian state. The adoption of the novel from European literary forms was begun in the early twentieth-century novellas, including Haqqi’s proto-novel The Maiden of Dinshaway (1906), and Muhammad Husayn Haykal’s Zaynab (1914).75 As a village novel,

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Zaynab inferred the cooperative hegemony of the land property class through its links with local officials and journalists.76 As a son of wealthy landowners, Muhammad Husayn Haykal’s development of the novel compared with the literary and philosophical career of ‘Abbas Mahmud al-‘Aqqad. Al-Aqqad, like other Egyptian literary figures of the interwar period, avoided the agency of peasants and preferred to uphold pharaonic culture as a continuing influence on life and the peasantry.77 The pharaonic revival was a convenient trope for a landowner class that dominated governmental institutions and implemented oppressive land tenancy and labor laws by reviving the risen pharaoh image as a metaphor of authority of the monarchy. THE NEW GENERATION OF ARTISTS While the art academy was dominated by the large landowning families, the expansion of the art academy and art education allowed the inclusion of a new generation of artists from middle peasant and urban middle classes. As new students arose through the ranks and became teachers and journalists, they fostered resistance through satire. Dissent within the art academy over the course of art education for the masses was centered around the state’s domination by the landowners. Even within the upper caste, a few dissented, including the aristocrat Mahmud Sa‘id, who emphasized the feminine and mysticism as a means of countering the authoritarian trend in politics and culture. Sa‘id’s numerous paintings of women in public and semi-private celebrations, including his paintings Banat Bahari (Women of the Sea) and al-Zar (1939), emphasize women as subjects that counter the trends toward the militant patriarchal sculptural projects of Muhammad Hasan and others of the same period. The expansion of art as a teaching career allowed for the rise of new intellectuals whose interest in pedagogy sought to extend the arts into the secondary schools, where the arts were tailored to vocational training, and drawing skills for applied training.78 This expansion was in large part a byproduct of government support, through an expanding Ministry of Education, to promote art education in secondary schools. The leading proponents of this pedagogical emphasis in the arts were Habib Gurgi (1892 – 1964) and his proponents, Yusuf al-‘Afifi, Hamid Sa‘id, Shafiq Raziq Sulayman, and Husayn Yusuf Amin. With the exception of Amin, all were graduates of the Madrasat al-Mu‘allimin al-‘Ulya, the Higher Teachers’ College, and became prominent art teachers in secondary and arts institutes. With their international experience, particularly in Spain and in Latin America where Amin traveled and worked during the 1930s,

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they emphasized the application of the arts to the needs of their students, whether in Cairo or in rural town centers. Led by Amin’s reformulation, this generation formed a philosophy and pedagogical theory that challenged the academy’s reliance on European formalism. Amin’s leadership encouraged a philosophy of social response and active participation of art teachers and students to organize exhibitions and journals. This emphatic shift represented the transformation to a new type of intellectual.79 These art teachers were assigned to locales removed from the academic settings of the Alexandrian and Cairene School of Fine Arts. Al-‘Afifi became a teacher of drawing at a secondary school in Upper Egypt where he taught, with Labib ‘Ayub, such prominent art students as Kamal al-Mallakh, Sa‘ad al-Khadim, and two of Egypt’s most prominent Surrealists, Kamal al-Tilmisani and Fu’ad Kamil.80 Kamil graduated from the Teachers’ College, and later from the Academy of Fine Arts. Amin’s artistic training and experience in Europe and Brazil influenced his comparative thinking about a social philosophy of the arts, and influenced another group of students in Cairo where, in the 1940s, he taught among others, ‘Abd al-Hadi al-Gazzar and Hamid Nada. Together this group of art teachers and their students were the corps that promoted a radical departure from the university and Academy centered focus for the arts that had served the function of elite state formation in the 1920s. At this critical junction in the mid–1930s, Ramsis Yunan emerged from the School of Fine Arts in Cairo. Yunan was known for his immediate and unrelenting rebellion against the European styles and ideas emphasized at the academy. After dropping out from the School of Fine Arts in 1935, Yunan joined the Group for the Advocacy of Art, headed by Gurgi, who bestowed an honorary degree on Yunan from the Teachers’ College.81 Yunan deliberately chose to side with artists from the Teachers’ College, and at about the same time he began his teaching in secondary schools in Tanta, and towns in the Delta region. Whereas Yunan fell out from the School of Fine Arts, the Teachers’ College had supported Yunan and allowed him to develop a more inclusive and critical philosophy than at the academy. The art academies responded in kind to this struggle by advocating an expanded institutional framework for an elitist national program for the arts, while at the same time supporting a secondary program of art instruction for the masses. In 1927, the sculptor Mahmud Mukhtar advocated the development of a national collection of art from contemporary art exhibitions. He also called for the development of an advanced art school for teacher training, and a national program of pedagogy of the

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arts to be instituted in all primary and secondary schools.82 Mukhtar’s program was only partly implemented. In 1928, a letter from Mukhtar to the Committee of Fine Arts restated his advocacy of the establishment of a national program.83 This was the same year that the ‘teacher’ Hassan al-Banna founded the Muslim Brothers. The inadequacy of public education and its demand by the public provided one of the impetuses for support for the Muslim Brothers and became an issue for the arts. For the state, art education was only an adjunct to a broader program for education. The expansion of education found a reactionary solution by promoting youth camps. In 1929, articles on the use of youth camps for education in Fascist Italy appeared in Egypt’s education journals.84 The youth camp program was useful in countering the rising of the Muslim Brothers, which was also seeking to develop youth organizations. While the promotion of rural camps to train body and mind had made inroads by the end of the 1920s, the Muslim Brothers promoted its own journal and organized its own youth movements, as in the Young Men’s Muslim Association in 1927. By 1935, the Muslim Brothers implemented its scouting organization, The Rovers, which grew in such strength and numbers that by 1936 the monarchy had to accept their presence as a civic policing force, acting as ushers and maintaining crowd order. In the late 1940s, the Rovers were providing public services in health and sanitation.85 The Brotherhood’s youth organizations responded to problems in rural and youth education, thereby generating support in rural towns and cities. In 1946, reports on problems in rural education by the Committee of Education were a response to the Brotherhood’s initiatives.86 It is revealing that in the decade after the late 1930s, the implementation of art education drew upon Upper Egyptian (Sa‘idi) graduates from the art academy to teach in secondary schools in the towns of the Delta and Upper Egypt. This experience in the late 1930s gave Ramsis Yunan his comparative understanding of the difficult rural conditions in Upper Egypt and in the lower Delta region, and spurred his radicalism and resignation from the Academy of Fine Arts. When Nagi referred to 1908 as a point of comparison with the failure to implement a cultural program for the masses, he also anticipated the promotion of a folklorist strategy about to be implemented in the arts. This was led by Habib Gurgi, who was sent on a scholarship from the Ministry of Education to England in 1921.87 By 1938, Gurgi began a program for instruction for children in selected villages with the aim of teaching the arts to poor peasant children.88 Collectively, Muhammad Nagi’s complaint in 1931, Habib Gurgi’s pedagogy during the 1930s, and Taha Husayn’s

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writing in his 1941 book, The Future of Culture in Egypt, may be seen as a late response to the crisis of public education and the realization of the inadequate response by the state in fulfilling this need.89 Concern for public education and art institutions as a national policy had been included in the early nationalist projects of the 1920s. The key difference was the limit of the extent in application between the ideal and the reality, or by 1940 what the art critic Ramsis Yunan would call the difference between the dream and the reality. The use of art, however, had another utility for the state and for Egyptian diplomats, for whom art was an extension of their function as cultural attachés. EGYPTIAN DIPLOMACY WITH ETHIOPIA AND NAGI’S ROLE AS CULTURAL ATTACHÉ IN 1931 In the decade of the European partition of Africa from 1875 to the Congress of Berlin in 1884–1885, Northeast Africa witnessed expanded attempts at state formation from at least four or more regionally based national and social movements.90 The governments of Egypt and Ethiopia embarked on expansive diplomatic and military maneuvers in the Sudan and Eritrea. It is worthwhile to note the various strategies of negotiation and compromise that marked the relations during this period among the four main social and state formations in Northeast Africa, comprised of the Egyptians, Ethiopians, the Sanusiyya in Libya, and the Mahdists in Sudan. The significance of these four separate but interrelated movements during the period 1875 to about 1902 held significant influence upon a later generation of Egyptian diplomats and in particular, the formation of Muhammad Nagi and his approach as cultural attaché to Ethiopia in 1931. Egyptian military occupation of the Anglo-Egyptian Sudan began with Khedive Ismail’s occupation of the Sudan in the 1870s.91 Most accounts see Egypt’s initiatives into Anglo-Sudan as a client state serving British interests, primarily to keep Italy’s expansion into Eritrea in check. Others see the Egyptian state as the irrational and self-fulfilling nature of Khedive Ismail seeking personal grandeur.92 However, this may now be viewed as a Eurocentric view of history.93 Following the defeat of the Egyptian and Turkish forces in Eritrea in 1874–75, Egyptian policy was more restrained and diplomatic initiatives were begun with Ethiopia in a series of border and land exchanges in 1884.94 The long involvment of the Nagi family in Egyptian and Ethiopian diplomatic relations provided Nagi with an insight on regional cooperation when he was assigned cultural attaché to Ethiopia in 1931.

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In the early 1930s, he requested and received an assignment from the Egyptian Foreign Ministry as a cultural attaché to Ethiopia, where he painted both court scenes and daily life.95 During this period, it appears he underwent a personal transformation in his philosophy of art, and began to reorient his art toward African origins and sources of tradition, an orientation he probably shared with his sister, the artist Iffat Nagi.96 In childhood, Nagi developed an interest in the legend of the Bride of the Nile, and other ancient and traditional folklore. He returned to these themes in his art as an adult in his painted murals of the Bride of the Nile and Isis series. There is considerable evidence for the continued development of cooperative Egyptian and Ethiopian ties during the entire period of Nagi’s diplomatic and artistic career. Egyptian and Ethiopian diplomats in the early decades of the twentieth century shared similar interests in promoting the monarchy as an institution for reform and national unity.97 In the decade before Nagi’s posting to Ethiopia, the young Haile Selassie I initiated some diplomatic exchange with Egypt in 1924.98 By 1928, Egypt reciprocated by establishing a consulate in Addis Ababa.99 During Nagi’s stay in Addis Ababa, the local Amharic press repeated the warning of Gebre Heywet (d. 1919), the Ethiopian diplomat, palace treasurer and head of customs, that unless action was taken, Ethiopia could become a dependency of the Europeans.100 Nagi had an especially productive period for sketching and painting. His paintings during this period show his interest in portraying indigenous rule in Ethiopia as an alternative to colonialism. A photograph from 1932 of his studio in Addis Ababa shows a large stack of paintings depicting markets, outdoor judicial and other official court scenes, including portraits of Haile Selassie in the capital city and rural scenes in outlying regions.101 A 1932 painting of frontier soldiers with rifles, entitled Jama‘a min Haras al-Hudud, (A Group of the Frontier Guards), suggests Nagi’s awareness of the border disputes and threats facing Northeast African countries and the mounting presence of European and Italian forces in the coastal regions. Another painting Maydan Adis Ababa Manalik, reveals Nagi’s awareness of the role of Emperor Menelik II and the battle of Adowa in 1896. Two structures, both references to the Battle of Adowa, frame the composition of the painting. To the upper left is the octagonal domed St. George’s Cathedral, built to commemorate the victory of 1896 by Menelik II.102 The square is located outside the main gates of St. George Cathedral.103 To the upper right is an equestrian sculpture of the Emperor Menelik II on a raised plinth as the conqueror of the Italians and the founder of the state. In the middle ground is shown a religious or official procession.

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Figure 3 Muhammad Nagi, Jama‘a min Haras al-Hudud (A Group of the Frontier Guard), 1932. Source: Effat Naghi, et al., Mohamed Naghi: un impressioniste Égyptien, (Muhammad Nagi: An Egyptian Impressionist). Sahafiyin, Cairo: International Press, 1988, unnumbered page.

The composition of these structures around the square of Menelik II shows Nagi’s historical knowledge and its significance for him as a diplomat. The bronze statue of Menelik II was erected by Emperor Haile Selassie in 1931, the same year in which Nagi was posted to Ethiopia, and the new sculpture is featured prominently in the painting.104 This series of paintings offer insight into the diplomatic function of a cultural attaché and the importance accorded to Egyptian and Ethiopian relations in this period. Nagi’s assimilation and engagement with Ethiopian culture and political realities on the ground attest to his dual function as an artist and as a diplomat. When Nagi returned from his year in Ethiopia, several dozen of his Ethiopian paintings were shown at a salon in Cairo in 1932. This show suggested an increased interest in Ethiopian relations that, by 1934 and 1935, spurred a series of published comments and articles in the weekly

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Figure 4 Muhammad Nagi, Maydan Adis Ababa Manalik (Menelik Square–Addis Ababa), 1932. Oil on Canvas. Source: Mathaf al-Fannan Muhammad Nagi, Muhammad Nagi, 1888–1956 (Muhammad Nagi, 1888–1956). Cairo: Ministry of Culture, 1990, p. 110.

al-Risala, and the newspaper al-Ahram. The first of these articles appeared at the end of 1934, ‘Abdullah ‘Inan’s ’al-Ma‘raka bayna Ithiyubiyya wa-lIsti‘mariyya al-Gharbiyya,’ (The Conflict between Ethiopia and Western Imperialism).105 Members of the Young Men’s Muslim Association, under the direction of Shaykh Muhammad Rashid Rida, also gave support to the Ethiopian cause and organized a Committee for Defense of Ethiopia. Around this time two Azhari shaykhs were sent to Addis Ababa for the purpose of supervising volunteers and providing support for the Emperor Haile Selassie, who at this time sought Muslim support and allowed them to open a madrasa in Addis Ababa.106 Other prominent articles included a front page al-Risala editorial in August 1935 on the Ethiopian cause, that argued against the overt imperialism of the West and the Italian invasion of Ethiopia as a black mark on history.107 Similarly, a serialized series of five articles by Taha Hashami on technical and military aspects of the Ethiopian army’s defeat of the Italians at Adowa in 1896 appeared between October and December 1935.108

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Interest in relations with Ethiopia continued, and Nagi included a reproduction of his Maydan Adis Ababa Manalik in his 1948 essay, ‘The Modern Artistic Directions,’ for the weekly journal, al-Risala.109 NAHDA AND NATION AS NARRATIVE PAINTING After his return from Ethiopia, Nagi returned to the painting of national history and daily life in the countryside.110 Nagi’s Egyptian landscapes during this period render the stratified class patriarchy of the land proprietary class in Egypt. By the 1940s, at the height of accelerating peasant and landlord tensions, Nagi turned to his family’s country estate, and portrayed his father as a landowner in two related paintings, Nagi’s Family in the Countryside and Nagi’s Father in his Country Estate. In both paintings, the landowning Nagi family set themselves apart from the fellahin peasants and the ajir day worker in dress, posture and gaze. As landowners, the family are all shown in a relaxed position, either standing or seated, oblivious to the labor going on about them. In Nagi’s Father in his Country Estate (n.d.), Muhammad Nagi’s father is dressed in trousers and coat, with his hands tucked in his coat, visiting among three peasants planting or tilling the soil in his fields, shown in the right foreground.111

Figure 5 Muhammad Nagi, Tibb al-‘Arab. (Medicine of the Arabs), 1934–1939. Oil on Canvas. 260 × 190.5 cm. (Painting for Alexandria Hospital). Source: Hassan Al Thani Collection. Image courtesy of Mathaf: Arab Museum of Modern Art.

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Nagi’s thematic development of subjects in an Egyptian context of working lives, professions and trades marked an expanding concept of state building, productivity and a heritage of science and knowledge. The heritage sequence marked his historicizing of themes of knowledge as precursors of the imagined Nahda of his own peers. His panel paintings, from 1934–39, for an Alexandrian hospital, present the historical development of Egyptian medicine in two panels, Imhotep or the Medicine of the Ancient Egyptians, and Ibn Sina or Tibb al-‘Arab (Avicenna or Medicine of the Arabs). These may be interpreted in relation to another painting from this series, al-Tibb fi-l-Rif (Medicine in the Countryside, 1935).112 These paintings prefigured the depiction of medicine as a subject for a following generation of artists, as in al-Gazzar’s inclusion of medical themes and popular talismans, charms and cures in his artwork.113 Nagi’s monumental interpretive murals for public buildings in Alexandria and Cairo are comparable to the symbolism of the Mexican muralists, whose work Nagi emulates in a formal sense, but he differs with the Mexican artists’ ideological and political emphasis on revolution from below. Nagi’s influence on other artists is evident in al-Gazzar’s paintings, including al-Salam (Peace) and al-Mithaq (The Contract) (1963). Those paintings show temporal and spatial divisions familiar in Nagi’s murals, including his large mural for the Council of Alexandria, Madrasat al-Iskandariyya (The School of Alexandria), on which he worked from 1939 to the early 1950s.114

Figure 6 Muhammad Nagi, The School of Alexandria, circa 1939–1952. Oil Painting. 3 × 7 m. Source: Effat Naghi, et al., Mohamed Naghi (1888–1956): un impressioniste Égyptien, (Muhammad Nagi: An Egyptian Impressionist). Cairo: International Press, 1988, p. 45.

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Nagi’s pre-war diplomatic and continental experience enabled his promotion as cultural attaché to Italy following World War II, and later as Director of the Egyptian Academy of Rome from 1947–50. His 1948 speech at the Venice Biennale reflects the internal crisis of civil society and the raging cultural discourse on class conflict within Egypt. Nagi lectured at the Venice Biennale for a humanism of the arts. In that lecture, Nagi compared the shared heritage of the arts and architecture of Venice and Cairo as ‘the arts capital of the Middle East,’ against the insensitivity of English soldiers in war time Cairo.115 The allies, he admonished, had ‘disregarded images and semblances that were indicative of life.’ To avoid upheaval and move toward a cooperation between nations, Nagi argued that societies must heed ‘new developments in art and the interpretation of philosophical conflict.’116 By comparing Cairo to Venice, Nagi could rationalize an Egyptian civil society based on traditional culture, recognizing what he preferred to view as the common heritage of historical architecture. His observations of the condition of Venice as an old city with its traditional base of arts allowed him to make an analogy of the simultaneity of the past and present in a city of traditional arts comparable with those of Cairo. Wary of the recent devastation of the Second World War, he turned to art as a medium for reconciliation not only between nations, but between traditional arts and modern forms.117 In the post-war transformations in the Egyptian Arts, Nagi’s humanism was a discourse against the war. He envisioned the artist’s role in interpreting the consequences of war on civilians, from Goya on the Peninsular Wars to Picasso on modern bombardment. The relation of art and war and the responsibility of the arts communities to exchange experience and philosophical discourse against its devastating consequences were put forth by Nagi, at the 1948 Venice Biennale. His liberal attitudes towards the arts were more cautiously contained in his practice of painting, in which his landscapes retained the perspective of a landholding class rather than to a subservient laboring class of peasants. Unlike his contemporary, Ramsis Yunan, who distinguished between the specific utility of a particular position of philosophy, Nagi retained the notion of taste and connoisseurship by seeking what he called the combined gifts of metaphysics, and abstractionism, surrealism, subjectivism, and Freudism.118 Nagi’s language attempted to assimilate the nationalist middle path of artistic discourse with the problem of the masses in the late 1940s. Nagi also drew upon his experience as a cultural attaché to Ethiopia and Brazil, in extending the contrast between secular modernism and abstraction and what he sought as a metaphysical solution. In his search for a

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reconciliation between religious traditions, the problem of modernity as an ideology, and the coexistence of nationalism and religious traditions, Nagi noted how these were subjects excluded from ‘the international art.’ In contrast, Nagi argued that the ‘Renaissance of the East’ drew upon a rich ‘spiritual depository’, and ‘upheld beauty in tradition.’119 MAHMUD KHALIL AND INTERNAL STRUGGLES OVER ARTISTIC PRODUCTION AND CENSORSHIP With its patronage and endowment as a land grant institution, the School of Fine Arts could not escape the currents of dissonance over the socioeconomic inequities between landowners and rural labor. Some of the leading art instructors at the School of Fine Arts including Muhammad Hasan, a lawyer and artist and supporter of the monarchy, drew satire for political magazines, underlying the trend toward subversive criticism and a schism among nationalists.120 In 1939, Hasan’s satire of the land baron and art magnate, Mahmud Khalil, and the Art Connoisseurs Society as ‘The Dictatorship of the Fine Arts’, lampooned Khalil’s Eurocentrism and fascist

Figure 7 Muhammad Hasan, The Dictatorship of the Fine Arts, 1939. Drawing. Source: Rushdi Iskandar, and K. al-Mallakh, Khamsun Sana min al-Fann. (Fifty Years of Art). Cairo: Dar al-Ma‘arif, 1962, appendix of photographs.

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tendency, as Khalil was known as a supporter of the authoritarian prime minister Ismail Sidqi during the mid-1930s and the monarchy’s decision to dismiss the government of al-Nahhas in 1937.121 In that cartoon Mahmud Kahlil is shown on the platform on the left, beside leading functionaries of the Muraqibat al-Funun al-Jamila (Surveillance of the Fine Arts). Other genres of the arts wrought their own subversive tones of caricature and protest. The sculptor Mahmud Husna (1899–1955) produced a caricature of the art magnate Mahmud Khalil, that matched the drawing of Muhammad Hasan, by transforming the fascist leaning director of the Art Connoisseurs Society into ‘The Peddler of Art.’ It showed Khalil as a street vendor pushing a cart filled with art.122 Husna’s work served as a precursor and prototype for the genre of peasant sculpture, as advocated in the post1952 arts of al-Sagini, and Mansur Faraj, whose sculpture The Building for the Arts posited the potential force of construction labor and material in sculpted brick.123 Through the 1930s and the final phase of the critique of colonialism, the Egyptian criticism of the Italian invasion of Ethiopia, the emergence of a post-colonial discourse in the arts, the inheritance of an Orientalist discourse and the bifurcation of the arts as traditional and modern were entrenched into a number of dominant institutions of the privileged arts. Based around the status and surplus accumulation of a caste of large landowners, art history and academic arts took the lead from al-’Aqqad’s discourse on beauty, which paralleled the universal claims of the Italian contemporary, Benedetto Croce, for the precedence of form over content. Although he was Upper Egyptian, al-’Aqqad’s argument for openness toward Western forms of knowledge as modernizing choices paralleled his preference for Egypt’s entry into the world markets.124 The discursive debates in the arts between a Mediterranean-based position for the arts via idealism, and the content school, led to a search for more realist content driven African alternatives vis-à-vis colonialism.125 This paradigm shift is apparent in the career of Muhammad Nagi as a prominent artist of the ‘School of Alexandria.’126 The School of Alexandria emerged and flourished from the period 1908–1930, when the liberal national platform required the development of an international cosomopolitan caste of privileged artists who oriented themselves towards Eurocentric models. By the end of this period they began to reorient their subject matter toward exclusively Egyptian themes, particularly as Cairo became a more important center in the 1930s. Nagi’s turn away from a Mediterranean model was realized in part through his association with Nahima Sa‘ad, (1912–45), who has been labeled by some as the first prominent academic artist from Upper Egypt.127

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Figure 8 Mahmud Husna, The Peddler of Art, n.d. (prior to 1955). Sculpture. Source: Rushdi Iskandar, K. al-Mallakh, and S. al-Sharuni, Thamanun Sana min al-Fann. (Eighty Years of Art). Cairo: al-Hay’a al-Misriyya al-‘Amma li-l-Kitab, 1991, p. 40.

As the Surrealists and the Left critiqued the use of classical arts, the conservatives continued to organize their own art exhibitions. In searching for a direction for the arts in the emerging crises following the prolonged depression and crisis of World War II, the conservatives relied on a revival of neo-orientalism to sustain a two-fold emphasis on the academic salon and art pedagogy. The salon system based in Alexandria permitted the grooming of elititist interpreters of art. With Cairo’s increasing importance as an institutional and intellectual center, the position of Alexandria waned, and the shift to Cairo required a recentering of the arts strategy. The sentimental and aggrandized monument to the worker as a nationalist symbol was recognized by the award of the Friends of Mukhtar prize in 1944 to ‘Abd al-Badi‘ ‘Abd al-Hayy, for al-‘Amil al-Misri (The Egyptian worker).128

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Among the institutions of art used by the conservatives, The Art Connoisseurs Society was founded and run by its chief patron, land baron and art collecting magnate, Muhammad Mahmud Khalil, whose fascist politics, support for the dictatorship of the Sidqi regime in the 1930s, and preference for Eurocentrism in all modes of the arts was the target of ridicule and resentment from both liberals and the left. Khalil’s openly Eurocentric preference in painting offended numerous artists, and provoked famous satires of his autocratic and dictatorial style.129 The Art Connoisseurs Society held salons and exhibitions through the 1940s, and as late as 1951 the Salon of Cairo was sponsored under the auspices of the ailing Khalil, who died later that same year in Paris.130 Similarly, the Women’s Salons were increasingly important during the 1930s as annual events and are subjects that are not well studied.131 When in 1928, Muhammad Nagi completed his painting of his family estate, variously entitled Nagi Family at His Father’s Country Estate, or The Village, the villa mansion was a prominent symbolic feature of the landscape of the conflict between landowners and laborers in Egypt.132 Villa building was a prized architectural contract and a symbol of wealth both in the countryside and in its urban corollary. The villas of Cairo included the royal family palaces at ‘Abdin in Cairo, and estates that were built following the riverside to the west of Cairo. A stylish offshoot of the grand scale villa, symbol of the power and accumulation of the largest landholding families, was also developed among the wealthiest of the artists including, Muhammad Nagi. Nagi, whose family country estate featured in several of his paintings, later built a stylish modern garden villa in the al-Ahram gardens in Giza for himself.133 During the most serious phases of the peasant rebellions in 1951, country estate villa owners were under threat and siege. Sayyid ‘Ashmawi compiled examples of the confrontational symbol and space presented by the qasr or villa, as a scene of class conflict from the 1920s through the 1990s.134 The turn toward representing these struggles by artists opposed to the state, in the late 1930s and continuing through the early 1950s, is a feature of the counter-hegemonic struggles of intellectuals and laborers that supports ‘Ashmawi’s detailed research. These struggles confronted the major patrons and supporters of the academic and studio arts in Egypt who favored the country landscape and portrait genre of the interwar period. The most violent of four major uprisings in 1951 was in Upper Egypt at the large 16,000 feddans (or acres) family estate of Prince Yusuf Kamal, who had been the main patron of the Academy of Fine Arts.135 The location of

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these struggles exposed the arts as a privileged program of landowning families who attempted to maintain their hegemony of power through the arts since 1908. The connected threat of material insecurity among the peasantry, set against the ostentatious accumulation of capital by the landholding families, prompted the conditions and context for radicalism in the arts during the 1940s and 1950s. Among the most ostentatious of these urban villas was the Beaux-Arts villa of Mahmud Khalil (d. 1953). Khalil’s villa was so prized, that for a period of his presidency, Anwar Sadat took it as his residence, and forced the relocation of the art collection before its restoration as a museum during the Mubarak presidency.136 By the late 1940s, the academicism and the Nahda ideology were rejected by a cluster of artists and art organizations. The rejection was launched by the Egyptian Surrealists in the late 1930s by Ramsis Yunan and Georges Henein who, after 1948, had a major split with André Breton and other French and international Surrealists over their support for Israel.137 This anti-academic posture was also taken up by Husayn Yusuf Amin, the distinguished artist, art professor, and supporter of the Republican cause in Spain. Amin’s introduction in the catalogue of the Contemporary Arts Group exhibition in 1949 reflected the sophisticated debate underway, and influenced the critical writings of a generation to follow, including the Lebanese art critic Aimé Azar.138 After a review in Le Progres Egyptien derided the show at which ‘Abd al-Hadi al-Gazzar exhibited his painting al-Ju‘ (Hunger), both al-Gazzar and Amin were arrested. They were soon released from prison after the efforts of artist-lawyers Muhammad Nagi and Mahmud Sa‘id, whose position as a relative of the royal family no doubt helped. While this incident and the painting’s renaming to The Chorus of Life or The Theatre of Life were briefly mentioned by Subhi al-Sharuni in his book on al-Gazzar, the fuller context of the painting, its meaning, and the range of thematic and social conflicts presented were not well explained in scholarship.139 It was not until 1952 at his studio in the al-Ahram gardens suburbs, that Nagi completed his large painting, Madrasat al-Iskandariyya (The School of Alexandria), which he had begun in 1939. The painting portrays the contemporary Alexandrian elites in a classical Greek-Egyptian setting. The Lighthouse of Alexandria survives in the background, while the décor of the foreground includes painted tile scenes from the Italian Mannerist style. By 1952 Nagi became the Director of the Museum of Modern Art in Cairo, an appointment he took up after serving as director of the Egyptian Academy in Rome since 1947.

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After Nagi’s address at the first Venice Biennale in 1948, in which he advocated the exchange of Egyptian and Italian art in a post-war world, an exhibition of Italian art was held in Cairo in 1949 at the conservative Art Connoisseurs Society.140 The exhibition of pre-selected Italian works of the eighteenth and nineteenth century was reviewed by the literary critic Anwar al-Ma‘dawi, whose preference for an exhibition that excluded the avant-garde social activism of Italian post-war arts, as led by Guttuso, was indicative of the contested role of the arts in Egypt in a time of internal crisis.141 Insight into the repositioning of the class position of the arts may be seen in Nagi’s final works after 1952, including his National Unity (1955), as a panoramic search for symbols and themes linking class and region. The deliberate balancing of the composition in National Unity juxtaposes urban intellectuals on the right against the cluster of peasants on the left. An artist at the far left stands against the backdrop of the bay of Alexandria, and the land of Upper Egypt is suggested with the winding of the river. The composition of National Unity may be viewed as a continuation of the unresolved angst and wish for a harmonious hegemony of the landed proprietary class over the peasant subject.

Figure 9 Announcement for sculpture by Fathy Mahmud of the late King Fu’ad. Front page of al-Ahram, March 28, 1951.

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In 1948 Nagi addressed a Congress of Art Critics with another call to an age of cooperation.142 Citing the cooperation between artists and critics of nineteenth-century France, between Baudelaire and Delacroix, and of the twentieth century between Apollinaire and Picasso, Nagi offered artistic cooperation and discourse as a universal language. In Nagi’s idealism, the international language of art offered a new vocabulary that raised the universal attributes of humanism, or what he referred to in 1949, as ‘The Spirit of Modern Art.’ In the next chapter we take up the development of the philosophy of art and its socio-political context in the dynamics of revolution and mass movements set against the material conditions of Egypt’s agrarian labor struggles. Nagi’s appeal to a spirit of modern art is compared with the polemic of artistic discourse featured by Egyptian Surrealists after 1938 and the Contemporary Art Group from the late 1940s. By 1951, an openly pitched polemic emerged over exhibitions and public display of artworks. Earlier in the year, a massive, oversize bronze cast sculpture of King Faruq’s father, King Fu’ad (d. 1937) was in the final stages of preparation and intended for display as a large public memorial.143 The scrapping of this project in the aftermath of the 1952 revolution tipped the momentum of the arts toward a new search for a public art and rhetoric. Years after the 1952 revolution, a reappraisal of Nagi and Mahmud Sa‘id’s influence on the succeeding generation of artists resonated in two of Yunan’s later essays. On Sa‘id’s death in 1964, Yunan wrote an interpretive appreciation in his essay, ‘World of Mahmud Sa‘id,’ for the newspaper al-Majallah. Yunan noted Sa‘id’s emphasis on the feminine. Sa‘id’s femininity, Yunan argued, drew as much from a search within Eastern traditions, as in Hindu art, than upon a simple modeling of classical form from Greek art. Yunan implied that Sa‘id’s art was counter to the authoritarianism in the Egyptian polity and culture of the 1920s and 1930s, as shown in Sa‘id’s series of stylized portraits of women in dance, and gestures of the everyday.144 A link between the conflict emerging in the arts of the interwar period and the unraveling of the old regime’s hold on the arts after the war is evoked in the sculptural production of Gamal al-Sagini (1917–76), the former winner of the establishment’s Mukhtar prize, who, a year after the defeat of the 1967 War, returned to mocking the autocrat art collector, Mahmud Khalil. In his copper plate caricature, entitled Khatwa 1952 or ‘Footprint 1952’ Khalil’s face is shown wearing the old fez hat, symbol of the ruling class, with a footprint stamping out his face, with the date of the revolution and the title. Khalil’s familiar face had also been featured in al-Sagini’s 1962 copper plate sculpture, Shajarat al-Masir (Tree of Destiny).

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Figure 10 Gamal al-Sagini, Khatwa 1952 (Footprint 1952), 1968. Hammered copper. 76.5 × 36 cm. Source: Kamal al-Mallakh, Gamal Es-Seguini. Cairo: General Book Organization, 1985, appendix.

Figure 11 Relief of Mahmoud Bey Khalil, President of the Art Connoisseurs Society, 1940. Bronze Sculpture. Source: Rushdi Iskandar and K. Mallakh, Khamsun Sana min al-Fann (Fifty Years of Art). Cairo: Dar al-Ma‘arif, 1962, appendix of photos.

The fuller context of al-Sagini’s rivalry and criticism of Khalil is evident in al-Sagini’s sculpture and design of the commemorative medals for the Alexandrian Biennale. These medals in their design counterposed the autocratic portraits of Khalil in profile on commemorative plaques and medallions issued under the old regime.145

Chapter 3 ART IN EGYPTIAN CIVIL SOCIETY, 1938–51 …So it wasn’t the aim of the artist to just toss out a work of art. A tradition of the exhibition of the natural, and its meaning was not that it fled from life, but that it had penetrated and plunged into reality. Its meaning was not a prescription or plain exercise in the taste of the sublime, or harmony of forms and charming scenes; and its meaning was not as a decoration of life; it was in its expression of what life inspires in us to give back. Henry Moore, as quoted by Ramsis Yunan, ‘The Aim of the Contemporary Artist,’ published by the Society for the Advocacy of Art in 19381 In these crucial days of difficulty, the artists in this country live in tall aristocratic towers…. For this peasant has an art of his own that sustains him, and it is not that art of the educated class. Kamil al-Tilmisani (circa 1941–2) 2 By 1938, as the agrarian crisis in Egypt deepened, the Depression, food shortages, low wages, expropriations of crops and forced rents opened a polemic among Egyptian intellectuals over the role of the state and the looming threat of fascism. With the dismissal of the government of Mustafa al-Nahhas at the end of 1937, the political turbulence underscored the weakening of the Wafd Party. Opponents of the old Wafdists and supporters of the monarchy resorted to openly fascist tactics, including the establishment of youth organizations and the Blue Shirts, the fascist front of the young Wafdists who modeled themselves on Mussolini’s Black

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Shirts. The serial crises of agrarian struggles and parliamentary stalemates between nationalists and monarchists led to increasingly militant stances by the paramilitary fascist organization Misr al-Fatah (Young Egypt) as a counter to the Muslim Brothers. When Mahmud Khalil resigned from the Wafd and assumed the presidency of the Senate in 1938, his ascension opened a new phase of struggle in politics through culture and the arts.3 In this context, caricatures and satirical sculptures of Khalil appeared in 1939 that parodied him as the icon of a ‘dictatorship of art.’4 Leading intellectuals from all political stances addressed these issues directly. The cultural journals were peppered with articles on the problems of everyday life and the material crises with such representative titles as ‘Abbas al-’Aqqad’s ‘Food for the Rich,’ in which he raised the problem of food shortages and inequity as an issue for reform.5 Within the year, articles in al-Risala and al-Thaqafa, drew comparisons with French and Italian nineteenth-century landscapes as a model for the recognition of the countryside as a subject. In journalism and the arts, suffering became a part of the recognition of the everyday, as articles appeared on Millet’s nineteenth-century paintings of French peasants. As the war in Europe encroached into the cover pages of Egypt’s cultural journals, Zaki Muhammad Hasan wrote an essay for al-Thaqafa, entitled ‘The Angelus,’ with a reproduction of the 1859 painting by Jean Francois Millet (1814 –1874).6 Hasan wrote about Millet’s interest in the ‘the daily labors of the peasant’ as a depiction of the conditions of French peasants. Hasan’s mention of Millet’s own peasant origins, and his listing of paintings of social conditions, including Les Glaneuses (The Gleaners), reflected a broadening interest in the artistic subject of the peasant and the rise of the peasant as artist. Although in Millet’s painting there is a prayer scene of a man and a woman in the fields which is generally regarded as the evening prayer with the sun setting, an Egyptian reader could link the prayer with the issue of workers taking breaks in the fields at a time when the issue of compensation of peasant farm workers was paramount.7 Hasan introduced ‘The Angelus’ to his readers as a Catholic prayer in Southern Europe offered at dawn, noon and sunset, and compared the origins of the prayer’s stanzas from the Gospel of Luke 1:28 –31 with passages from the chapter on Maryam in the Quran. The discussion of Millet had other relevance. Mahmud Khalil, the powerful former Minister of Agriculture, was a collector of nineteenth-century French landscapes, including Millet’s color drawing, Le Jardin de Millet, circa 1854 –1855.8 The outpouring of artistic discourse increased with the rise of fascist politics in Egypt. By 1936, the Wafd Party abandoned the liberalism of

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the early 1920s and organized youth as political cadres. The members of the youth cadres dressed in notorious blue shirts, a mimicry of the Italian fascist black shirts, as their sign of a structured renaissance of youth and nationalism.9 A rival party, Misr al-Fatah (Young Egypt), was led by Ahmad Hussayn, and was formed with an emphasis on recruiting youth known as the Green Shirts. Both were a direct response to the Muslim Brothers’ organizational activities, some of whose members also wore blue shirts as a mass political uniform. So heated were these rivalries that al-Nahhas openly accused the Green Shirts of being in the pay of Italy.10 The choices of mass political movement were now a part of multiple manifestations and choices in politics and culture that were seen in the arts. By September of 1940, the notion of an ‘arts of the everyday’ entered into the discourse of Egyptian artists and critics. In his article, ‘al-Funun al-Yawmiyya,’ (The Everyday Arts), Yusuf Hamam noted how the arts were the reflection of multiple choices in daily life, resulting from the expansion of multiple forms of thought and communication, as in painting, photography, newspapers, and the knowledge of ancient and modern forms of art in the Egyptian experience. The arts of the everyday included the daily acts of writing and reading.11 The markers of time and space entered into the expansion of the routines of everyday life. The everyday also extended to the space and choice of selecting clothes as fashion and appearance on the street. In this way, Hamam was drawing upon the experience of the urban flanneur, already apparent in the writing of the Egyptian poet and journalist Bayram al-Tunisi.12 The expansion of philosophical discourse about the everyday confronted two other tendencies in Egyptian arts, the upholding of an academic pictorial orthodoxy and a turn toward an interest in mysticism. Salons were sponsored by the Art Connoisseurs Society under the auspices of Mahmud Khalil, which preferred the pictorial orthodoxy of the landscape and portrait. But by 1942, salon exhibitions began to include portraits of religious shaykhs engaged in meditation or Sufism.13 ‘Abd al-Rahman Sidqi reviewed Sa‘id’s painting of a meditating shaykh, Shaykh Yusalliy (A Shaykh at Prayer) at an exhibition, and Sidqi noted the metaphysical aspects of the shaykh’s emaciated body sitting alone on the floor in a deep state of reflection. In his review, Sidqi described Mahmud Sa‘id’s ability to render the true realities of life, by presenting the natural bond that connects reality with the dream. But Sidqi differed in emphasis from Ramsis Yunan’s critical 1940 essay, ‘The Dream and the Reality’, which pointed to the many contradictions inherent in a philosophy of the arts that marked the everyday in the capitalist divisions of class and society. These

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contradictions had shown up in earlier debates in the arts and posturing over public sculpture.14 In December 1938, 31 writers, artists and lawyers signed Georges Henein’s manifesto, ‘Long Live the Degenerate Art.’ Henein’s manifesto launched a polemic against the elitist and autocratic nature of Egyptian cultural institutions and civil society at large.15 Henein was responding to the banning of what was judged as the repulsive arts and poets, Shu‘ara’ al-Ishmi’zaz, and specifically to the Nazi entarte kunst exhibitions at Munich in 1937, in the campaign against the so-called degenerate art.16 Soon after the Manifesto on Degenerate Art was proclaimed, the Surrealists emerged as followers of Henein’s initiatives. The Henein family was prominent and owned a textile company. Georges Henein (1914 –1973), the son of Sadiq Henein, a Coptic minister in the government of King Fuad I, and an Italian mother, was educated in Spain where his father was assigned as Ambassador in 1924, and later in Italy where his father was transferred.17 Soon after his return to Egypt in 1934, he was a published poet in French and had befriended André Breton and other Surrealists in Paris.18 When Henein offered his lecture series on surrealism in Cairo in 1937, it had an immediate political relevance for a younger group of educated and aspiring artists and writers. Among his adventurous projects in organizing small publishing efforts and events, was the formation of a literary group called the ‘Essayists,’ who compiled the Dictionnaire à l’usage du monde bourgeois, with its subversive definitions of prevailing cultural terms. In Dictionnaire, Henein used outrageous and provocative definitions. The museum was ‘a large aggrandized official garbage heap,’ and an honest woman was a ‘sexual monopoly.’19 These definitions were directed against the exploitation of the two groups most exploited in Egyptian society, women and the poor.20 Henein’s attack on the museum had direct connotations, for Muhammad Nagi had envisioned the museum as a forum for nation building.21 Henein and his peers were forming an anarchist critique, which he defined in the Dictionnaire as a ‘victory of the spirit over certainty.’ They were undermining the appeals to the spirit of youth that were hallmarks of the nationalist youth movements of the Wafdists. Henein’s initiatives led to a chain reaction of varied but short-lived artist groups during 1937–45, including the Essayists and Henein’s own Independent Art Group. This critical approach extended into pedagogy where its advocates included Hussayn Yusuf Amin, whose return from South America in 1930 offered an experience of Latin American arts, in addition to Nagi’s own experiences gained from his diplomatic posting to Brazil. Aimé Azar, a

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Lebanese art critic and professor of aesthetics at Ain Shams University, credited Amin’s experience in Latin America with encouraging an emphasis on the appreciation of popular culture and its applicability to the arts in Egypt.22 In November 1938, in the wake of the degenerate art debate, Henein and Kamil al-Tilmisani collaborated in producing an illustrated edition of poems, Déraisons d’ être, which included a poem defending the defeated republic of civil war Spain.23 Their publication was a counter to the academicism of the annual Cairo Salon, held under the autocratic auspices of the Art Connoisseurs Society and its president, Mahmud Khalil.24 Those signing the Degenerate Art Manifesto were a cross-section of artists and journalists, including Muslims, Jews and Copts.25 It also included a number of immigrants, and the anarchist Italian artist, Angelo de Riz, who fled Mussolini’s purges and found refuge and welcome in Cairo.26 Among the signees were ten members of the lawyers’ guild, including one woman, who together lent authority to the group. From the late 1930s, as the state imprisoned intellectuals for subversive political acts, the addition of lawyers signing a manifesto of the arts was a defensive maneuver.27 The absence in the manifesto of signatures of other Egyptians who were both artists and lawyers, Mahmud Sa‘id, Muhammad Nagi, and Muhammad Hasan, who were well connected within the cultural hierarchy of the state, is revealing of the polemic underway. Sa‘id’s absence suggests his ambivalence over his political posture in the late 1930s, and is consistent with the development of the subject of his painting subjects during the 1930s. During this period, he sought his own path against the development of authoritarianism in Egypt by stressing the feminine and mystical.28 Sa‘id’s emphasis on the feminine and the mystical was also noted in the critical review of contemporary Egyptian arts, by the Surrealist, Kamil al-Tilmisani, in his 1940 essay for the journal al-Tatawwur (Development).29 The manifesto, ‘The Degenerate Art Is Alive’ spurred a critical reaction by conservatives in the journal al-Risala. The first of these articles regarding an exhibit in Cairo staged by Art and Liberty Group appeared in July, 1939 as a short review by the editor, ‘Aziz Ahmad Fahmi. In Donald Lacoss’ analysis of this liberal-nationalist cultural discourse, Fahmi was dismissive of the artists and renamed them as ‘the Degenerate Art Group’ and was critical of their apparent lack of support and organization, and noted that no one had bothered to look up the exhibition and could not even find the announced exhibition.30 In the following edition, Anwar Kamil, a signer of the Manifesto of Degenerate Art, replied to the editor.31 Kamil defended the aims of the group to disseminate the ideas of international culture and

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socialism to Egyptian youth through art. He signed his name on behalf of Society of Art and Liberty, and stated that the appellation ‘permanent committee’ was a purposeful rededication by its members to address what had been observed by Fahmi as the ephemeral character of the avant garde art groups. While the Art and Liberty Group was deliberately or mistakenly mislabeled and referred to by Fahmi as the Degenerate Art Group, the influence of its manifesto and polemic would resonate and reverberate through a series of new art groups and publications.32 The Art and Liberty Group was formed by Yunan, Anwar Kamil, his younger brother Fuad Kamil, and Kamil al-Tilmisani. A prevailing feature of these artist associations was their anarchic stance and a pronounced counter-academic stance.33 In their opposition to the Academy of Fine Arts, they sought transitional associations with emerging artists. Several of those who had participated in Henein’s Independent Art Group in 1945, Kamil Yusuf, Sa‘ad al-Khadim and Ibrahim Mas‘udah, became prominent members of the Contemporary Arts Group.34 When Kamil announced the ‘Art and Liberty Group,’ he described it as anarchist. Art and liberty, Kamil stated, did not exist merely for the sake of art as an end or ideal in itself, or as ‘art for art’s sake.’35 Rather, art presented itself in response to what Kamil called the sick and deranged condition of contemporary Egyptian society. Kamil defended the ephemeral nature of art groups as a response to volatile social and economic conditions and unraveling of types of power in Egypt.36 Nasri ‘Ata Allah Susa replied to Anwar Kamil, and adopted an idealist position.37 He asserted that the Degenerate Art Group failed in the ‘defense of the spirit of art,’ which should emanate from the ‘warm heartfelt sentiments of humanism and not from a manifesto.’38 Susa stated that the Degenerate Art Group and Kamil had merely adapted an essentially French Surrealist movement and ideology. Although Kamil sensed the sentiment for revolutionary action and participation in political parties, Susa countered that a sentiment for beauty must be based on a belief in the advance of humanity. Susa argued that the manifesto’s implicit support of a movement for violence was to put society’s ‘structures at risk.’ In this way, Susa allied himself with the state as it confronted subversive political activity by intellectuals. Within a short time in 1940, Kamil would be jailed for his activity with the Art and Liberty group and for his role as editor of the radical art journal al-Tatawwur (Development), which ceased publishing after only six months.39 Al-Risala’s editor, ‘Aziz Ahmad Fahmi, also wrote an article that borrowed from the title of Anwar Kamil’s Art and Liberty Group, ‘al-Fann

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wa-l-Hurriyya.’40 For Fahmi, ‘art and liberty’ was an ideal separable from the agency sought by the members of the group. Kamil al-Tilmisani, one of the signers of the manifesto, replied in al-Risala, attacked the mislabeling of the group by Fahmi as degenerate, and defended Art and Liberty as the unrestricted expansion of the arts as critical expression, inclusive of the Egyptian experience.41 He directly countered Fahmi’s idealism and nationalist claims to Egyptian authenticity and recentered the group’s discourse within the wider context of intellectual and artistic choice of action, whether the artists wrote or presented in French or Arabic.42 Al-Tilmisani’s position echoed his 1937 Neo-Orientalist Manifesto which, according to Aimé Azar, sought to relocate the subject of the arts by reclaiming it from the Orientalists.43 This ephemeral and short-lived use of neo-orientalism was founded upon a confidence of the validity and assured stance of intellectuals, who, versed in international cosmopolitan culture, could assert themselves into developing tropes of representation of local cultural milieus. The reexamination of Orientalism recognized and relocated a subject into the multiplicity of artistic experience.44 Neo-orientalism, as a comparative social philosophy, epistemology of the arts, and the locus of a psychological experience of art, invoked Yunan’s 1938 catalogue essay ‘The Aim of the Contemporary Artist.’45 YUNAN’S SURREALISM Ramsis Yunan’s contribution to the series of debates in the weekly al-Risala was his article on the Surrealist movement, ‘Harakat al-Siriyalizm’ of which only the first part of an intended two-part piece was ever published.46 He prefaced his essay by developing the context of the series of crises of intellectuals and Egyptian society. Yunan warned it would be a mistake to consider the Surrealist movement as ‘only a literary or artistic movement,’ and noted the multiple forms of poetry, literature, painting and cinema. In response to the charge by the conservative critics in al-Risala that surrealism was purely a political ideology or movement, Yunan maintained that surrealism was at once artistic, political, philosophical, and psychological, and was free to draw upon the passionate revolutionary poetry of Rimbaud, Baudelaire, or Lautréamont, from the philosophy of Hegel a belief in freedom, from Marx the interpretation of history, and from Freud the psychological composition of the mind. Surrealists undertook their own mythological creation as part of what Yunan called ‘a new collective.’ In this essay, Yunan advocated a historical foundation for philosophy and art. In the context of Egypt’s rural labor crises of the late 1930s, he called attention to Marx who ‘returned the preference for history to the foundations

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to the foundations of class warfare.’47 For Yunan, it was the Surrealists who expressed in their cultural criticism the needs of present society and the reformation of a philosophy of art as socially produced and experienced. The final word in this series on Degenerate Art in al-Risala came from the editors and Husayn ‘Abdallah al-Sayyid in October of 1939.48 Al-Sayyid tried to explain away the flurry of debate wrought by the Surrealists as a youthful endeavor, whose responses were indicative of what al-Sayyid called their great love of country. Al-Sayyid concluded his summary of these articles by dismissing the nature and essence of the Art and Liberty Group as merely an emotional response.49 Following their editorial expulsion from al-Risala, the Surrealist successors of the Degenerate Art Manifesto formed the Art and Liberty Group and organized the first Surrealist and Marxist journals and art exhibitions. By January 1940, the first of five monthly issues of al-Tatawwur (Development) appeared. Its critical essays emphasized the role of the intellectual and a revolutionary critique of Egyptian society and culture. Each issue was prefaced with a statement addressing the need to critically analyze the present condition of society, and various essays addressed critical issues through each author’s own artistic discipline or form. A variety of essays and short stories, poetry and one-act plays were integrated with drawings and graphics. These articles dealt with the problems of culture and political economy, including poverty, women’s rights, the economic causes of prostitution, and the inequity between rich and poor. Seeking what Roussillon and Roussillon have called a ‘pedagogy of subversion,’ the Egyptian Surrealists provided a transition of revolt that prefaced the relocation of the subject within an Egyptian context.50 In 1940, Henein started contributing to the Egyptian art journal, Don Quichotte. Henein positioned the Egyptian artists as stateless and transnationals, a fraternity freed of religious structures, symbolized by the church bell tower or the minaret.51 However, Henein was hindered in reaching a broader audience by his reliance upon writing almost entirely in French. Yunan, Henein’s colleague and friend, was the new key figure of the Egyptian Surrealists. Yunan’s 1940 essay, ‘The Dream and the Reality,’ written and published in Arabic, situated the struggle of revolutionary engagement on the two overriding material needs of the Egyptian masses, bread and land.52 His emphasis on the contradictions between contemporary capitalist society and the social conditions of the masses in Egypt was underscored by his recitation of the multiple contradictions in society, the division of social classes and the disparity of material conditions, hence the contrast between the dream and the reality.

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This polemic set surrealism as an articulation of the subversive. The interaction of artistic agency with the political reality of mass political struggles against the state forged another critical direction in the arts. The Contemporary Art Group, formed in 1946, emphasized an inclusive participation of art and the aesthetic experience of popular culture. Aimé Azar, first developed this comparison in his 1954 monograph, L’Eveil de la Conscience Pictorale en Egypt.53 THE MEDIATION OF THE ARTIST BETWEEN THE EVERYDAY AND MASS POLITICAL MOVEMENTS The relation of Egyptian artists to the Muslim Brothers as a mass movement from the late 1930s has been avoided outright by scholars who assume the plastic arts arose and exist as a secular totality.54 Similarly, extension of the use of the arts and visual images by the Muslim Brothers has been neglected.55 For artists graduating from the art academies after World War II, the presence of the Muslim Brothers was unavoidable. From the late 1940s, artists associated with the Contemporary Art Group turned to ordinary Egyptians and their daily lives for their subjects. The critical stance of the Contemporary Art Group was a successor to the Surrealists in their opposition to the pictorial academicism and nationalist ideology of a Nahda in the arts that Nagi and Mukhtar had represented.56 This locality and time placed several members of the Contemporary Art Group who

Figure 12 ‘Abd al-Hadi al-Gazzar, Portrait of the Art Critic Aimé Azar, 1956. Oil on wood. Source: Alain and Christine Roussillon, Abdel Hadi al-Gazzar: Une Peinture Égyptienne (Abdel Hadi Al-Gazzar: An Egyptian Painter). Cairo: Dar al- Mustaqbal al-Arabi, 1995, p. 116.

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were sons of prominent religious shaykhs at the heart of the social and spatial milieu of the Muslim Brothers. Among the members of the Contemporary Art Group was ‘Abd al-Hadi al-Gazzar. His father, ‘Abdullah al-Gazzar, was a professor of Islamic shari‘a law at al-Azhar.57 Prior to joining the faculty at al-Azhar, the al-Gazzar family lived in Alexandria, then for a time in the Delta village town of Burumi. From about the age of ten, ‘Abd al-Hadi al-Gazzar and his family lived in the general vicinity of Sayyida Zaynab in Cairo.58 The application of the shari‘a law in family law and everyday affairs, placed al-Gazzar in a position to be well acquainted with the Muslim Brothers, of whom, a number of adherents were students of law.59 Al-Gazzar arose to become one of Egypt’s most famous artists and certainly among the most influential and controversial. A number of articles and biographies were written about him after his death in 1966. Born in 1925, he suffered physical frailty during his short life, he experienced the onset of arthritis in his early twenties, and assorted illnesses resulting in an early death at age 41. Al-Gazzar persisted in his artistic endeavors, where his talents in secondary school earned him the attention of his art teacher, mentor and future father-in-law, Husayn Yusuf Amin, who was his teacher of art at the Hilmiyya Secondary School at Sayyida Zaynab.60 Al-Gazzar’s considerable talents were recognized and channeled into professional art training, where he earned scholarships for study in Italy and became a key figure in the Contemporary Art Group and its exhibitions in the late 1940s and 1950s. A second member of this group, Hamid Nada, was also the son of a religious shaykh, who was in charge of administering the Sayyida Zaynab mosque.61 The mosque and community complexes were, and remain, important centers for daily services and a place of respite, as well as a center of periodic festivals.62 Hence, both al-Gazzar and Nada grew up in neighborhoods where the Muslim Brothers were active and provided many of the basic social services. The formation of al-Gazzar and Nada, however had roots in the urban milieu and transformation of the arts in Cairo. During the 1940s, Hassan al-Banna and the Muslim Brothers placed their organization between two competing power movements that were also vying for mass support, the fascists and the communists.63 Al-Banna undertook a bolshevist strategy of forcing the hand of the middle strata of society by resorting to massive organization, with the aim of gaining majority support.64 Certainly by 1949, communists and the Muslim Brothers were meeting together to seek common points for cooperation and struggle.65 The Muslim Brothers had greater appeal to the populace,

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particularly through its response to basic needs: providing medical clinics, schools, and food banks. They also had the effect of underscoring the relative ineffectiveness of the voluntary charitable organizations promoted by the royalist regime. These included the Society of the Week of Charity, sponsored by the first lady of the government, Zaynab al-Nahhas, the prime minister’s wife, who was its symbol of voluntarism in the early 1940s. The graphic artist Amin Sabbagh rendered a poster in 1941 for the Jami‘at Usbu‘ al-Birr (Society for the Week of Charity), portraying Zaynab al-Nahhas, wife of Prime Minister Mustafa al-Nahhas, as its saintly president and patron.66 The deliberate renaming of the Y.M.M.A., the Young Men’s Muslim Association in 1927, was consciously chosen by the Muslim Brothers’ founder Hassan al-Banna to pattern his movement along the organizational lines of the Young Men’s Christian Association.67 At the YMCA, al-Gazzar’s painting, Hunger, was shown at the International Exhibition of Art in 1949, and resulted in al-Gazzar’s arrest along with that of his art teacher, Husayn Yusuf Amin. Domestic and foreign events forged the political context of the aesthetic discourse of the post-war period. The experience of the volunteers of the Muslim Brothers who served in the 1948 Palestine war relocated the conflict and trauma into a domestic issue. The radio presented the simultaneity of the 1948 war in Palestine and reinforced its impact on Egyptian everyday lives. Simultaneous news and events, and the connectedness of daily life to external conditions in Palestine presented the young al-Gazzar with his first introspective on the problem of time, space and the consciousness of class and material conditions. Food banks and medical clinics were a key service provided by the Muslim Brothers in al-Gazzar’s own neighborhood of Sayyida Zaynab. The issue of food relief had been a rallying cause in the area since the late 1930s, when Hassan al-Banna established a Muslim Brothers’ committee for food relief for Palestine at no. 18, Shari‘ al-Nasriyya in Sayyida Zaynab.68 Al-Banna was able to rally considerable success for these food drives to aid the Palestinian cause, when the royal government refused to offer help. The same neighborhood was the locale for a health clinic run by the vicepresident of the Muslim Brothers, Dr. Ibrahim Hasan.69 From this context the artists al-Gazzar and his colleagues produced paintings and artworks depicting the ravages of disease and starvation. The spread of malaria around Aswan in 1944 was compounded by food shortages worsened by the sequestrations of war supplies by the British.70 Fakhry Labib has recalled the effects of the cholera epidemics of 1946 and

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the state’s relief committees.71 As Egypt experienced these serious outbreaks of cholera, themes of lethargy, disease and food shortages show up in al-Gazzar’s and Nada’s paintings and drawings of the late 1940s, which show illness and homelessness on the streets.72 Georges Henein noted the devastation of the cholera upon Cairo not only physically but as a metaphor of an imposed moral quarantine.73 The cholera epidemic provoked an erratic and uneven response from the state, whose public health policy and resources were limited.74 Faced with an urgent crisis in the countryside, the state relied in part, as it had in the cities, on voluntarism and left the responsibility of public health to religious and civil charities.75 The Muslim Brothers had the most responsive and organized teams of medical recruits to help separate the sick from the healthy. The Muslim Brothers’ youth medical corps was so successful in their efforts throughout the country, that the Ministry of Social Affairs was compelled to offer monetary rewards to its members for their services.76 The state also relied upon combinations of voluntarism and the cooperation of political opposition groups, including communists whose health committees responded to the appeal for relief. As cholera ravaged Upper Egypt, the state responded by using armed troops to force travel closures and quarantine whole villages.77 These measures encountered resistance from the citizens of Upper Egypt, who, insisted on the burial of their own family members. In 1945, as peasant revolts threatened to break out over impoverished material conditions, the left organized demonstrations of union and nonunion workers, students, and writers. The Muslim Brothers also organized its own demonstrations, which it altered with periods of rapprochement. The strategy combined demonstrations, violence and negotiation, and mirrored the strategy of the peasants, who alternated between petition and grievance with violent outbursts against the large landowning families.78 It also mirrored the increasingly repressive tactics of the police and the British who also resorted to violence, imprisonment and torture. Al-Gazzar’s interest in medicine and concern over the consequences of hunger and epidemics make the folkoric model less useful in interpreting his painting of this period. Other artists began to emphasize the use of folk knowledge and cosmology, such as the painter Iffat Nagi, the sister of the artist Muhammad Nagi, who deployed charms and talismans in her folk subjects.79 While al-Gazzar’s use of emblems, tattoos, and symbols from populist arts, culture and religion was not unique, it was his integration of a social context in his compositions that set him apart from the folkloric model. These alternating tactics were reflective of other twentiethcentury civil and political struggles against authoritarianism. Al-Gazzar’s

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formation and search for a critical discourse drew from a variety of traditional and modernist representational styles along with his concern for recognizing material needs and the philosophy and arts of the ordinary subject. This required a resolution of form and substance, a reconciliation of the material conditions. One of his solutions was to turn to medicine and healing as the arts and science of the subaltern subject. Stylistically, he began to draw on Bayram al-Tunisi’s poetical surveys of the street life of his own neighborhoods in Cairo, as well as the representational arts and mural projects of the diplomat, consul and artist, Nagi, and his teacher, Husayn Yusuf Amin. Soon, al-Gazzar abandoned this literalist method and began to draw from the arts of performers on the street, and Sufis and popular culture as subjects. This placed an emphasis on the religion and philosophy of a decentralized culture of the streets and masses. As a Sufi, al-Gazzar may have shared sympathies with the Muslim Brothers, who waged a furious struggle in this period against both the old regime and the new revolutionary command. Among the earliest of al-Gazzar’s paintings from his art school period is al-Majnuna ( The Fool, 1948), which invokes the gesture of Edward Munch’s The Scream (1893). Al-Gazzar, the former medical student,

Figure 13 ‘Abd al-Hadi al-Gazzar, al-Majnuna (The Fool), 1948. Oil on cardboard. Source: Alain and Christine Roussillon, Abdel Hadi al-Gazzar: Une Peinture Égyptienne (Abdel Hadi Al-Gazzar: An Egyptian Painter), Cairo: Dar al-Mustaqbal al-Arabi, 1995, p. 46.

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portrays the afflictions of the human body and mind, and depicts the scene of a distressed elderly woman walking alone down a street, hands above her head. The viewer is jolted by a corpse laying half out of a rat hole in the side of the building. Before him is the skin of a dead rat on the street, an inference to the plague. A number of symbols indicate al-Gazzar’s fascination with Surrealist references and the culture, philosophy and medicine of the lower classes. On the right, a meat hook hangs, a comic signature reference to the painter’s own name, which translates as ‘The Butcher.’ On the left, a key hangs by a doorway, a symbol likely meant to represent the unlocking of the problems afflicting those in this scene.80 We may read this as a Surrealist juxtaposition of an assortment of ills confronting life and death around this particular house and street. The Fool is a disturbing image of the representation of ills and disorders in the lives of the everyday, and from the standpoint of 1948, it is a direct counter to the representative subject of the dominant art academies–the formal portraiture of the wealthy or portraits of folkoric passive subjects.

Figure 14 ‘Abd al-Hadi al-Gazzar. al-Ju‘ (Hunger) (renamed The Theatre of Life), 1948. Oil on cardboard. Source: Aimé Azar, L’eveil de la conscience picturale en Egypt (The Rise of the Pictural Conscience in Egypt), Cairo: Imprimerie Française, 1954, p. 43.

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Al-Gazzar’s art from this period and his painting, such as his Hunger (1948), may be regarded as a form of symbolic or magic realism, with its inclusive range of folk symbols and philosophy.81 Al-Gazzar’s own position oscillated between an interest in Sufism, and his experience with artists on the left, for whom surrealism was a method of combining a technique of representation with a philosophy for political action in the arts. His own preference for a meditation with surrealism led to his solution in magical realism. If The Fool was a harbinger of this emphasis, Hunger was more provocative for its political context. By the time of their introduction to the Contemporary Art Group in 1946, al-Gazzar and Nada had been tutored by their teacher, the socially committed and well-traveled professor of art, Husayn Yusuf Amin.82 Al-Gazzar’s arrest in 1949 with his art teacher, Husayn Amin, followed the showing of al-Gazzar’s painting, Hunger, at the YMCA. The exhibition coincided with a series of police crackdowns and arrests of intellectuals of the left and the Muslim Brothers following the assassination of the Muslim Brothers’ leader, Hassan al-Banna.83 The artist’s arrest followed a particularly acerbic review by an art critic, in Progrès Egyptien, criticizing al-Gazzar for his shocking and insulting art.84 THE COMPLEXITY OF THE URBAN AND RURAL MILIEU WITHIN ARTISTIC DISCOURSE Western writers in particular have the tendency to assume self-authenticating references that justify the measure of one element as modern and another as traditional. The Sayyida Zaynab neighborhood in Cairo falls into this tendency of perception. The neighborhood of Sayyida Zaynab, like the rural and poor areas of Upper Egypt, has been much maligned and mystified by accounts which avoid a context between cultural production and the material and social conditions of its milieu.85 This tendency to mystify the neighborhood includes Anwar Sadat’s own memoir of his encounter with the district in the late 1930s, when in meeting the vicepresident of the Muslim Brothers, Dr. Ibrahim Hasan, he described himself as ‘lost in the maze of streets around Place de Sayeda Zeinab.’86 The bias against poorer neighborhoods as unmodern or depraved has also entered into Egyptian art historical writing. Subhi al-Sharuni, in his essay on al-Gazzar in Roussillon’s book on al-Gazzar, refers to al-Gazzar’s upbringing in Sayyida Zaynab as ‘a world peopled with intercessors who offer their services at mouleds, feasts and zar sessions, maintain fatalism, propagate the use of narcotics and the countless ways and means of daydreaming.’87

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The Cairo neighborhoods and environs of Sayyida Zaynab provided the setting for a high proportion of Egyptian artists of varied social backgrounds. The confluence of poetry, song, art, and political activity that emerged in the late 1930s through the 1940s from the Sayyida Zaynab neighborhood offers insight into the milieu of the social production of art and everyday life. During this period, Sayyida Zaynab became an important magnet for relocation into the city. The neighborhood had long gained its reputation as a shrine center for visits to the tomb and mosque of the saint, Sayyida Zaynab, the granddaughter of the Prophet Muhammad, who had a special appeal to women. Sayyida Zaynab’s popularity is, for instance, recorded in an Upper Egyptian folksong of the mid-twentieth century.88 But Sayyida Zaynab had also long been the center for Cairene cultural production and a center of writing and publishing. The early anticolonial novel, Mahmud Tahir Haqqi’s ‘Athra’ Dinshiway, (The Maiden of Dinshaway), was written and published in Sayyida Zaynab in 1906. The novel was republished with an introduction by the famous Sayyida Zaynab writer, Yahya Haqqi in 1964.89 The neighborhood of Sayyida Zaynab and its adjacent districts was also a base for the emergence of a wide variety of artists and writers, from Bayram al-Tunisi and Yahya Haqqi in the 1930s to the filmmaker ‘Attiyat al-Abnudi and her husband, the poet, Abd al-Rahman al-Abnudi, in the 1960s.90 From the late 1940s there appeared socially committed working committees on culture and labor organization. It was in Sayyida Zaynab that the playwright, Nu‘man ‘Ashur, first stayed as a student, and where he viewed the life of the street as a model for character study.91 Given this complexity, the view by some writers that al-Gazzar was an artist who was a product of a traditionally based neighborhood is flawed. That description does not consider the multidimensional aspects and transformative potential of the neighborhood experience, given its interaction with traditional and contemporary forms of arts.92 The presumed separation of workers and intellectuals was being transformed through direct participation. Student and worker organizations benefited from the political skill of university students of peasant backgrounds who provided a necessary bridge for intellectual discussion and development across class lines and the supposed urban-rural dichotomy.93 By 1945, student organizations encouraged the participation of young student artists, and a special journal Sawt al-Talib (Voice of the Student) briefly appeared with the help and participation of the Surrealist artist, Inji Aflatun.94 An expansion of student activism appeared in the form of the free university movement, the Jami‘at al-Sha‘b, (People’s University)

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which was organized in central Cairo.95 Support for the People’s University included medical students at the Kulliyyat al-Tibb, College of Medicine, where al-Gazzar studied, and even members of the police forces.96 These initiatives formed the interdependent milieu of a broadening social consciousness among participants and members of these groups and committees, and became the kernel for an offshoot notion of al-mithaq, (the charter or covenant), in the form of participatory committees, which later was adopted by Nasser and the regime into the formal canon of the state committees.97 The urban setting of the premier art schools thrust its students not only into the experiences of everyday life, but also contact with rogues, and those afflicted with mental disorders, the sick, the crippled, and the unemployed. Thus it is not surprising that following the war, a new generation of artists emerged who took up themes and subjects representative of the problems and experiences of everyday life among the lower classes as central topics for their arts. Al-Madrasa al-‘Aliyya li-l-Funun al-Jamila, (The School for Fine Arts) continued as the art school for the less connected or less affluent students as well, where a number of Upper Egyptian students attended, including Muhammad Hamid ‘Uways (b. 1919), from Beni Suef, who graduated in 1944.98 Among the art instructors at the college was Husayn Yusuf Amin, whose early political commitment forced him into exile for a while in Spain, during the Spanish Civil War. Amin was an influential teacher for a number of young students from varied backgrounds from Cairo and Upper Egypt. The institute was renamed and reformed after the revolutionary coup of 1952 into the College of Fine Arts in Cairo, Kulliyyat al-Funun al-Jamila, and sometime later moved to the suburban town of Helwan, south of Cairo. In the 1940s, the development of secondary school graduates into artists from the Sayyida Zaynab district in lower Cairo would have been inconceivable without the concerted campaign of the preceding generations of aristocratic and middle class artists and pedagogues who joined forces to extend the utility of studio art training and techniques to selected schools in Cairo, towns and villages.99 This social setting influenced prominent writers, dramatists and artists, including the playwright, ‘Ashur, who wrote for al-Fajr al-Jadid (The New Dawn), and other journals, and partook in joint committees comprised of intellectuals and workers.100 How this mixed milieu of workers and artists was consciously encouraged and sought out by its participants was described in ‘Ashur’s memoirs. He recalled the involvement of artists and illustrators, the development of a critical experience with socialism and the nationalist movement.101 ‘Ashur’s

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interest in socialism was formed by Salama Musa’s writings tailored to the nationalist movement, and those of George Bernard Shaw, whose Fabianism was appealing. In response to material conditions, students and demonstrators coined the marching chant for their demonstrations, nuridu al-khubz, nuridu al-‘amal (we want bread, we want work).102 This eventually led intellectuals and artists to participate in the artistic branches of the ‘Bread and Freedom’ campaign of the left, which had its corollary in the Surrealist led ‘Art and Liberty’ movement.103 ‘Ashur himself was an active participant in the Committee to Spread the New Culture, Lajnat Nashr al-Thaqafa al-Haditha. During this period of transition at the end of the war, he described his growing critical awareness and experience in participatory committees and the production of a discourse that could analyze and compare the advantages of Trotsky over Stalin, where Trotsky was regarded as more in favor of retaining the psychological basis of freedom.104 In their responses, these artists chose the form of surrealism with its abstraction of perception and reality, and the use of symbolism, folk knowledge and designs. Surrealism relied on interpretations of psychology and consciousness, while magical realism incorporated traditional knowledge as an interpretation of the context of a social experience rooted in popular culture. A solution to these seemingly opposed techniques of representation evolved through the various journals and exhibitions of the Egyptian Surrealists and their successors, the Contemporary Art Group. Their references in art and texts to the social realities of Egyptian society were a source of provocation to the authorities. Imprisonment became a theme for opposition painting and graphic arts that was a necessary response to the increasing threat and duration of incarceration by the state. The threat to artists of imprisonmnt for leftist, anarchist or communist advocacy was linked to the fate of other intellectuals and labor activists, and incarceration was a threat both before and after the 1952 coup. Whereas prior to the 1952 coup, imprisonment tended to be for short periods, after the military officers took power, imprisonment could vary greatly in length. The Surrealist Inji Aflatun was imprisoned from 1959–63 for her commitment as a communist. Her prison paintings retain a poignancy comparable to Nawal Sadawi’s prison writings.105 Prolonged imprisonment for men and women artists resulted in a series of self portraits and perspectives of prison life from the likes of Hasan Fu’ad, the illustrator of The Earth, (1954), who endured his long terms of incarceration with great resolve.

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HISTORY, MEMORY AND ACTION AS PHILOSOPHICAL DISCOURSE The relation of history, memory and action provided another dimension of philosophical discourse. When al-Gazzar wrote about the period of his painting, The Past, the Present, and the Future, as ‘a time of terror’ (waqt irhab), he drew on the language circulating in publications of the Muslim Brothers: al-Ikhwan wa-l-Irhab, (The Brothers and Terror), and similar pamphlets entitled, al-Ikhwan fi-l-Ma‘raka. (The Brothers in the Battle).106 He described the painting’s division of space and time between the funeral procession of the past, the present imprisonment of a Muslim Brother, and the future represented by the key on the plate in the foreground. This description may have recalled these recent publications of the Brothers.107 In his August 1952 essay, ‘The Future Belongs to Islam,’ Sayyid Qutb presented a striking similarity of division between time and political agency:108 When we speak of the Islamic social system, we are not speaking of a historical order living in the past, becoming one of those memories of history … indeed, we speak of a living system in its image and circumstances just as we realize it now or in the future. The Past, the Present, and the Future (1953) mimicked Qutb’s reference to political action and the framing of time with the immediacy of the present and expectation of the future. The painting combines a number of surrealist techniques of juxtaposing space, time, elements and subjects that preoccupy the artist, and to which al-Gazzar would return in his later artwork.109 The title of the painting reflects al-Gazzar’s own questioning of time and space in a historical context. Along with Hamid Nada, he belonged to the Historical Studies Association.110 As al-Gazzar explained, the painting was divided into three temporal zones. The background is the past, marked by a funeral procession, with a woman and child looking on; the present is represented by the main subject of the painting, a man being held in prison and looking out over a wall with the funeral procession behind him moving away. In al-Gazzar’s own words, ‘The popular nature of the present is manifest in the amulets dangling from his ears and suspended across his chest.’ In the foreground, a single key is placed on a plate, which ‘evokes the future with its secrets and hidden mysteries.’ By ‘popular’ al-Gazzar meant the masses. On the betrayal by the ruling regime, al-Gazzar may be referring to either the old monarchical rule or the Nasser regime and its recent suppression of the Muslim Brothers. On this suffering of the people, he stated: ‘I wanted this painting to represent the feelings of the people at that time…’111

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Figure 15 ‘Abd al-Hadi al-Gazzar, The Past, the Present and the Future, 1953. Oil on hardboard. Source: Alain and Christine Roussillon, Abdel Hadi al-Gazzar: Une Peinture Égyptienne (Abdel Hadi Al-Gazzar: An Egyptian Painter). Cairo: Dar al- Mustaqbal al-Arabi, 1995, p. 177.

In the painting, al-Gazzar weaves together the temporality of the past and the present. Al-Gazzar noted that this painting refers to the ‘reign of terror’ from 1951. According to him, the reign of terror ‘did not impede the strong will from persisting and preparing for the future,’ so that, ‘it is impressed with the elements of the hateful past. Hence this painting The Past, The Present And The Future.’112 The projection of historical time is spatially structured between the background, the middle and the foreground as, ‘the prisoner, the woman and the child, all enact the confined, troubled life that is collated to the imagination of the present.’113 Al-Gazzar’s commentary on the painting provides insight into the corollary view of temporality and the role of the state. In this way, he shared Sayyid Qutb’s distinction of the temporality of the past being different from the present and the future. If the key in al-Gazzar’s paintings is presented as a symbol for the promise of the future, so too, in Qutb’s writing, the struggles of the present are conditions for the construction of an Islamic state in and for the future. Al-Gazzar’s interest in Sufism is apparent from his wife’s anecdotes that in the late 1940s and prior to their marriage, he used to frequent Helwan to meditate.114 This also placed him at Helwan at the same time that Sayyid Qutb was assigned there with the Ministry of Education, from 1940 to 1948.115

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POST-REVOLUTION REFLECTIONS IN THE ART OF AL-GAZZAR In the aftermath of Hassan al-Banna’s assassination in 1949, the military coup in 1952, and the suppression of the Muslim Brothers in 1954, al-Gazzar’s art and poetry interpose as a critical reflection. His private sketches and poems were possibly intended as a collaboration on a series of illustrated poetry and reflected a philosophical critique on the relation of power and culture. The use of magical realism is evident in his 1953 poem ‘Let me live in the magic I love.’ He sketched a naked Atlas-like figure, bearing a woman on his shoulders with another woman seated on the ground raising her arm. Choice and responsibility is stressed in the narrative of the poem, which addresses al-Gazzar’s own interest in magical realism.116 In this poem, al-Gazzar refrains from the material condition of the crises around him,

Figure 16 ‘Abd al-Hadi al-Gazzar, Let me live in the magic …, 1953. India ink on paper. Source: Alain and Christine Roussillon, Abdel Hadi al-Gazzar: Une Peinture Égyptienne (Abdel Hadi Al-Gazzar: An Egyptian Painter). Cairo: Dar al-Mustaqbal al-Arabi, 1995, p. 193.

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and seeks a spiritual solution as a basis for a new solution. This indicated a shift away from Yunan’s secularist philosophy of the arts. Let me live in the magic I love, for I do not want to know what things are Life with knowledge is unbearable to me because knowledge Is something known only in the unconscious Knowledge is imposed upon us and we are but a fragment Of the global knowledge from which we cannot separate ourselves All knowledge revealed to the intellect alone is but deception and fraud It represents the transient present The nature of our search is for the eternal That is why communism is but deception and fraud We will not concern ourselves with communism as a transitional period Rather, what concerns us here is communism as a period of dissolution Which has awakened us to a crucial element? the materialist of the spirit and of emotions That is why when we oppose communism we do so not because We are against certain economic policies but because We wish to construct new foundations not known before to mankind.117 Al-Gazzar’s poem reveals a number of political positions waged in the polemic of the time. While adhering to the epistemology of Sufi philosophy, as in ‘the search for the eternal,’ the search for world knowledge as emotional commitment resonated in the writings of Sayyid Qutb. Qutb cited the translation of John Dennison’s Emotion as the Basis of Civilization (1928), to compare European responses to materialism against an Islamic philosophical basis for a social order. Al-Gazzar restates in part the Muslim Brothers’ argument against communism found in the writings of Sayyid Qutb. Less than a year earlier in his article for al-Muslimun, Qutb warned against the competing ideologies of communism and capitalism as threats to an Islamic state. And so ends the struggle of communism and capitalism....Then begins the true struggle between the chief ideologies in the world: the ideologies of humanism, as in Islam, of materialism, and of communism in its final phase.118

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And in this quest we shall demonstrate – Allah willing – an Islamic social order and establish this society in the near present, as we will be able to develop in the distant future.119 In the context of the Muslim Brothers’ critical position in the political upheaval of 1952 and its mobilization against the state, al-Gazzar’s painting, The Past, The Present, and the Future, continued the criticism of materialist history put forth by Qutb and the fundamentalists, in their critique of the competing Cold War ideological struggle between communism and a capitalist Europe and the United States. Following the 1952 coup, al-Gazzar continued his themes of sickness and death, and the transitional street life of homelessness. He turned increasingly toward a combination of folk realism and the religious philosophy of the ordinary and the everyday.120 Two of his better known drawings are Tahdir al-Arwah (Preparation of the Spirits, 1953) and ‘Alam al-Arwah (World of Spirits, 1953), also known as the al-Anihaya (Infinity). These large drawings continue the theme of death, mourning and healing, also seen in his painting, An Ear of Mud, an Ear of Paste (1951). Together these form the genre of al-Gazzar’s pursuit of the social underpinnings

Figure 17 ‘Abd al-Hadi al-Gazzar, An Ear of Mud, an Ear of Paste, 1951. Oil on Cardboard. Source: Alain and Christine Roussillon, Abdel Hadi al-Gazzar: Une Peinture Égyptienne (Abdel Hadi Al-Gazzar: An Egyptian Painter). Cairo: Dar al-Mustaqbal al-Arabi, 1995, p. 91.

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of struggles with the everyday encounter with life, death, the self and its relation to others. In An Ear of Mud, an Ear of Paste, al-Gazzar combined contemporary characters in a setting suggesting ancient Egyptian tombs, with its rows of wooden coffins for the ordinary masses. The central figure is shown with an extra ear made of paste, which al-Gazzar has likely borrowed from folk medicine.121 Thus, An Ear of Mud, an Ear of Paste set the contextual tone for further treatment in al-Gazzar’s series of drawings on this subject, Preparation of the Spirits and World of Spirits.122 The intertextual referencing of each drawing to the other may be read from the introduction of the characters seated around the walls in Preparation of the Spirits, who bear generic resemblances to the mourners shown in World of Spirits. In each drawing, as in many of al-Gazzar’s paintings and drawings of the 1940s and 1950s, the use of popular charms, symbols, common cats or animals transpose into a scene combining ancient Egyptian symbols and contemporary graffitos, body drawings, and talismans. In Preparation of the Spirits, seated at the far end of the table is a talismanic figure, a cat wrapping itself around his neck, his hands drawn out over an animistic figure drawn over the length of the table. A pitcher and empty food bowl, a reference to his earlier painting, Hunger, (1948), are

Figure 18 ‘Abd al-Hadi al-Gazzar, ‘Alam al-Arwah, (World of Spirits, or Infinity), 1953. Ink on paper. Source: Museum of Modern Art, Cairo. (photo by author).

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on the table. Seated with his back to the viewer and opposite the talisman, is an ear-ringed figure seated on a decorated chair with hand-turned wood finishing. Al-Gazzar’s foreshortening renders this seated figure as a person with authority, who many view as a boss or authoritarian figure. Beneath that chair is a turtle, a symbolic use of shelled animals and molluscs that are emblematic of life’s evolution; but here the form of the slow moving turtle can be interpreted as a sign of lethargy or the slow tempo of disease, mourning and death, evident in the various figures seated on the ground.123 The titles, Preparation of the Spirts, and World of Spirits, reference a Sufi and popular religious tone, yet the characters, the dress and adornment of the sorcerer and the corpses suggest ancient Egyptian costumes. In keeping with the mixing of space and time, as in his The Past, the Present and the Future (1953), al-Gazzar has purposely mixed symbols, codes of antiquity and contemporary popular religion. The two drawings are tied conveniently together by emblematic symbolism. Anchored across the table in Preparation of the Spirits is the

Figure 19 ‘Abd al-Hadi al-Gazzar, Tahdir al-Arwah (Preparation of the Spirits, also known as The Young Sorcerer), 1953. Ink on Paper. Source: Alain and Christine Roussillon, Abdel Hadi al-Gazzar: Une Peinture Égyptienne (Abdel Hadi Al-Gazzar: An Egyptian Painter). Cairo: Dar al-Mustaqbal al-Arabi, 1995, p. 102.

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same cross beam of the coffin with two wooden screws or nails that are set across the corpses in the tombs of World of Spirits. The scarab or scorpion designed onto the back of the bald headed figure with hands crossed in Preparation of the Spirits, where it serves as a talisman, is transformed in World of Spirits as an emerging, newly hatched insect emerging from a jar. An ancient Egyptian amulet atop the talismanic reader in Preparation of the Spirits is similarly represented in a simpler amulet adorning the forehead of the first corpse in the foreground in World of Spirits, while another amulet is shown hanging in the foreground from the first bier. Two chapbook charms, of the type included in cheap chapbooks offered by street vendors, are shown as if left by mourners atop the edge of the first bier. The rows of seated mourners in World of Spirits are shown in joint ceremony of personal mourning aligned with the respective open biers of their loved ones. The entire scene suggests a mass killing; bandaged head and body wounds are visible on several corpses. The cat wrapping itself around the talisman’s neck in Preparation of the Spirits is repeated as a tattoo on the hand of the corpse in the foreground in World of Spirits. The turtle in Preparation of the Spirits is replaced with al-Gazzar’s signature evolutionary symbol of the shell with embryonic human figures emerging, as the rebirth of life. There are many symbols in both drawings that are perplexing, bewildering, and deliberately vague. However, al-Gazzar’s drawings are part of a broader genre of the style and symbolism developed by his peers in the Contemporary Art Group. Of these, Hamid Nada’s drawings of mournful or lethargic figures seated on the street were published in the literary jounal al-Thaqafa as illustrations for a short story on hunger.124 The known works of al-Gazzar’s poetry are limited to a handful that have been reproduced in Alain and Christine Roussillon’s Abdel Hadi al-Gazzar: Une Peinture Égyptienne (1995). Several of these poems, including ‘Ashiq min al-Jinn, (A Lover from the Jinn, 1953) were reworked from a preparatory drawing into a completed drawing in Chinese ink and gouache on paper. The finished drawing includes an additional range of Sufi symbols and figures in ink. We also know of al-Gazzar’s collaboration in illustrating a collection of poetry by Ahmad Mursi in 1952, a project that he was never able to publish.125 The reasons for cancellation of the project have never been explained. Mursi, who was a few years younger, began publishing his own poetry around 1949, and later read or exhibited his poetry at the Alexandria Biennale in 1955, at which al-Gazzar also exhibited his painting, Ta’amul (Meditations).126

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The Egyptian Surrealist movement that emerged in the late 1930s became the vanguard of a revolutionary art movement in Egypt. It waged a polemic against the position of the rich landowning classes and self-styled aristocracy who dominated the production of academic art for the first third of the century. Georges Henein’s initiatives and the beginnings of Egyptian surrealism in 1937 drew upon the legacy and importance of journalism in Egyptian discourse. The roots of this radical movement stemmed from a critical line of social inquiry and critique of elite domination and influence. From the late 1930s to the late 1940s, the Surrealists Ramsis Yunan, Georges Henein, al-Tilmisani, Anwar Kamil, and Fu’ad Kamil compared their reading of Freud and Marxist criticism with other contemporary crises, the Spanish Civil War and the Mexican Revolution, as external models of struggle. The Egyptian labor movement was an archetype for the internal experience and application of this experience. The surrealist interjection in the arts was also in part a response from an increasing rise in the ranks of artists from wider social strata, particularly from the emergence of art teachers in public education, who applied their art education to spur the arts into social advocacy against the intended role of this pedagogy’s founders. The Surrealists formed a subculture in the arts, into which artists from both genders and various social classes, and religious and national backgrounds, organized exhibits on the surrealist discourse of the psychological torment of the individual and collective body. Yunan’s drawings of contorted minotaurs were emblematic of a critique of state torture. Surrealism provided a useful counter discourse in the arts that appealed to a rising generation of artists and art teachers in post-war Egypt, and while the most prominent of the Surrealists remained aloof and distant from the subject of the masses, their critique of the bourgeois, liberal direction of the art academies and institutions dominated by the aristocratic landholding class was a major contribution, and remained a continuing counter discourse as a new language in the arts well into the 1960s. From the late 1930s through the mid-1950s, Surrealists engaged in a critique of the basis of the older, classical, romantic view that dominated the production of elite arts. After the repositioning of the state through the Egyptian Revolution in 1952, the position of the arts shifts to a neorealism combining a rhetorical art for the masses along the lines of modified social realism, and private arts for a new elite that could embrace a more reflective combination of realism and abstraction. The solution for this combination was a revival of liberalism as a path for the arts. After 1952, surrealism lost its lustre and favor, but remained in the discourse

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of its adherents and an influence on a succeeding generation of artists. In Egypt, the Surrealist quest and critique of the arts remained in active practice through the mid-1960s when a number of key artists had died and others had faced imprisonment. The Surrealist critique was surpassed by the innovations of the Contemporary Art Group with its recentering of the everyday as the preoccupation of art. In 1962, Ramsis Yunan reviewed the painting of Millet and Courbet and other Barbizon school paintings on display in the collection of Mahmud Khalil Museum in Cairo. For Yunan, it was Millet who found the beauty of naturalism. Naturalism connected the imagination of an image of the land with an image of the peasant who toiled and broke the soil. Millet devoted himself to finding the harmony of naturalism. The value of the visit to the Khalil collection, Yunan reasoned, was the opportunity to view these paintings and the inclination toward realism in art. He placed these particular examples of paintings within the broader milieu of the French realists and satirists of the nineteenth century, Gustave Courbet and the caricature of Daumier. It was Courbet, Yunan stressed, who could call upon both classicism and romanticism to reframe the position of art by resituating art. Courbet had, in Yunan’s words, ‘wanted to portray as an observer of life in its reality.’127 Artists interpreted the peasant problem as a reflection of contemporary pressures. The unique solutions offered by Egyptian artists attempted to mitigate against modernity’s alienation through peasant arts and philosophies. The mawlid festival with its peasant and urban connections allowed artists to explore the festival’s ramifications in painting, sculpture, theatre and the village novel, and as such, the festival became a transitional forum for a partial intercession against the pressures of everyday life amid the uncertainty of modernity and capitalism. This is examined in Chapter Four.

Chapter 4 THE FESTIVAL AND THE STATE: THE CONTEMPORARY ART GROUP AND A PHILOSOPHY OF TRADITIONAL ARTS News reached the authorities with more quickness than accuracy, and in a very few minutes mounted askaris with sticks charged and recharged the assembly with more zeal than discrimination: tents came down: artistes dressed or otherwise fled into the fields: the moulid was utterly wiped out.1 J.W. McPherson, The Moulids of Egypt. 1941 (Describing an incident in 1934). From the 1930s through the 1940s, local festival celebrations in Egypt became pitched centers of struggle between the state and popular culture. The state closed down festivals to counter support for local festivals by Sufis and the Muslim Brothers.2 The political context of these confrontations and their implication for the arts has been ignored in studies of twentiethcentury Egyptian arts, which have focused exclusively on the festival as ritual or as folklore. For the artists considered here, the festival became a major subject from the late 1940–1960s. In this chapter, the relation of the artist to the festival is compared with an initial struggle between the state and popular culture. This is re-examined through the later containment of the festival by the state’s cultural programs and policy that was set in place by the early 1960s. From the late 1930s, a shift began to take place in which the large public festival as a mass collective was politicized by both the state and the masses. This was manifested in the support for Muslim festivals by the only mass organization that could oppose the state, the Muslim Brothers. A shift in the form of the festival celebration from

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large public events to increasingly smaller semi-private gatherings, as the zar (or predominantly women-hosted ceremony) and the dhikr (a malehosted ceremony) is a direct byproduct of the suppression of public gatherings. During this period, Mahmud Sa‘id’s painting al-Zar (1939) suggests a corollary shift in emphasis toward the feminine. In the late 1930’s, the Egyptian Surrealists began to note the importance of the festival and the ‘arusa celebrations. From around 1948, artists of the Contemporary Art Group began painting the surviving forms of local darwish festivals, traveling circuses, ‘arusa bridal celebrations, and small Sufi gatherings. METHODOLOGIES Before we examine the artistic context, we may note the problem that festival arts presents for scholarship. In literature, Mikhail Bakhtin was among the first to develop a literary history of the festival, while HansGeorg Gadamer, a continental European philosopher, was among the first to pose the festival as an aesthetic concept.3 Gadamer emphasized several aspects of the festival experience, including its temporality as a fleeting but unique time.4 He stressed the festival’s role as a conveyor of traditional knowledge, while acknowledging that the act of participatory play meant that no festival was ever the same, that each had its own character or experience. It is a limitation of Gadamer that he did not develop a specific interpretation of the contextual production and the social milieu of festivals and their arts. In this regard, the study of the festival as socially produced knowledge was reinterpreted in Xavier Costa’s study of the Fallas festival in Valencia, Spain.5 Costa demonstrated the ways in which social knowledge and public presentation of the festival are a conveyor of experience that shatters the preconceptions about the division between traditional and modern knowledge. Not only is the festival a problem in European scholarship, but we may note also how it is encumbered in neo-orientalist scholarship. Egyptian scholarship has folklorized the subject in a manner reflecting state cultural policy that urged collaboration among organizations to direct or regulate popular mass culture. The suspicion of the state toward the recognition of mass culture has roots in a collaborative effort between the colonial state and big landowning families in Egypt. The increasing regulation and administration of the festival by the successive governments of the twentieth century invested the cultural authorities with a tenuous relation to the prospects of mass participation and wide dispersion of the festival. Among the enduring features of colonialism and neo-orientalist scholarship has been the reduction of aesthetic experience of the native and

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the opacity of cultural resistance into categories of traditional religion and folklore. This may be compared with Egyptian discourse in the post-colonial period that had an interest in continuing to folklorize the festival and avoid its confrontational stance with the state. The experience of French and Anglo-American scholarship with the proliferation of mawlid festivals and Sufi arts in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries suggests that colonialism has disguised itself around the folkloric nature of the celebration of saints’ festivals, thereby mitigating the considerable political context of resistance to the state, and political struggles waged by common civilians against the colonial formation of the modern state. In French surveys of the expansive network of zawiyas throughout North Africa in the nineteenth century, the zawiyas functioned as religiously endowed community centers, hostels and schools. Their proliferation was the most significant threat to the aggressive French colonial expansion into North Africa. Unable to explain the full meaning and social context of the zawiyas, French colonial intelligence embarked on espionage by opening a file on the Grand Shaykh Sanusi, and sought to contain the zawiyas by marginalizing them. This colonial strategy is most apparent in the politically compromised study by Henri Duveyrier, La Confrérie musulmane de Sidi Mohammed Ben ‘Ali Es-Senousi et son domaine geographique (1886).6 Anglo-American scholarship has often viewed Egyptian festivals, zawiyas and private zar ceremonies as rituals for which ‘field work’ is required in academic intellectual work.7 This survey approach was prevalent in colonial orientalist scholarship, and in J.W. McPherson’s The Moulids of Egypt (1942). The scholar goes to the ‘field’ and reports back. The field work approach continued in academic studies in such works as M. Gilsennan’s Saint and Sufi in Modern Egypt (1973), and later in Valerie J. Hoffman, Sufism, Mystics and Saints in Modern Egypt (1995).8 A departure from this reportage method is El-Sayed El-Aswad’s Religion and Folk Cosmology (2002), who situates the production of festival charity as part of a social philosophy of its participants. The symbolic and functional exchange of gifts at festivals is an important link of social exchange for basic community relationships.9 Within Egyptian scholarship, several studies have explained the mawlid festival as a survey of forms and a manifestation of popular culture. During the Nasser period, the first prominent study was written in 1963, by ‘Abd al-Ghani al-Nabawi al-Shal, in his ‘Arusat al-Mawlid (The Bride of the Birthday Festival), published in 1967.10 Although al-Shal presented a valuable historical survey of the trace influences of the mawlid festival in Egypt and a contemporary critique of available literature, al-Shal did not

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put into context his discussion of the relative role of the mawlid festival within contemporary society. Even though al-Shal used and drew attention to McPherson’s observations as an informant on the mawlid festivals of the 1930s and 1940s in Egypt, he ignored making any comment on the conflict between the state and popular culture, which was inescapable in McPherson’s narrative.11 For al-Shal, the festival represented a continuum, whose craft-based artists and forms could be seen as largely unchanged or merely evolved from Fatimid times. A similar approach to al-Shal was adopted by Faruq Muhammad Mustafa, al-Mawalid (1980).12 Mustafa’s study essentially adopts al-Shal’s method, and provides further documentation and examples of mostly Western ethnographic and anthropological studies of charismatic religion to validate Mustafa’s cataloguing of the symbolism and ritual form of festivals and songs in contemporary Egypt. Mustafa avoids any discussion of the history of the conflict over the festival, in spite of his reliance upon McPherson as one of his comparative sources. The decontextualized folkoric approach, with its emphasis on ritual as form, is further illustrated in Mustafa’s inclusion of songs recorded in festival processions without offering any critical analysis of their presentation or suggesting any difference in the experience of the festival.13 Al-Shal provided an analysis of Egyptian festival arts and the ‘arusa bride doll as a form.14 The various forms of the ‘arusa bride doll in the arts have its origins in the long history and regeneration of the annual festival of the Prophet’s birthday festival celebrations. The form of the doll was traditionally produced by pouring heated liquid sugar into wooden molds. After cooling, the molded form of the doll is removed and may be painted and decorated with cloth and textiles to give it its ornate dressings and distinctive features.15 The festival and its various seasonal and calendar year celebrations, including the mawlid or birthday festival of the Prophet and other saints, combined feasts of local variation and emphasis, but always retained its participatory appeal, sense of unification and mass appeal.16 Two of the largest annual festivals in Egypt take place in September, at the shrine of Sayyida Zaynab, and in October at the large Delta city of Tanta. Sayyida Zaynab was also an important center for the production of literary and studio arts, a neighborhood where the experience of popular culture had enormous influence on the subject matter and interpretation of its meaning by its many artists. The festival became a theme for the artist al-Gazzar, who painted the carnivalesque scenes of the mawlid festival in the mid-1950s. The peasantry and residents of adjoining villages and towns participated

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in the large metropolitan festivals. This theme later formed the subject of ‘Abd al-Hakim Qasim’s novel, The Seven Days of Man, which centers on a group of village peasants in their preparation, travel and participation in the weeklong festival at Tanta. The festival had origins in the Tulunid ninth century, and grew in proportions as a charity function from the state by sharing and distributing food.17 Kitchens were established for the poorer residents of the city as reported in al-Maqrizi.18 Muslim celebrations of the Prophet’s Birthday also coincided and followed Coptic celebrations of the Epiphany, thereby elongating the celebration and festival season.19 The Maghribi origins of the mawlid and its appearance in Fatimid Egypt around 969 have been interpreted as exchanges of commerce. The lucrative sugar trade was a marker and commodity of great wealth and profits, and its conversion into displays for the arts was a validation of sugar’s value, and the use of sugar also afforded a range of interpretations. Banners and flags were prominently displayed and described by Nasir Khusraw al-Qasr, in 1048–49, and it was in this Fatimid period that the symbols sugar sculptures appear.20 These forms evolved into ever more elaborate sculptures, with special artists crafting sugar sculptures into trees and palaces.21 The appearance of sculpted orange trees and branches reflected the links to Andalusian citrus. The displays became increasingly elaborate and numerous. Reportedly, thousands of sculptures were displayed, with ornate décor and leaves of gold. As the use of sugar cane appeared in Fatimid festival arts, it disseminated throughout Egypt and was refined in the sugar processing factories located in Fustat, al-Minya, Aswan, and Fayum. Ibn Duqmaq described one of these sugar factories in Fustat as employing 50 sugar cooks.22 The choice of dressing the ‘arusa figurine in elaborate clothing evolved over time with adornments chosen to reflect what one could afford, either gold or embroidery.23 The sculptures used vast quantities of sugar, as the festival art forms merged with influences from other regional festivals, and the appearance of Persian festival forms. Sugarine ‘arusa bride dolls were displayed with figurine horses. Horses represented symbols of victory against oppression and were popular gifts for boys.24 A symbolic division of forms of gifts between horses, lions and soldier figurines for boys, and the ‘arusa doll figurines for girls, relied on custom to differentiate a public space and activity for boys and girls.25 The widespread function of gift giving and popularity of the doll benefitted from traditions and hadith that allowed toys for children, and avoided the outward declarations of orthodox Islamic prohibitions against images and figures.26

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MCPHERSON’S NARRATIVE The state contested the artistic milieu that was based on celebration. Its confrontational seeds were sown in the peasant struggles of the mid-twentieth century against the large landholders and in Cairo. During later years of the depression in the 1930s, the suppression of festivals by the state and police had a negative impact on poor vendors and entertainers who depended on the many local neighborhood mawlid festivals. McPherson’s The Moulids of Egypt (1942) reported the widespread appeal and localized character of the mawlid, and the violence and purges of the state that feared its organization. In his chronicle of the festivals of the late 1930s and early 1940s, McPherson noted multiple examples of the police supppressing prominent neighborhood mawlids in Cairo. The death of King Fu’ad in April 1936 was a pretense for the state to suppress festivals in Cairo, with seemingly arbitrary results.27 The mawlid of Sultan Hanafi, held annually in the district of Cairo between Abidin and Sayyida Zaynab, was among the purged mawlids. Decorations for the mawlid were displayed and arranged for a whole month preceding the week-long festival. As a highly visible, well-announced, and anticipated city festival, the Sultan Hanafi mawlid was among those singled out and targeted for suppression after the king’s death in 1936. Mawlid organizers struggled to restore it during the war years.28 In the early 1930s a fracas broke out at the mawlid of Sayyida Zaynab, the largest of the city’s annual festivals, in which several Upper Egyptians, or Sa‘idis, were killed.29 McPherson described other festivals, notably at the mosque of Sidi Ali al-Marsafa in Cairo, which were kept more private and hence were ‘unspoilt by police interference,’ despite their proximity to a police headquarters.30 Indeed, some festivals were quickly disbanded and reorganized depending on the ubiquitous police presence and interference. Local mawlids were targeted for violent attacks, including the mawlid of Shaykh ‘Abdullah in Cairo, known for accompanying singers and private parties of musicians in adjoining streets, but they were savagely and repeatedly attacked in 1933 and 1935 in an attempt to crush it. By 1938, it was barely existent or had gone underground.31 In 1932, while attempting to introduce friends of his to a mawlid celebration for Shaykh Hamza, McPherson and his group were startled by the disruption of the celebration by a sudden charge on the crowd by askaris, soldiers with canes, who rushed towards the terrified participants. The victims in turn accused the royal palace and its jail complex of being a concentration camp.32 The disputes and outbreaks of violence surrounding the festival and displays of piety and arts only accentuated the contradiction posed by the threat from the state and its militias.

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Figure 20 Photo of ‘arusa dollmaker with various forms of his art, including what the caption describes as a ‘Berber’ type. Source: ‘Abd al-Ghani al-Nabawi al-Shal, in his ‘Arusat al-Mawlid (The Bride of the Birthday Festival), Cairo: Dar al-Katib al-‘Araba al-Naqd, 1967, appendix of photos.

The complexity of support and suspicion of the mawlids was apparent with the larger mawlids, which had overlapping support and grants from the state, religious charitable endowments and private sources.33 Popular, local, smaller mawlids were targeted for suppression. The Ministry of Interior publicized through newspapers, pamphlets and announcements. A 1934 mawlid, witnessed by McPherson and the British anthropologist EvansPritchard, displayed a dressed, hung skeletal figure that created a sensation and some distress over its meaning - an implied threat as a haram or prohibition that provided the police with a pretense to shut the festival down.34 The overreaction by the state in suppressing the festivals was part of a larger strategy supported by the ‘ulama, the religious clergy, and its criticism of Sufism. The authorities recognized the political potential of the festival as appeasement and a tool of influence during the turbulent and unsettled years of the 1930s and the depression.35 In June 1934, witnesses described a

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violent police crackdown at a Sufi mawlid in Cairo, as resulting in a shocking number of injuries.36 Despite the government’s interference and repression, Sufism retained its appeal, local mawlids continued to flourish, and modern saints could be found. One mawlid grew around the tomb of the deceased Sidi Muhammad Madi Abu El-Azaim, whose death in 1936 spawned a new order of followers and accompanying celebrations.37 Repression also occurred at the large mawlid of Sidi Sayed Muhammad el-Bahlul, held at the Citadel, which featured long processions from the Citadel to the courts. The procession was so reduced in size by 1937 that it was left unharassed by the police. The mawlid of Ahri, in Cairo, was another large and publicly prominent mawlid that was shut down by the state following the death of King Fu’ad in 1936.38 In 1938, after two years of suspension by the government under the ruse of mourning for the King’s death, one local authority was compelled to allow the mawlid of Mazlam to resume.39 In its extreme forms, the resort to force led to violent waves of repression by the landholding families, through their state functionaries and militias. This in turn was countered by peasant uprisings and tactics of widespread resistance.40 In the towns, the festival season often, but not exclusively, occurred in the fall months, and erupted into scenes of direct confrontation. Forced appropriations of basic commodities by the British during World War II exacerbated hardships. The distribution of basic commodities favored the rich over the poor, which reinforced the polarized status between rich peasants and poor peasants. The separation between classes was reinforced in one local festival, where the rich segregated themselves on a guarded island for the highpoint of evening celebrations during the early years of the war. This caused great resentment from what McPherson called the ‘peasantry and masses’ that were excluded and left on the opposite banks.41 The war also caused a scaling back of festivals, with its supporting commercial and social activities.42 Indicating the concern about the continuing struggle over the repression of the mawlid, a letter submitted to the English language newspaper, Egyptian Mail, in 1941, criticized the continuing repression of the mawlid festivals by the state. Those in authority had resorted to a ‘relentless process of suppression … [of] the old traditional ceremonies and merrymaking…’43 Still, while the mawlid festivals could be scenes of confrontation between the state and its celebrants, the cooperative nature of participating in the festival could also cross social divisions. The playwright Nu‘man ‘Ashur, for instance, recalled in his memoirs how the male servants would pack lunch meals and walk collectively with the head of the male household to attend the local annual mawlid festivals in nearby towns.44

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As an interaction between the space of mass culture and official space recognized by the authorities, the festival architecture also presented conflict. In 1949, when the officials of the Comité de Preservation sought to demolish a mosque of a local saint, ‘Abd al-Hajjaj, that adjoined the Temple of Luxor in Upper Egypt, the decision to preserve the structure came from the orientalist Creswell, whose argument for preserving the Fatimid minaret heeded the warning of an awqaf official.45 The impulse for the arts was generated from a multitude of participants in the festival, in the making of its varied, widespread, and multi-dimensional artistic expression. The foods and decorations of the festival were integrated with street theatre, dance, song, chanting and performance.46 This may be appreciated by the appearance of numerous popular songs and poems written in the vernacular about the various festivals and the emphasis on the arts of the festival of which the following excerpt is an example.47

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Oh sweet festival and bride dolls The hummous and its sweets Oh sweet festival and bride dolls Oh sweet doll Its beautiful appearance Say it is so high Don’t say Sing sing Blessings of peace in your hands The source of the bride doll is from the festival Oh the sweetness of the festival and its bride doll Seated on high So richly adorned Her rounded cheeks Exaggerated features It agrees with her Share and praise its sight The source of the bride doll is from the festival Oh the sweetness of the festival and its bride doll The hummous And on the palms of the hands The soft candy Something fills the eyes Its cry of joy oh beloved That bride doll and the two Two brides floating along Riding on two horses The happiness of the festival and its bride doll Oh the sweetness of the festival and its bride doll The hummous and sweets are well known features of the Tanta festival. In this poem, the sharing of food and candies are integral to the processions of the ‘arusa and horse sugarine figures.48 The sharing and offering of food was organized by the religious societies and common participants who staged the festival. A prominent instrument of sharing were the brass trays used to distribute food at the festival, that became a medium for and subject for artistic discourse. Another poem recognized outwardly the arts of the ‘arusa festival:49

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It is the art of its sweetness The splendor of the bride doll Taken of all the arts The impression for the beautiful A necklace of pearls The craft of its mark so beautiful If I saw it I would not find its sweet beauty The bridal festival doll and the beautiful appearance oh The mouth with teeth as white as pearls The necklace of diamonds adorns the bodice A long time I have been so dry, you have whetted it SUFISM IN THE DISCOURSE OF THE ARTS In a 1938 article for al-Risala, the Egyptian Surrealist Kamil al-Tilmisani, emphasized there was no need to imitate foreign art teachers.50 A medley of local daily artistic experiences served as sources for surrealism. Among these, al-Tilmisani listed the four handed ‘arusa dolls of the mawlid festival, and ancient Egyptian, Coptic, and Islamic arts. With his experience as a writer and illustrator for the numerous literary journals, al-Tilmisani’s

Figure 21 Samir Rafi‘, Les Gardes du Mokattam (The Guardians of the Moqattam) 1946. Painting of unknown medium. Source: Aimé Azar, La Peinture moderne en Egypte (Modern Painting in Egypt), Cairo: Les Éditions Nouvelles, 1961, p. 89.

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surrealism juxtaposed various images and clippings together. While his article continued an argument against Orientalism and academicism, the mention of the form of the festival arts was made only in passing. The centering of the form of the ‘arusa and Sufism as subjects for representation would take place in the late 1940s by the Contemporary Art Group. Suppression of Sufis by the state resurfaced on and off from the 1930s through the 1950s, and the representation of Sufi themes in the arts by the Contemporary Art Group after 1946 reflects this conflict. Among these, Samir Rafi‘ painted his rendition of Les Gardes du Mokattam (The Guardians of the Moqattam) in 1946, the scene of the Biktashi Sufi order’s monastery and cave complex, located high above Cairo. The Biktashis, a select and small Sufi sect, lived in these hills until the 1952 Free Officers coup, after which the Biktashis were relocated for the eventual conversion of the hillside into an aerial defense observation and monitoring station by the state.51 But at the time of Rafi‘ ’s painting, the location was associated with Sufism, implied in his representation of the guardian on the hills. Interestingly, Rafi‘ ’s figure of the guard near the caves reappeared in the

Figure 22 Ahmad Mahir Ra’if, Fi-l Kahf (In the Cave), 1952. Illustration. Source: al-Thaqafa, December 22, 1952, p. 35.

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illustration, by Ahmad Mahir Ra’if, Fi-l-Kahf (In the Cave), in the final issue of al-Thaqafa, in December 1952. Ra’if, who was a member of the Contemporary Art Group, depicts a huddled mass of people who are sleeping in a dark, crowded cave, from which a small opening in the distance shows a solitary guard-like figure standing in the open space.52 The illustration infers that the location of the caves is Moqattem hills, known for its caves and Sufi retreat, which Samir Rafi‘ had earlier depicted.53 Representations of Sufism also appeared in the works of other members of the Contemporary Art Group during the period 1945 to 1950. Kamil Yusuf’s L’Attente (circa 1945 –1950) depicted a Sufi circle of men in meditation. Meanwhile, Hamid Nada developed a series of works in the late 1940s devoted to individuals and families living in darkness with only a sole candle as a source of light. Nada chose to combine commentaries on the material deprivation of the poor, the obvious lack of electrification, and gestures of suffering, depression, and the downcast gaze, with references to Sufism. In the wake of the reaction of the state to Hunger, which had briefly landed al-Gazzar in jail in 1948, the symbolism of Sufism was perhaps a means of presenting the subversive indirectly. The reference to Sufism as the path of solace was symbolized in the prayer beads set in the foreground of Nada’s 1949 work, L’ombre de Kob Kab.

Figure 23 Kamil Yusuf, L’Attente, circa 1945–1950. Painting. Source: Aimé Azar, L’eveil de la conscience picturale en Egypt (The Rise of the Pictural Conscience in Egypt), Cairo: Imprimerie Française, 1954, p. 37.

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The Contemporary Arts Group did not regard the festival as a set ritual devoid of interaction with a social setting. Beginning in the late 1940s, al-Gazzar, al-Sagini and others chose the festival and the ‘arusa sugarine doll as a subject for a series of sculptures, paintings and brass work. These representations interpreted the traditional festival arts and birthday celebrations of the prophet Muhammad centered around Tanta, Cairo and other cities. Sufism was linked with charitable acts and the participation and division of tasks by gender. Devotions and customary offerings were offered. Women and men distributed bread to the poor and to the reciters of Qur’anic prayers at the graves of relatives. In exchange for gifts of food, the recipient offered the name of the deceased in a prayer.54 The Contemporary Arts Group, in the works of al-Sagini and al-Gazzar, emphasized popular arts and festivals as integral subjects for the studio arts. By the mid-1950s, members of the group were turning to popular culture. The sculptor al-Sagini turned to the mawlid festivals of the Islamic calendar and he produced works in bronze and copper plate sculptures. Al-Gazzar also began his series of paintings incorporating the mawlid festivals. As the group emphasized the subject of the everyday, mass culture and agency, they realized that the festival scene often represented as a traditional art, was not a simple folkloric art that could be translated as a window onto an ontological past. Rather, it was an ongoing art form with a philosophical basis that in its remaking and representation, integrated itself into the experience of Egyptian modernity. Al-Gazzar chose a symbolic surrealist response to the festival in his 1948 painting The Carnival of the Lovers, with its scene of naked participants and a floating male, perhaps intended as a metaphor of an angel in a quixotic amorous scene. The notion of magic and the presence of the eye with its magical qualities were first shown in his 1951 oil painting, The Magic Eye, renamed as Theatre of the World. In The Magic Eye, a man and woman are seated on opposite sides of a table, facing the viewer, with the woman’s head resting atop the table in a gesture of despair or fatigue. Below the table, a monkey sits, with arms folded, with a drawing of a charm, the magic eye on a sheet of paper below an upside-down crescent or horseshoe. This Magic Eye can be compared with al-Gazzar’s other painting, The Snake Eater (1951), which parodies the featured entertainer at the mawlid of Sayyida Zaynab. Here, in the domestic space of the home, the entertainer desperately turns to performing with snakes, and the woman to the left has only one eye and no mouth. An amulet and keys hang on the wall, the symbolic link to the future, the same symbolism represented by the key in al-Gazzar’s The Past, the Present and the Future, painted in the same year,

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Figure 24 Hamid Nada, L’ombre de Kob Kab (The Shadow of Kob Kab), 1947. Graphic medium. Source: Aimé Azar, L’eveil de la conscience picturale en Egypt (The Rise of the Pictural Conscience in Egypt), Cairo: Imprimerie Française, 1954, p. 53.

and in The Fool (1948). The eye has a wide range of significance in village and popular religious philosophies. In El-Aswad’s study of Egyptian rural folk cosmology and religion, the eye may signify many moods and psychic meanings, ranging from envy to evil; or the eye, combined with the hand, becomes a symbol of protection or blessing.55 Tattoos and designs reflecting a personal meaning and cosmological philosophy began to show in another of al-Gazzar’s earliest drawings on the theme of the darwish performer in The Darwish Festival (1948). As with his 1952 painting The Darwish and the Two Elephants, al-Gazzar developed a series of interpretative paintings on the folk arts and ceremonies of urban Cairo and the villages, which may have been composed with some context in mind of the history of these displays as targets of repression by the state. His 1952 painting, The World of the Love, combined the symbolism of his earlier paintings in showing the intimacy of a newlywed couple with fine

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Figure 25 ‘Abd al-Hadi al-Gazzar, Sunuduq al-Duniya (The Cosmorama, also known as The Magic Eye or Theatre of the World), 1951. Oil on cardboard. 64 × 45.5 cm. Source: Hassan Al Thani Collection. Image courtesy of Mathaf: Arab Museum of Modern Art.

clothing and jewelry: the groom, holding a snake, and the bride holding a chaff of wheat; a hen in the foreground with a basket of two eggs as a symbol of evolution and fertility; a reclining figure in the background praying, and a purposely enigmatic nude figure of a woman leaving the large room in the background. Al-Gazzar’s painting, al-Mawlid (1956), combines the sense of mass participants, decorative symbols and tokens with a rhythmic quality implied in the presence of tabora drum, cymbal players, and clapping hands. In al-Mawlid¸ we see a tightly compacted composition. A framed portrait of a saint raised with acclaim above the crowd, is shown in procession, as hands reach forward to it, and towards other objects in search of blessings and grace. The attention to the decorative arts of the festival is replicated on the drums painted with ornamental symbols.56 The painting recalls the artist’s unpublished illustrated poem in 1953, which included a description of the music and arts of the mawlid festival: … Of processions as far as the eye can see Their flutes, tambour drums and chanted psalms Coming from the spring which spurts blood Comes a dreamer of night and day and ages ….57

Figure 26 ‘Abd al-Hadi al-Gazzar, Mawlid al-Dirawish, (The Darwish Festival), 1948. Charcoal on Paper. Source: Alain and Christine Roussillon, Abdel Hadi al-Gazzar: Une Peinture Égyptienne (Abdel Hadi Al-Gazzar: An Egyptian Painter). Cairo: Dar al-Mustaqbal al-Arabi, 1995, p. 49

Figure 27 ‘Abd al-Hadi al-Gazzar, al-Mawlid (Festival), 1956. Oil on Cardboard. Source: Alain and Christine Roussillon, Abdel Hadi al-Gazzar: Une Peinture Égyptienne (Abdel Hadi Al-Gazzar: An Egyptian Painter). Cairo: Dar al-Mustaqbal al-Arabi, 1995, p. 112.

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By the mid-1950s, the circus was among the models of popular art that influenced a number of artists, including Nu‘man ’Ashur, who recalled troupes of circuses traveling through the countryside towns in his memoirs.58 The circus was a base for popular acting, humor and satire. In al-Gazzar’s paintings in the 1950s, circus scenes are commonly depicted. In The Popular Circus, (1956), al-Gazzar draws the viewer into the space and time of the popular circus by displaying a pantheon of symbols and activities to mark a variety of public celebrations. Like his paintings of the mawlid processions, the circus here suggests an inclusion of Sufi participants in the ring of observers. The men are dressed in white, and reclined, almost oblivious to the performances of acrobats and jugglers in the main square. The women shown behind the men are dressed in black, leaning over a short wall. These themes were continued in al-Gazzar’s 1956 painting, The Popular Circus, and in his painting from 1958, The Invocation, or Night and Dawn. In The Popular Circus, he returned to the compositional setting of the private Sufi gathering, and to Kamil Yusuf’s painting L’Attente (circa 1945 – 1950), with the same theme. Here, al-Gazzar merges the ceremonial ring of the Sufi gathering with a mass gathering of circus activities, entertainers, strongmen and jugglers, thereby combining his own personal interest in Sufism and the festive. Al-Gazzar’s celebration of popular festivals and observances conflicted sharply with an official regulation in the state’s approach to public festivals. As the mawlid festivals were subject to state repression under the old regime, by the late 1950s and 1960s, the festival and circus had become a subject of institutionalized national folklore. As the studio artists of the avant-garde integrated the festival into their arts, the state, with its expansive role in the arts during the Nasser period, responded to the popularity of the festival by attempting to adopt it into the forms of national folklore. In 1956, an opera appeared in the festival, and was followed in later years by the production of ballet performances in 1963, and government sponsorship of traveling dance troupes.59 Thawrat Ukasha’s establishment of the national circus became a government sponsored and financed project.60 The circus was also featured in the ‘ammiyya poetry of Salah Jahin, written to emphasize the ‘ammiyya dialect of the circus director in the opening pitch to the audience.61 The circus became the subject of a documentary film, Ughniyat Tawha al-Hazina (Sad Song of Tawha) (1971) by ‘Attiyat al-Abnudi.62 Other artists turned to the themes of the circus performances, including Ahmad Lutfi, who painted a Western circus, al-Sirk li-l-Fannan (Circus

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Figure 28 ‘Abd al-Hadi al-Gazzar, The Popular Circus 1956. Oil on Hardboard. Source: Alain and Christine Roussillon, Abdel Hadi al-Gazzar: Une Peinture Égyptienne (Abdel Hadi Al-Gazzar: An Egyptian Painter). Cairo: Dar al-Mustaqbal al-Arabi, 1995, p. 114.

Artist).63 Unlike Lutfi’s painting, which marks its Western identities with a cowboy on horseback and a dancing acrobat atop one of her elephants, al-Gazzar located his circus in a local milieu. In al-Gazzar’s painting, the elephants and procession are shown in a local street en route to a performance, and are decorated with regional blankets and decorations, a rendering consistent with the artist’s preferences. Gamal al-Din al-Sagini chose the ‘arusa sugarine doll as a subject for a series of sculptures, paintings and brass works beginning in the 1950s and continuing to the end of his career and death in 1976. His sculptures and paintings varied considerably in their range of form, presentation, contextual reference and meaning. In Muhammad ‘Iz al-Din Mustafa Hamuda’s 1953 portrait of al-Sagini, with a highly stylized representation of collected ‘arusa dolls in the background on the walls framing al-Sagini’s face, it is apparent that these artists were collaborating on the representation of the festival doll as a subject.

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The Politics of Art in Modern Egypt Figure 29 Muhammad ‘Iz al-Din Mustafa Hamuda, Portrait of Jamal al-Sagini, 1953. Oil on Canvas. 65 × 92.5 cm. Source: Museum of Modern Art, Cairo.

In representing the ‘arusa subject as a celebration and implied political commentary, al-Sagini referenced the process by which the festival and its arts became a counter-discourse of resilience by popular culture. He drew upon the poetical refrains of the festival to merge text and image in his series of the festival tray. He developed this medium during a fifteen year period from the mid 1950s to about 1970. In one of his more provocative responses to the 1967 War, al-Sagini entitled one of his sculpted trays of the festival doll series, ‘Arusat al-Salam (The Sweet Bride, also known as the Bride of Peace, 1967).64 The circular tray is presented in the form of a traditional food tray of tapped copper with raised and beveled edges. The main figure, the bride doll, wears an unfolded paper crown of the kind commonly sold with toy dolls. Al-Sagini sets off the central bride figure within a squared pattern of floriated decoration and text, with the work’s title, ‘The Sweet Bride.’ Around each of the squared floriated pattern are four quadrants of an anti-war poem set around the central figure of the ‘arusa doll. The Sweet Bride holds a snake, the serpent of war, in her left

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hand while tearing off an umbilical cord with her right hand. Al-Sagini’s distinctive and inventive script is written in a hieroglyphic form of Arabic, with each of the letters disconnected from each other, each quadrant and stanza cascading downward. The poem explains the intent of the work as a statement of grief for those who have fallen, and the loss of the vanishing ordinary festival:

Figure 30 Gamal al-Sagini, ‘Arusat al-Salam (The Sweet Bride or The Bride of Peace), 1967. Hammered Copper. Source: Kamal al-Mallakh, Gamal Es-Seguini. Cairo: General Book Organization, 1985, Appendix.

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The Sweet Bride The Sweet Bride On a throne On a throne Where is the fallen house Where is the fallen festival Where, where Humanity at war And to each It was war, war War The mother of peace The mother of war The mother of peace The mother of war The mother of peace The mother of war

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Gamal al-Sagini’s sculptures and paintings of the ‘arusa festival doll, his choice of alternating textual commentaries, and affirmations of the festival indicate his quest for an art that related to the contemporaneity of life with the various art forms and philosophies of traditional arts and their transition as intermediaries of modernity. The intermediary and transitional bridging of his art paralleled that of Hamid Nada’s return to stylized symbols of folk and peasant life, and the graphic artist Ahmad Fu’ad’s emphasis on these themes beginning in the late 1960s, with a focus on Upper Egypt. Al-Sagini’s later art explored the problem of ‘post-colonial’ concepts of neo-orientalism and neo-traditionalism, and presented the subaltern as a subordinated subject searching for traditional alternatives in local and transnational experiences of modernity. Al-Sagini’s combination of traditional and modern forms, shown in his mawlid festival doll series of brass panels with their textual inscriptions, demonstrated the artist’s interpretation of popular form and culture.

Figure 31 Gamal al-Sagini, Shajarat al-Hayat (The Tree of Life), 1962. Hammered Copper. 77 × 32 cm. Source: Kamal al-Mallakh, Gamal Es-Seguini. Cairo: General Book Organization, 1985, Appendix.

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The ‘arusa bride doll form, with its conical triangular skirt, appeared in the graphic arts of al-Sagini’s contemporaries. Jathibiyah Sirri (b. 1925), among the most prominent and successful women graphic artists of this period, references the same themes in her 1956 lithograph, Ummamiyya (Motherhood), that were later developed in Sa‘ad Kamal’s The Family, (1963), and Motherhood, (1959), and in al-Sagini’s brass plate sculpture, The Tree of Life (1962). Al-Gazzar and al-Sagini drew aspects of the tree of motherhood from Sirri’s earlier interpretation. Al-Sagini’s later compositions borrowed from Sirri’s 1956 print Motherhood, which depicts a boy child being nursed from the mother’s breast amid trees verdant with fruit and doves. In The Doll (1958), a round circular composition of a bride doll was transfigured into a living tree from which fruits grow and birds feed, reinterpreted later in The Tree of Life (1962). Al-Sagini’s sculptures of the festival doll first appeared in 1955 and 1958 in two separate forms, first in his outdoor bronze, The Doll, and later in his copper plate sculpture of the same title.65 A seated woman is rendered in bronze, holding a miniature doll decorated with the characteristic cascading decorative halos. The Doll series signifies a direction toward the subject of the festival and women’s art and marks a turn from his formal studio modeling. While the subject of the defiant peasant in social realist tones continued in his large bronze, This Land is Mine (1956), the genre of the ‘arusa and the subject and form of the feminine remained the dominant trope of his sculptures.66

Figure 32 Jathabiyya Sirri, Umuma, (Motherhood) 1952. Print. Source: Fathi Ahmad, Fann al-Jirafik al-Misri (Egyptian Graphic Art). Cairo: al-Hay’a al-Misriyya al-‘Amma li-lKitab, 1985, p. 353.

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The symbolism of the tree in the copper sculptures of al-Sagini retained its political references. Tree of Destiny (1962) with its dual symbolism as the tree of life and the tree of death or destiny, is comparable in composition to the use of the tree in al-Gazzar’s 1962 painting, al-Mithaq (The Charter). In his metamorphic series in copper and bronze sculpture of the mawlid festival doll, the ‘arusa, and the tree goddess, al-Sagini began a series of sculptural commentary on society. He divides the composition of his copper plate sculpture, The Doll (1958) into two halves. On one side humanity feeds off the tree of life in its various forms. Around the circumference are deployed various symbols of labor and daily life. A flock of birds feed off the fruits of the tree, which includes symbols of culture: an ‘oud, a musical instrument, a hammer, and pen and paper signifying intellectual activity.

Figure 33 Gamal al-Sagini, al-Nas al-Busata (The Simple People), 1970. Hammered Copper. Source: ‘Afif Bahnassi, al-Fann al-Hadith fi-l-Bilad al-‘Arabiyya (Modern Art in the Arab World). Tunis: UNESCO/Dar al-Junub li-l-Nashr al-Yunasku, 1980, p. 208. (Overlay of this author’s translation.)

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On the right, a string of five people are shown hanging from the boughs of the tree, with its enigmatic symbols of letters and designs. Four years later in 1970, al-Sagini revived the subject of the tree of life as a metaphor for the state and civil society in The Simple People (1970). He divided the composition into two halves.67 On the left, the living tree of good society, nurturing bird life and humanity, symbolizes the arts, sciences, medicine, health and prosperity. On the right is the tree of death and bad society, with death, bombing, disease, unemployment, and torture. In this work, al-Sagini provides an extended commentary on his view of contemporary Egyptian society. The hopes resonant in 1958 of all-encompassing goodwill are replaced by pessimism. The forces of good and evil are depicted as a divisive conflict and reflect an internal civil struggle. He referred to both his own and al-Gazzar’s work, incorporating and repeating the trope of the living and dying tree as a metaphor of the state and civil society. During this interim period following the 1967 War, al-Sagini’s al-Nas al-Busata (The Simple People) provides an allegory of good and bad government, and moral guidance. Al-Sagini collaborated with two other prominent sculptors, Salah ‘Abd al-Karim and Mansur Faraj, on the proposed (but never built) war memorial at the mouth of the Suez Canal following the October War of 1973, which presented his ambivalent return to a collaboration with the state.68 Whereas al-Sagini refused a state prize in 1962 for his sculpture, Rise of Egypt, and criticized the state’s betrayal of the promise for civil services after the 1967 War, he and other prominent artists of his generation adopted a nationalist interpretation of the 1973 October War as a victory for commemoration.69 During the last five years of his life, al-Sagini upheld authenticity in traditional artistic culture. In 1976, he edited and wrote a catalogue for an exhibition on Qatari art, al-Fann al-Tashkili fi Qatar (The Plastic Art in Qatar).70 The catalogue was written in conjunction with a large exhibition of Qatari art that premiered in Cairo in 1973, when Egyptian and Gulf state diplomacy fostered well-financed exchanges of cultural exhibitions. The exhibition is useful in comparing al-Sagini’s changed position on cultural discourse following the two wars of 1967 and 1973. Al-Sagini organized the exhibition around contemporary Qatari artists, and catalogued the collection around topics of turath or tradition, and themes of traditional labor. Since Qatar lacked a peasant class, al-Sagini substituted a focus on the boat fishermen of Qatar. During the expansive years of the oil economy and formation of university art education in the Gulf states in the 1970s, the Gulf states emphasized the theme of

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a traditional, largely passive population in their art. While Qatari artists could venture into abstraction, it was generally balanced with large exhibitions of traditional fishing village scenes.71 After his Qatari project, al-Sagini produced another ‘arusa figurine painting entitled Folk Candy Dolls (1973), painted upon his return to Spain where he remained for the last few years of his life. He prepared this oil painting as an offering of healing. The form is remarkably similar to Latin American orishas featuring St. Lazarus as the healer of the crippled. In Folk Candy Dolls, the bridal doll is barefoot and standing on one leg, with the other leg bent under, while balancing on crutches. In part, there is an element of self-reflection, as the artist was crippled in one leg. The choice of coloring and décor is a return to the themes developed in his paintings and sculpture of the subject. This painting closely resembled his oil on celotex painting of the same year, titled ‘Dolls,’ with a similar composition and subject of a crutch-bearing ‘arusa figurine, but in darker, richer tones. In the copper sculpture, The Tree of Destiny, produced the same year as al-Gazzar’s The Charter, al-Sagini depicts the hanging tree from which three men are hung, a reference not only to the Dinshaway incident, but also to executions by the Nasser regime. Instead of birds feeding from the tree, a dead pigeon lies caught by its foot and hangs upside down. After the 1967 War, al-Sagini returned to the subject of the ‘arusa bridal doll. Another sculptor, Salah ‘Abd al-Karim, was indebted to the artisanal technique that al-Sagini discovered living and working in his neighborhood near the Khan al-Khalili crafts markets of Cairo.72 ‘Abd al-Karim adopted the techniques of welding cast-off auto and metal parts, as in his sculpture The Owl, made entirely of nails, and in a number of his other sculptures of the 1960s.73 Al-Sagini’s superb metal casting techniques was also manifest in his designs for the Alexandria Biennale series of specially struck commemorative medals for the art exhibitions.74 His metalworking also made use of stringing coins together into necklaces, another technique picked up from the artisanal metalworkers of his home district in Cairo. Another of the ‘Dolls’ series from the same year turns the celebratory doll figure into a crucified and abused woman, nailed to a cross and stripped. This series suggests an anti-war comment on the effects of the 1973 War, with its crippling and maiming of civilians and the continued deprivation of Palestine. In one of his last paintings from 1976, The ‘Arusa of the Moulid, al-Sagini depicts an ‘arusa figurine as an angel in flight over the Nile, with the river represented in symbols of water and movement. The flight of the angel recalls al-Gazzar’s paintings from 1951, The Carnival of the Lovers.75

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The return to the ‘arusa doll series with its emphasis on healing and the intercession of the healing arts is a return to the earlier philosophy and works of the Contemporary Arts Group, which in their youth in the late 1940s and 1950s, sought to combine an appeal to realism, folk wisdom and philosophy to cope with the pressures of illness and deprivation. By 1960, the mawlid festival, the healing, dance and spiritual ceremony of the zar, and popular Sufi arts also appeared as subjects of a new generation, which included students from the same neighborhood of Sayyida Zaynab, notably Zakariya al-Zayni (b. 1932). Al-Zayni, like his art teachers al-Gazzar and Hamid Nada, took up the themes of these popular festivals and ceremonies as bases for his art.76 His subsequent career shows his interest remained in pursuing the subject of the arts of the masses or the popular arts of Cairo. Why did the production of ‘arusa and mawlid arts that featured in Egyptian aesthetic expression from the late 1940s through the 1960s, diminish after al-Sagini’s death? In the year of al-Sagini’s death, ordinances were passed restricting the performance of the mawlid festivals. The

Figure 34 Gamal al-Sagini, from the ‘arusa series, Folk Candy Dolls, circa 1973. Oil on celotex. Source: Kamal al-Mallakh, Gamal Es-Seguini. Cairo: General Book Organization, 1985, appendix.

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policing of mawlid festivals and private dhikr celebrations was placed under the regulatory authority of the Sufi governing councils, which had been reformed under the state’s corporatist reorganization of religious institutions.77 While the festival had been a target of state suppression since the 1930s, the regulation of the festival marked the divisions between popular culture and the use of clergy and officials within the Sufi orders to provide self-regulation. The increasing regulation of the mawlid by the state coincided with the increase of migrancy and labor conditions that forced peasants away from the vicinity of market towns and governate capitals, like Tanta.78 This contingent experience of migrancy and mobility of labor as a polemic for the arts is examined in the next chapters.

Chapter 5 THE LANDLORD-PEASANT BATTLES AS A SUBJECT FOR THE ARTS: FROM BUHUT TO KAMSHISH The witness: In reality, these events were about the Ministry of Interior representative ‘Abd al-Majid al-Badrawi and his differences with some of the farmers over the compensation. He had beaten one of the farmers. The peasants erupted and went forth to discover what happened. One of guards attacked them. ‘Abd al-Aziz al-Badrawi was found to have ordered the deputy of the guards to strike against those people, but he refused; he took the rifle from him, and shot and killed the deputy; afterwards they seized the peasants and tortured them…. The President: Many people died…. The accused: arrested all of the people and ‘Abd al-‘Aziz al-Badrawi was incensed and went out in a fit of rage because of what he saw of the situation and called out: ‘You criminal, you son of a dog, you act as if you are free to rule here.’ Testimony, Revolutionary Council Inquest into Buhut massacre. al-Ahram, December 30, 1953. In Yasin and Bahiyya, Nagib Surur began a trilogy on Egyptian peasant labor and culture of the mid-twentieth century that preoccupied much of his writing and theatre of the 1960s. In locating the first novel and play of the trilogy around the actual events at Buhut in 1951, he resumed a

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dialogue on peasant labor and polity that prevailed in Egyptian arts, as in al-Sharqawi’s 1953 novel The Earth, and in a series of graphic art works by al-Gazzar on the killings of peasants at Buhut. In this chapter, I argue that in Yasin and Bahiyya, Surur strives for the freedom of the peasant from the domination of large estate agricultural capitalism. Surur also asserts the revenge of the peasants against the landowners as a reaction to the absence of justice. In Surur’s use of tragedy, freedom is countered by the killing of the hero Yasin, whose death mimics the actual killing of peasant laborers at Buhut. The culmination of Surur’s trilogy is examined here as contemporary history and an artistic discourse on the aftermath of Buhut leading up to the murder of the farm labor leader Salah Husayn at Kamshish in April 1966. I compare Surur’s narrative to al-Gazzar, whose illustrations of contemporary events borrowed from journalism and the reporting of material conditions of rural workers and their struggles against the large landowning families. In The Battle of Islam and Capitalism (1951), Sayyid Qutb, the literary critic who would later emerge as an intellectual of the Muslim Brothers, summarized the main points of struggle facing contemporary Egyptian society. These were the unequal distribution of ownership and wealth; the problem of labor and wages; a lack of equal opportunity; a decline of labor productivity, and the weakening of production.1 Although Qutb’s position on the labor question was quite distinct from ‘Abd al-Bari in 1940, who called for a spirit of cooperation in defense of the power of the large landowners to set wages, both ‘Abd al-Bari and Qutb captured essential elements of material and political struggles waged between tenant labor and land capitalists.2 While Qutb was critical of capitalism’s unchecked powers, particularly the effects of extended demands on the number of hours worked, he was also unwilling to challenge the dependence on capitalism which drew on wage labor. He argued that this dependence could be equitably managed through principles that were only possible through an Islamic government.3 For Qutb, the social conditions of labor and its organization were recent problems, as seen in the conflict between labor laws and newly formed labor organizations over the worker’s right to rest and better conditions.4 The management of social distribution and production, Qutb maintained, was established better through an Islamic government than through a secular or communist alternative. His position reflected a trend among intellectuals and political leaders, who in seeking an overthrow of the old regime, also sought a concerted effort toward a reconfigured solution in which labor could be brought under state management to resolve what Muhammad ‘Abd al-Bari had earlier called the ‘dangerous situation.’

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As Qutb and others considered the struggle of the recent past and the near future, there remained the overarching question of who would control the state and through what form of a secular-liberal, communist-socialist, or Islamic-socialist combination this state would take. Beyond this question lurked the threat of the state’s usurpation of power through direct measures of its own. Of the many direct confrontations in 1951, the battle and massacre at Buhut, in which the local land barons, the Badrawis, ordered and partook in the shooting of peasants who were rebelling against abuse and poor compensation, drew the most attention and immediate publicity. Sayyid Qutb wrote responses to the tragedy at Buhut in the summer of 1951.5 Buhut captured the attention of artists and writers, including ‘Abd al-Hadi al-Gazzar and his illustrated poem on the subject, and al-Sharqawi’s novel, al-’Ard, (The Earth), illustrated by Hasan Fu’ad for serialization in a newspaper in 1953–54. Al-Sharqawi and Fu’ad were participating in the widening critical discourse on capitalism and the state. The peasant’s agency posed itself as a formal problem for representation in the arts. The

Figure 35 Hasan Fu’ad, untitled illustration in ‘Abd al-Rahman al-Sharqawi, al-’Ard (The Earth). Ink drawing. Beirut: al-Maktab al-Tijari, 1954, p. 75.

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emerging solution arose from the use of collective memory and the oral tradition of narrative.6 Fu’ad’s illustrations evoked the symbols of peasant democracy and agency, and presented and named peasant actors, both men and women as portrait subjects. By 1953, al-Gazzar’s illustrated poem quoted the direct speech of insurrection from Buhut as reported in the newspapers and government commission’s inquiry into the uprising and its brutal suppression. The poem began with the same insult used by the Badrawis in their attack on the peasants at Buhut, ‘Damned Son of Dogs.’ 7 He invoked the tragic in the grief of the woman bent over the corpse on the ground. Al-Gazzar’s combination of poem and illustration anticipated and foreshadowed a developing integration of graphic arts and text that featured in al-Sharqawi’s The Earth, and later in the ‘ammiyya poetry movement of the late 1950s and 1960s. Damned son of dogs A son of the bedeviled slaves Mean and lowly A rogue typical of his time Who lives only for himself Wets his appetite with a goat Puts his ass on a throne Across the streams and fields A perpetual blasphemer Women and wine Seven black heads Like a morbid crow Crowing out the news on shore The one with the sincere palm He makes me vow To wrap the difficult times8 Nagib Surur, who was from the town of Ikhtab in Daqhaliyya province, later centered the subject of his verse novel Yasin and Bahiyya (1964) on the tragedy of Buhut and invoked it as a collective memory. The Upper Egyptian folk ballad of Yasin and Bahiyya, in which Yasin had been killed by the Haganah camel corps, is transformed into a verse narrative of the peasant uprising and their deaths at Buhut.9 This ballad was widely known and familiar among Egyptians of this period, and its regional origins reflected its Sa‘idi or Upper Egyptian origins.

Figure 36 ‘Abd al-Hadi al-Gazzar, Damned Son of Dogs, 1953. Colored ink drawing. Source: Alain and Christine Roussillon, Abdel Hadi al-Gazzar. Une Peinture Égyptienne (Abdel Hadi Al-Gazzar: An Egyptian Painter). Cairo: Dar al-Mustaqbal al-Arabi, 1995, p. 195.

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For other intellectuals, the peasant struggles against the landowners were formative of their work. The writer Salah Jahin, the prominent poet laureate of the Nasser period and proponent of writing in ‘ammiyya dialect, was the son of a magistrate who served on the inquest into Buhut.10 The historian, Sayyid ‘Ashmawi, like Surur and al-Gazzar, grew up in the Delta villages and produced a series of essays on Buhut, as well as an important book on peasant uprisings in twentieth-century Egypt.11 In sociology, several recent works by Malak Zaalouk and ‘Izzat Hijazi on the village of Ikhtab compare Buhut to the larger administrative Delta town of Ikhtab.12 In all of these artistic, literary and historical interpretations, the reliance upon peasant experiences and self-narratives formed the basis of a historical narrative of Buhut as collective memory. Peasants narrated their everyday experiences and struggles through the use of dialogues in ‘ammiyya, and in their texts the authors identified with the use of ‘ammiyya as a dialogue of resistance. Surur’s use of mockery and sarcasm in the dialogue in Yasin and Bahiyya merges in the form of the tragedy as a response to an unrealized justice. CONSCIOUSNESS AND PEASANT AGENCY Peasants of all economic levels, the landowner and the landless informed themselves and developed a relative consciousness of their material conditions and the contemporary world through their varied contacts. The experience of emigration to the city by family members was a direct source of information.13 Work as day laborers in adjoining villages allowed meetings with peasants of other villages. Visits to provincial towns and centers for their market and other reasons provided a broadening awareness of the local conditions and ways to compare and counter the position of the local landlords. Peasants maneuvered around illiteracy by using the radio. The purchase of a radio by one of the peasants of Buhut, so angered the Badrawi family that they ordered their local armed guards into the peasant’s house to forcibly remove and destroy the radio.14 Reactionary suppression was hard pressed with the upwelling of resistance, but was nonetheless a part of everyday encounters and struggles. Rifa‘at al-Sa‘id wrote in his memoirs about a local pasha who interrogated a peasant over his knowledge of or membership in a communist organization.15 The radio also informed the working poor in the city and those moving to the city. The documentary filmmaker, ‘Attiyat al-Abnudi, recalled her own mother’s reliance on radio news.16 These experiences led to the formation of a collective history and narrative that was centered on the crises in the villages as at Buhut.

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BUHUT AS COLLECTIVE HISTORY AND NARRATIVE The outbreak of violence in the northern Delta village of Buhut in the summer of 1951 resulted from a protest by the villagers over the abuse of workers and lack of compensation. When a member of the Badrawi family met the crowd assembled before him, he insulted the villagers and called them sons of dogs and fired shots with his rifle. In the ensuing melee that lasted for four hours, the villagers pelted the mansion with stones and torched and burned down a storage annex of the Badrawis.17 The Badrawis with their superior arms and hired guards continued to fire upon the peasants, killing and wounding at least nineteen.18 With their powerful connections in Egyptian politics, the Badrawis were able to dispatch guards from neighboring villages and ask for reinforcements through the intercession of a Badrawi relative, Fu’ad Siraj al-Din, Egypt’s Minister of Interior.19 The reviled Haganah Corps, with its colonial dress and symbolism, was dispatched overnight to seal the village of Buhut. Buhut was one of a series of outbreaks of conflict and violence between peasant farmers and laborers against the large landowners of Egypt, which had been developing since the 1920s.20 Another tragedy occurred only a few weeks after the uprising at Buhut, at the village of Mit Mahmud. During the forced relocation of peasant workers and their families from the village to a large plantation, one of the buses overturned into an irrigation canal and drowned 19 children. The plantation owner provoked further outrage when he proposed only a meager compensation to families of the children.21 Insight into the broad recognition of class conflict may also be read from ‘Abd al-‘Al al-Bustawisa (b. 1926), who recounted his own youth spent working as a helper for his father, a small peasant who owned only one and one-half feddans or acres.22 Al-Bustawisa recalled the names of the big landholding families from the northern Delta, in and around the Daqhaliyya province and Kafr al-Shaykh, including the notorious Siraj al-Din family, the al-Atribi family, and the Badrawi ‘Ashur family, who were the object of the peasant mobilization and struggle at Buhut.23 During the 1940s, al-Bustawisa’s own move to the town of Mahlah to enter factory work is indicative of the breakdown of distinction between peasant farm labor and factory work, as is his recollection of the dual presence of the Muslim Brothers and communists in organizing and appealing to factory workers in the Delta town at Mahlah.24 The attempts to organize peasants in the delta, by labor organizations affiliated with communists, occurred in the late 1940s around Mit Ghamr. This effort included the publishing and distribution of periodicals aimed at highlighting key struggles.25 Food shortages in the 1940s, and particularly

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in 1948, spurred open struggles against the authorities.26 By 1951, the use of demonstrations against imperialism and colonial occupation also unified the various elements of the lower social class.27 Other intellectuals adhered to the belief of great differences between city and country life, and a superior tone for the urban worker over the peasant. Najati ‘Abd al-Majid, whose father was a merchant in cotton and sugar, moved to Cairo in 1947 and pursued mechanics, upheld the view of peasant life as bound or determined by tradition and custom.28 In the arts this position had its advocates in the older Nahdawis of the national renaissance and folklorists, like Habib Gurgi. This subculture of the arts confronted the divisions of social class with a multidimensional approach to the arts. The playwright Nu‘man ‘Ashur included among his friends, a fellow communist, the writer, ‘Abd al-Rahman al-Sharqawi, the author of The Earth. ‘Ashur compared and recalled not only the related connections of struggles in town and country but also the position of the sha‘b or people of the streets of Cairo.29 By the mid 1940s al-Fajr al-Jadid (The New Dawn) had sent young students into the countryside and villages to make inroads into organizing.30 In response to the general agrarian crisis, peasant political action accelerated in the mid to late 1940s, through its advocacy and demands, and in the form of petitions and grievances, protest and attacks.31 Peasants were provoked into action by unstable commodity prices, excessive rents, and uncompensated labor demanded by the rich peasants and large estate landholding families, as well as crop and labor appropriation by the state. The war and the combinations of continued British occupation and the struggle of nationalism accelerated the crisis over the course and direction of the state. The vulnerability of commodities to price fluctuations in the colonial and world economy shifted demands for peasant labor toward day labor, migrant labor and factory labor. These material conditions also spawned the rise in the towns and cities of critical ideologies and strong political opposition from the Muslim Brothers, the communists, and the labor movements. In the late 1940s, pestilence from boll weevils and malaria and cholera epidemics exerted additional demands and strain on the poor and middle peasantry. Peasants shaped their own directives for a mass participatory democracy by resorting to well known political pressure, alternating between attempts at negotiations via petition or grievance and threats and acts of protest and violence. They used these to counter the repressive and violent acts of the landowners.32 For instance, expectations by landholders of gestures of deference when meeting on a road were met by refusals to stop for the

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landowners. Political resistance was also directed against the intermediaries, the middle strata agents and intellectuals who performed the functions of power for the landowner or local pasha.33 This became a central struggle in al-Sharqawi’s illustrated novel, The Earth, as the women attack the ‘umdah and his men to protest against the imprisonment of men in their families.34 THE ILLUSTRATED NOVEL AS NARRATIVE OF PEASANT AGENCY Realism as a reflection on contemporary reality provoked the artistic response of al-Sharqawi in The Earth, and of al-Gazzar in his early poems and sketches from 1953. Both artists followed Ramsis Yunan’s call for artists to present the contradictions of society and capitalism through the Surrealist presentation of the subversive. By the beginning of the 1950s, a realist style was more useful in describing both rural and urban civil conditions and consciousness. Symbols of capitalization of agriculture were juxtaposed against traditional culture. The saqiyya, or water wheel, was developed by al-Sharqawi as a symbol to juxtapose communal consciousness and reflection against capitalist disequilibria and disproportional power of large landowners. In the year the novel appeared, Shell Oil was publishing advertisements in the arts section of the newspaper al-Ahram, for motorized water pumps to replace the saqiyya. Of course, the greater interest of Shell Oil Company in Egypt was not the selling of water pumps to replace the saqiyya, but to confront the threat of nationalization. Shell had undergone a prolonged labor strike in September 1947, by workers at its facility in the Suez Canal, which required Shell Oil to double its wages to workers.35 The spatial and discursive symbols in The Earth, were presented through the trope of realism. Its narrative form may be more appropriately termed as neo-realism, akin to the narrative style of post-war Italian cinema. Two of these symbols, the saqiyya and the petition, feature prominently. The saqiyya became a pivotal symbol of the so-called feudalist peasant relations. Examples abound of its iconic status as presented in As‘ad Madhar’s painting, (n.d.) Suwaq al-Iqta’, (Waterwheels of Feudalism).36 However, al-Sharqawi relocated the saqiyya as a gathering place of play for children, of song and reflection for adults, and later as a place of confrontation among the main characters of the novel. During the last years before electrification, the saqiyya was also the scene of old rivalries and struggles between peasants and landowners over ownership and new tensions raised by political expectations and a drug trade. At

Figure 37 Advertisement for Shell Oil water pump, Mada ‘Ahd al-Saqiyya (Passing of the Age of the Waterwheel), 1953. Source: Arts page, al-Ahram, December 23, 1953.

Figure 38 Hasan Fu’ad, untitled illustration in ‘Abd al-Rahman al-Sharqawi, al-’Ard (The Earth). Ink drawing. Beirut: Al-Maktab al-Tijari, 1954, First edition., p. 161.

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the Buhut inquest in December 1953, one of the witnesses recalled that the local ‘umda, the local village official or middle man, wielded great power and had opposed the drug trade run by the Minister of Interior, Siraj al-Din and al-Badrawi. In retaliation for this refusal and over the loss in the elections, Siraj al-Din had his saqiyya burned down.37 In this context, the destruction of the saqiyya as depicted in al-Sharqawi’s, The Earth, bears direct reference to the reporting of contemporary events and political confrontations. Whereas The Earth is usually seen as a commentary on rural life of the 1930s, these contemporary testimonies printed in newspapers at the same time of al-Sharqawi’s novel place his writing in the temporality of the present. AL-GAZZAR’S RESPONSE TO THE PEASANT STRUGGLES In the early 1950s, al-Gazzar, who in 1948 had been jailed for his representation of the urban poor in Hunger, produced a series of drawings of the rural crisis. Among these was his unexhibited painting, al-Ma’sa ‘Am 1951 (The Tragedy of 1951) of the women of the family of the Upper Egyptian folk hero, Adham al-Sharqawi, who were shown in mourning for the legendary robber’s death. This painting is possibly an allegorical reference to violence at Buhut that Summer. From 1951–53 al-Gazzar was reflecting upon and portraying the government’s infliction of political torture. Al-Gazzar had shown the contingent political imprisonment for the Muslim Brothers, in his The Past, the Present and the Future (1951), and execution of prisoners in his graphic series of the hanging of prisoners in the aftermath of the trials and hanging of labor leaders after the 1952 revolution.38 His Sufism made him empathetic to the disparity of material conditions, and even though he was informed by the political ideology of Egyptian communism he remained detached from its activism during the late 1940s and early 1950s. Figure 39 ‘Abd al-Hadi al-Gazzar, al-Ma’sa ‘Am 1951 (The Tragedy of 1951), circa 1951–53. Oil on celotex. Source: Subhi al-Sharuni, ‘Abd al-Hadi al-Gazzar: Fannan al-Asatir wa ‘Alam al-Fadha’, (Abd al-Hadi al-Gazzar: Artist of the Fables and The World of Space), Cairo: al-Dar al-Qawmiyya li-l-Tiba‘a wa-lNashr, 1966, p. 45.

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In the aftermath of the Free Officer’s crackdown on labor, artists deployed their sympathies for labor with subtlety and nuance. The subversive became a tactic of exposing the weaknesses and flaws of the government’s claim to authority. The depiction of a folk hero’s death in 1953, allowed an indirect reference to the crushing of the strike at Kafr al-Dawwar and the public shock of the hangings of the strike’s leaders.39 Al-Gazzar’s series of pen and ink drawings on Adham al-Sharqawi was an allegorical reference to the present hangings of the strike’s leaders.40 In the Summer of 1951, Sayyid Qutb called Buhut, ‘The New Dinshaway,’ by which he linked the injustices leveled against the peasantry, to what occurred at Dinshaway in 1906.41 In 1953, the government conducted a well publicized investigation into the Buhut affair, using the inquest to deflect attention from its suppression of labor and the Muslim Brothers, by turning public attention to the crimes of the old regime. In this context, al-Gazzar embarked on a series of ink drawings and paintings about Dinshaway between 1953 and 1955. In those drawings he depicted the torturing and hanging of peasants condemned by a British tribunal held after the death of a British officer killed in a fracas after a British hunting party set fire to a mill. Al-Gazzar renders those unfortunate to

Figure 40 ‘Abd al-Hadi al-Gazzar, The Hanging Man, 1953. Oil on celotex. Source: Subhi al-Sharuni, ‘Abd al-Hadi al-Gazzar: Fannan al-Asatir wa ‘Alam al-Fadha’, Cairo: al-Dar al-Qawmiyya li-l-Taba’a wa-lNashr, 1966, p. 47.

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have been seized, tortured and hung by the British after a court martial. The Dinshaway incident had a longer history in the arts as a symbol of early twentieth-century nationalism and led to a series of songs, stories and graphic arts.42 The analogous representation of physical abuse of peasants by British soldiers in the Dinshaway incident, and by the state through conscription, to contemporary conditions in the Egyptian delta of the 1950s was unavoidable in the testimony that resulted from the 1953 inquest of Buhut. At Buhut the role of the local armed agents, the khufra and the Haganah corps were found to have committed a number of atrocities resulting in the death and torture of peasants. In the first untitled scene from this series, al-Gazzar’s ink drawing shows a British soldier whipping an Egyptian whose arms are tied and stretched above his head to cause maximum discomfort and pain. The prisoner is bald and stripped of his shirt. As he hangs from his wrists, he is unable to keep his feet level with the ground. Another victim appears dead on the ground, with marks of torture. By 1955, when al-Gazzar returns to the Dinshaway series, he depicts the hanging of local villagers put to death by the British. It was a thinly veiled reference to Buhut, to the execution of the workers Mustafa Khamis and Muhammad al-Baqari, by the new regime on September 7, 1952, and to the latest crackdown on the Muslim Brothers in 1954. Al-Gazzar’s rendering is also comparable to the nationalist narrative of the Dinshaway victims rendered in The Maiden of Dinshaway (1906), the first of the Egyptian village novels by Tahir Haqqi and the poems by the neo-classicist poet Ahmad Shawqi and others in the first decades after the hangings of the peasants.43 In the aftermath of the state’s crushing blows to mass mobilization efforts of the Muslim Brothers, the tentative but mediatory steps taken by the art of al-Gazzar and Hamid Nada represented the defeat and arrests of Muslim Brothers. But if the peasants and factory workers had been suppressed and the Muslim Brothers crushed, the other mass movement, the communists, also prompted a commentary from al-Gazzar in his illustrated poetry from 1953.44 Al-Gazzar’s turn to the use of illustrated poetry paralleled the political use of oral poetry in the form of ballads as a narrative of recent history. BUHUT AS COLLECTIVE MEMORY IN THE VERSE NOVEL In Nagib Surur’s verse novel Yasin and Bahiyya, the uprising at Buhut arose as a collective memory and historical narrative. By the mid-1960s as the village novel had evolved from its literary antecedents of the nationalist movement, a number of artists increasingly resorted to a ballad narrative of

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Figure 41 ‘Abd al-Hadi al-Gazzar, Dinshaway drawing series, 1953–1955). India ink on paper. Source: Alain and Christine Roussillon, Abdel Hadi al-Gazzar: Une Peinture Égyptienne (Abdel Hadi Al-Gazzar: An Egyptian Painter). Cairo: Dar al-Mustaqbal al-Arabi, 1995, p. 111.

peasant polity and life. Surur’s village novel arose during an officially sponsored realist movement in Egyptian national theatre that abandoned some of the political thrust of the dialogues of al-Sharqawi. This reflected the changed position of intellectuals and artists in relation to the state and the difficulty they encountered with the increasing attacks on the labor force and the transformations of the countryside. Surur’s 1964 adaptation of the folktale of Yasin and Bahiyya into a verse novel and theatrical production was emblematic of this change and an attempt at crafting a new formal solution. Other artists of this period had developed a similar trope, by resorting to a symbolic mythology and realism in painting. Al-Gazzar’s contemporaries, Hamid Nada, and Mahir Ra’if, painted representations of peasant themes and ballads with increasingly abstract symbolism in this period, and thereby modified their realist and Surrealist experiments of the late 1940s and early 1950s.45 A similar turn to the peasant character and the genre of the village novel also appeared in the vernacular poetry of Ahmad Fu’ad Nigm, in the poem, Fallah Yukhatib al-Iqta‘ iyya (A Peasant Addresses Feudalism)

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Figure 42 ‘Abd al-Hadi al-Gazzar, Dinshaway drawing series, 1953–1955. India ink on paper. Source: Alain and Christine Roussillon. Abdel Hadi al-Gazzar: Une Peinture Égyptienne (Abdel Hadi Al-Gazzar: An Egyptian Painter). Cairo: Dar al-Mustaqbal al-Arabi, 1995, p. 111.

published in a collection of his 1964 prison poetry Suwar min al-Hayat wa-l-Sign (Images from Life and Prison). Nigm dedicated this poem to those leading the struggle of peasants against the large landholding class and it was reprinted from a collection of stories included in a play using the same title of al-Sharqawi’s novel, The Earth.46 Nagib Surur wrote Yasin and Bahiyya while working in exile in Budapest as a radio announcer for Radio Moscow and completed it in February 1964, shortly before his return to Cairo. The subject of Yasin and Bahiyya was also favored by other artists, including Hasan Fu’ad, and a founder of the new realist movement in the 1950s. During his prolonged imprisonment from 1959 to 1962, Fu’ad had turned to drawing the subject of women characters, including Bahiyya from the folktale, and the character of Wasifa from The Earth.47 The search for a critique of the rich peasant aristocracy of the large landholders was a feature included in Surur’s criticism and theatre, as demonstrated in his translation and production of Chekhov’s plays, to writing on the theory and practice of drama, and his development of the Egyptian folk trilogy play. His own social class and formation was kept purposely

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enigmatic in his writings. His first poem, published in 1954, at the age of 22, revealed autobiographical influences.48 In the delta town of Ikhtab, where his father worked as an official clerk and tax collector, he had worked in his youth as an occasional and common ajir or laborer. Other poems reflect Surur’s interest in both classical and contemporary folk ballads in which he transforms classical ballads into contemporary scenes of engagement. In his four-part poem, al-Sindbad al-Bari (Sindbad the Creator), he emphasized Sheherezade’s description of Sinbad as a heroic but picaresque figure. On the surface, Sindbad the Creator is a verse poem of a ballad legend. A deeper reading reveals that Surur underscored contemporary issues of the exile returning home. Sindbad assumes the dual role of the mobile hero and intellectual who associates himself with workers and peasants. In the opening line of the poem, Sheherezade introduces Sindbad as ‘the man in poor condition.’ Surur transforms Sindbad from his condition of material and physical poverty into al-bari, the Creator, as a shaper of his own destiny. In the second section of the poem, Madinat al-‘Athab (The City of Torture), Surur manipulates the identity of al-Malik al-Sa‘ id (the Happy King), as a play on the dual meaning of malik, as king or as a property owner. He does this by changing the inflection of the title from the form of al-Malik al-Sa‘ id, of the Thousand and One Nights, to the diminutive term malik. In keeping with his interest in combining fable and realism, the section’s title warns a reader away from any suggestion of a fantasy tale into the material contrasts of the uncertainty of Sindbad’s position. The City of Torture renewed the continuing theme of arrest and torture by the state, which since the 1940s had been a central theme of the Egyptian Surrealists as in Ramsis Yunan’s drawing, ‘la capture impossible.49 Surur’s long stay in Russia and Hungary during the 1950s and early 1960s, enabled him to study drama, and shaped his literary repertoire with an international cosmopolitanism. His theatrical training at Russian drama schools and theatre, led to his own critical essays on acting, including the adoption of Stanislavsky’s method acting to modern Egyptian drama. Soon after his return to Egypt in 1964, he translated Anton Chekhov’s The Cherry Orchard for a Cairo stage production in 1965.50 The influence of Russian literature on Surur is evident in the subtitle to Yasin wa Bahiyya: Ruwaya Shi‘riyya, a poetical novel, which recalls Pushkin’s subtitle for Eugene Onegin: A Novel in Verse.51 Pushkin’s Eugene Onegin, contained several censored lines, beginning with Chapter 2, Canto IX, lines 10 –14. Nabokov in his Commentary and Index on Eugene Onegin, studied the expunged lines in Pushkin’s text, and

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compared them with draft versions that were unpublished. He concluded the deletions were forced by government censors which removed the stanza with its political implications.52 These censored lines were replicated by Surur as ellipses in the text of the final scene of Yasin and Bahiyya, an inference to censorship by the Egyptian Ministry of Culture.53 That Ukasha’s term as Minister of Culture was far from benign is evident from the autobiographical memoirs of the playwright Nu‘man ‘Ashur, who had his own conflicts with Ukasha’s role as a censor.54 The opening of the play begins with the voice of the narrator, al-rawi who is Bahiyya’s father and the uncle of Yasin. The narrator has a special burden. He reappears at the end of the play and confesses his guilt at having rejected Yasin’s bid for the hand of his daughter Bahiyya.55 The first person narrative form, with its opening cant, ‘I tell the story,’ was adapted into a sung prologue in the stage production. The first person narrative returns in the epilogue as the narrator reminds us that it was he who introduced the reader and audience to the story of Yasin and Bahiyya. The form of prologue follows Surur’s admiration for Bertolt Brecht, and the organization and use of the prologue in Brecht’s plays, as in The Three Penny Opera, that Surur later adapted into an Egyptian play about beggars in Cairo, in his Ubarit Malik al-Shahatin (Opera of the King of the Beggars). Some critics, such as Pierre Cachia, have localized the play as a generic Delta village.56 He glossed over the material origins of the story as an actual event, and suggested that Surur had borrowed from the late nineteenthcentury ballad romance of Yasin and Bahiyya. Cachia’s emphasis on the folkloric content of the play, de-contextualized the novel’s contemporary relevance. Several other Egyptian literary critics stressed the play’s origins as an Upper Egyptian story, noting its regional origins and connotations.57 The novel’s main characters and story are attributed to an Upper Egyptian folk song and is set in the time period of the 1930s.58 Kamal al-Din Husayn, who neglects the context of the 1951 revolt, placed the locale of the play as Upper Egyptian, noting that Surur’s adaptation of characters was taken largely from the Upper Egyptian saga, even though the village of Buhut was in the Delta. For Husayn, the play transcended regional struggles as a comment on shared social problems of Upper Egyptian and Delta villages. That the play has not only a basis and origin in a mawal or ballad of an upper Egyptian story but deliberately invokes Upper Egyptian characters to demonstrate a common link with peasants in the Delta, is more persuasively argued by Sayyid Ali Isma‘il.59 Isma‘il saw the use of Buhut as a generalized symbol of a village which suffered brutal violence and oppression in the pre-1952 period.60

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TEXT AND ORAL NARRATIVE AS HISTORY In the opening scene, the heroic character Yasin is introduced as a common landless laborer. He is an ajir, a day-worker, which Surur had been in his youth. Yasin has been deprived of his inheritance of a small plot of land caused by the wrongful imprisonment of his father and sequestration of his land by the greedy local authorities. Thus the first quest for Yasin is to attain justice by reaching his goal of acquiring land for himself.61 At the end of the scene, his cousin Bahiyya is introduced as the ‘aim of his heart.’ Yasin’s desire and longing for her is linked with his desire to acquire a piece of land. The accentuation of Yasin’s masculine features is counter posed by the elegance of Bahiyya’s form. Thus the second quest is set for the landless Yasin as the suitor of Bahiyya. As if to reinforce the plight of Yasin as a poor and landless peasant, Surur emphasizes the injustice of his position, caused by the theft of the family plot of land. Yasin’s landlessness and modest quest is empathetically set by Surur, with his statement, ‘His only wish was to own half a feddan.’ The structure of Yasin and Bahiyya is presented as a novel in verse that juxtaposes the pretentious position of the Badrawi family against the villagers of Buhut who suffer from excessive rents and taxation. Surur developed this struggle by drawing upon the Upper Egyptian folk song of Yasin and Bahiyya, whose own variations and nuances carried a wide resonance and familiarity. Surur adapts this ballad through the prevailing rhetoric of a generalized struggle between feudalism and peasants. The organization of the novel moves from a Marxist and Brechtian introduction to rally the workers and peasants together as revolutionaries against feudalism. The first scenes lead into an examination of the everyday life and romance of a peasant couple, within the familiar genre of the Egyptian village novel. As the novel develops, this transition required a shift from a generalized polemic of revolutionary slogans into a more subtle use of language that called upon the author’s own command of classical poetry and ‘ammiyya folk songs and ballads. Surur’s merger of a verse form drew from a variety of Egyptian, Arabic and European sources. While the story revolves around Yasin, the young landless laborer, the novella develops as a commentary on pre-1952 social conditions of the peasantry. Folkloric generalizations of gender and peasant subordination are initially deployed to suggest a commonality of struggle and communalist base. With the character of Yasin, Surur retained a model of the idealized folk peasant, but slowly transforms a cliché of the young and passive Bahiyya into a heroic figure who in the end acts to rally the citizens of Buhut into action.

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In Scene Two, Surur develops the tension between landowner and landless over the setting of the Pasha’s palace mansion, owned by the Badrawi family. To interject the present, he punctuates short songs to add rhythm to the presentation of the play.62

A song came to him and he sang: ‘There are people who drink honey and a people who drink vinegar And a people who sleep in the bed, and a people who sleep on the hill And a people who wear silk and a people who wear canvas And a people who rule over of those below who are abused’ When Surur began writing Yasin and Bahiyya in 1964, the electrification projects of the Aswan Dam were under construction. In Scene Two, he compares the material deprivation and lack of electrification of the village with the lavish luxury of the Badrawi mansion, the light of whose chandeliers never reach the neighborhoods and alleys of Buhut.

The sun set and the darkness of a tomb fell over all the houses Thus appear the nights in Buhut.. .... This is the big palace As it appeared from afar

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The chandeliers appeared as suns in the openings And the lamps on the fences were stars But none of its light entered into Buhut The villa mansion as the setting of the actual uprising and the locus of Surur’s novella, was a place of subjugation and exploitation and of serious confrontations between the landowner family and its servants, particularly in the abusive treatment of women servants. In Yasin and Bahiyya, Surur turns its plot on the consequences of the abuse and rape of Bahiyya by the pasha at the villa. Although the Badrawi family name is never mentioned by Surur, it was well known he implied the Badrawi family, who had a notorious reputation for abuse of the local peasants who were its tenants. The miserable living conditions of the Badrawi servants at the Buhut villa as at other mansions is documented and resulted in outbreaks of crime against the landlord.63 In the play, Bahiyya’s father, who is also the narrator of the prologue, rejected Yasin as a suitor. Bahiyya is sent to work as a servant in the Pasha’s mansion, where the women servants are routinely subjected to sexual abuse. Surur interjects the theme of domestic abuse of servants to resolve the crisis of Bahiyyas’s rape by the Pasha and her resulting pregnancy.

the daughter goes into the palace and lightly as the butterfly after a year the ‘daughter’ returned heavily… like a water skin

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Ashamed like a dog she is no longer a daughter, and in the womb a fetus of a ‘son of a dog’ and she is also just a daughter of dog Therefore it is a must … that she die! then she will be buried That’s how they handled shame in Buhut Faced with her crisis, Bahiyya seeks the counsel of a gypsy woman, who predicts a resolution for her.64 The gypsy woman is presented as a wandering minstrel, the counterpart of the male migrant tarahil worker.65 These references to the commoner, the displaced, and the subaltern present the role of women as influential intercessors. We find other references to women developing their range of philosophy and seeking intercession of saints. Bahiyya’s mother offered votives to Sayyid al-Badawi, the popular local Egyptian saint.66

The gypsy understood her What is it that preoccupies a mind such as Bahiyya’s? I see a sweet marriage for you Only in the midst of this desperate situation, is Bahiyya allowed to marry Yasin, the landless. A tragic ending is foretold, as Bahiyya miscarries or aborts the fetus, which of the two is never clearly stated. Later, in a moving scene, the couple buries the fetus under the twin palm trees where the lovers had always retreated to in the early days of their romance. The train that the protagonists watch from under the palm trees, is the noon train to Upper Egypt, the same noon train used in songs about Adham al-Sharqawi.67 A counter struggle by women and men servants proliferated from the 1930s through the 1950s. We find numerous cases and reports of servants stealing basic food items, cash and silverware from villas both in the countryside and in Cairo. In 1951, that most intensive year of the peasant

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battles, newspaper accounts featured articles of both men and women servants stealing from the villas of their employers, while at the same time company officials in Cairo were being assassinated. While prosecution and the manipulation of exposés of the criminal in the daily newspaper, were attempts to control the outbreaks, these accounts suggest the extensive breakdown of employer and servant relations at the villa or manzil. Among the cases was the reported theft of over 700 guineas from prominent houses in Zamalek, Doqqi and in South Cairo, in a serial wave of thefts by a woman servant who used assumed names to move from one employer to another.68 The criminalizing of woman servants as serialized in news articles before the uprising of 1952 would be countered in the arts. In both the novel, in theatre, and in the graphic arts, the peasant woman increasingly became the protagonist or symbol of support for peasant agency. In the end Yasin, the hero of this tragedy must be killed, just as the peasants had died at Buhut in 1951. But his death is set as the leader of the uprising of the peasants against the Pasha, the unnamed Badrawis, who marched armed with their simple hoes against the rifles of the Badrawis’ armed militia. Out of this sacrifice arises the heroine Bahiyya, who rallies her fellow peasants, who is transformed into the wise matriarch in the next two plays of the trilogy, and who must cope with the endless stresses of life of the migrant laboring poor of the Delta. The resolute strength of women is developed in the trilogy, who show greater resolve than the men in coping with the perpetual crises of their lives. Al-Sharqawi’s novel, The Earth, (1954) had featured on its cover the portrait of Wasifa as the young narrator’s object of desire. In the graphic arts of the early 1950s, al-Gazzar also emphasized the position of women in leading the mourning of victims of repression in the early 1950s. In his trilogy, Surur develops Bahiyya’s life cycle from a romanticized young peasant girl in Yasin and Bahiyya into the strong widow matriarch of Oh Night, Oh Moon, and in Tell the Eye of the Sun. This position of women peasant leaders had other direct manifestations as in the leadership of the slain labor leader Salah Maqlad’s widow, Shahinda Maqlad.69 In Yasin and Bahiyya (1964) the choice of Surur to have Yasin die while leading the attack on the mansion, was rooted in the actual torching by the peasants of the Badrawi storehouse by the peasants. Leading up to the peasant and landowner battles of 1951, arson was the most threatening weapon of both landowners against villagers and of the village laborers against the landowning classes.70 Torching in 1951 at Kafur Nijm and at Buhut were acts of revenge and rebellion against the landowners.71 In 1947, after the market and village center of Buhut burned down in a fire, the

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village residents sent a delegation of elders to the Badrawi family, seeking access to mechanical pumps for fighting fires, which only the Badrawis could afford to grant.72 Nor was the threat of fire and devastation at Buhut isolated. Another outbreak of fire in January 1951, just months before the battle at Buhut, resulted in a death and destruction of 30 separate village homes at Kum Ali, near the city of Tanta.73 The arrogant refusal of the Badrawis to grant this request, was no doubt a continuing motive for the eventual attack in June 1951, when the peasants attacked and torched the annex of the Badrawi mansion. These events are depicted as generic incidents in Surur’s play, Yasin and Bahiyya, (1964). In the opening to Scene Seven, Surur dramatically represents the outbreak of fire in the village in the historical context of the Badrawi’s refusal to provide the infrastructure and support of pumps and equipment.

One night ... the fire shot up in a house in Buhut ... ! and it was set in the village ... the people all rush together to help …. A line of people, with thousands of buckets the house and the fire To a well or canal the closest source of water any source ... this was Buhut .. that night ! Surur’s extension of Yasin and Bahiyya into a trilogy allowed him to develop the material struggles of the village peasantry into a narrative of recent social struggles of Egyptian peasant labor. The trilogy presents a

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historical commentary on the rise of landlessness and the threats to the tenancy of agricultural workers in the Delta villages of the 1940s and 1950s. The saga of the widow Bahiyya, is continued in the succeeding plays by examining the social and psychological pressures faced by the migrant worker families.74 A number of symbols are suggestive of increased mobility and migrancy, and appear in a number of folk songs and in the realist novels which appear after the collapse of the old regime and the revolt of 1952. Drawing directly from peasant song narratives, Surur, entitled both of the succeeding plays to Yasin and Bahiyya after famous lines from these peasant song ballads. The second play, Ah Ya Qamar Ya Layl (Oh Night, Oh Moon), (published in January, 1967) was set in 1950, and opens at Buhut, where Yasin’s widow, Bahiyya, is remarried to a laborer, Amin, a former companion of Yasin, who is hired to work at the British labor camps at Port Said, near the Suez Canal. Together, they have a son, but Bahiyya is widowed again, when Amin is killed as he leads a labor movement against the conditions imposed by the British. In response, Bahiyya leads a resistance by the women against the arrest and denial of access to the men and the suggested cover-up of their murders. In numerous ways, the play references the resistance led by Shahinda Maqlad, the widow of the slain labor leader Salah Maqlad, and who led a similar protest against the coverup of her husband’s murder. Her resilience forced an inquest into the murder of her husband at Kamshish in 1966. The second play’s inferences to the murder and scandal at Kamshish, continued Surur’s presentation of a social history and critique of recent events and struggle by Egypt’s agrarian workforce. Ah Ya Qamar Ya Layl opens with the narrator telling the audience that in Bahiyya’s grief for Yasin, she still holds to her belief in his reincarnation in a new life.75 In the first act, Surur deploys the chorus to intervene against the father’s objections to Bahiyya remarrying Amin, a companion of Yasin and who was with him when he was killed in the uprising at Buhut in 1951. We learn that Amin was also sentenced to four years of imprisonment after the arrest by the Haganah corps and trial of the surviving peasants from the Buhut uprising.76 After Bahiyya’s mother fails to persuade the father to change his mind, the chorus intercedes as the popular voice of the common people of the village of Buhut and reminds Bahiyya’s father of the redemptory powers that a grandson named after Yasin would bring. The first act ends with Bahiyya’s father granting Amin’s request to marry Bahiyya. In the second act, the newlyweds Amin and Bahiyya move to a British work camp at Port Said where Amin takes up work in a factory. As a factory worker, Amin witnesses the drug addictions by his coworkers and

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he himself becomes addicted to drinking, much to Bahiyya’s abhorrence. In one of his drunken stupors, Amin admits to Bahiyya the verbal abuse heaped on him by the British supervisors at the work camp. They call him a dog (‫‘ – دوج‬doog’) and repeatedly hold out a bone for him and call at – ‘teek’) it. As in Yasin and Bahiyya, Surur intersperses him to take ( popular folk songs and the use of the mawal throughout the second play of the trilogy. In the third and final act, the rewidowed Bahiyya leads a demonstration of worker’s wives outside the factory demanding the right to view her husband’s body.77

(The soldiers cordoned off quickly and Bahiyya tries to break through and pleads to one after another) Bahiyya: Sergeant, for the prophet’s sake, I want to see him! Soldier 1: Entry is forbidden lady Bahiyya Sergeant, for the prophet’s sake, I want to see him! Just once! Soldier 2 Entry is forbidden lady

(She repeats her plea while the cordon of the soldiers is increased and she is joined by a number of women shouting in demonstration as they tried in vain to penetrate the human wall.)

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A woman: A second woman: A third woman: A fourth woman:

My husband My son My man My soul

Her struggle against the authorities is punctuated by a series of dreams in which she envisions the return of Amin who enters into dialogues with her and the soldiers. Amin’s ghosted dialogues have cynical tones. As the workers in Port Said are employed in the tarbush hat factories around Port Said, Surur mocks the capitalist owners of land and factories around Port Said as controllers of the corrupt system of law.78 The title of the last play of the trilogy, Qulu li-Ayn al-Shams, (Tell the Eye of the Sun), (1970) is taken from the politicized folk song and poem which appeared around 1914, as a song about workers and peasants conscripted into the occupation forces in the service of the British.79 The subject of the play is emphasized on the illustrated frontispiece to the opening scene, and captioned, ‘Who wants them; who will accommodate them?’ Bahiyya the widow is now a matronly wise mother, who has to hold the family together against the threat and realization of men leaving to work as migrant workers and on the Aswan dam. Whereas the first play of the trilogy, Yasin and Bahiyya (1964) is set before the 1952 revolution, the time of the third play of the trilogy is a transition from 1950 to 1967. The scenes shift between Port Said and the Suez, and ends as the Israeli jets start their aerial assault on Egypt in June of 1967. Surur’s interest in using theatre and the verse novel, was also influenced by the trend of a small society of poets and writers, the Jama‘at al-Shu‘ara bi-l-‘Ammiyya al-Misriyya, (Society of the Poets of Egyptian ‘Ammiyya). Their manifesto published in 1965 advocated the use of ‘ammiyya or spoken dialect in writing, as a new wave among intellectuals interacting both within and against the official rhetoric of the state and its agenda for the arts. Surur’s development of the verse novel as a formal experiment reflected the position of the arts in treating the themes of the village novel or the urban milieu of the masses and the everyday. Surur carried this forward in his King of the Beggars Opera, written and produced from 1971 – 1973, which opens with a scene from the mawlid festival of the Prophet’s birthday, with beggars chanting for alms. These elements reflect impulses in the social novel that followed in the aftermath of the 1967 War and in the development of characters in Qasim’s The Seven Days of Man.80 After al-Gazzar’s death, and the resulting chaos and domestic struggles within Egypt in the aftermath of Kamshish and the 1967 war, the art

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careers of al-Gazzar’s companions in the Contemporary Arts Group, took on increasingly individualized interpretations and directions. An artist symbolic of this post-war posturing was Gamal al-Sagini, who in 1969, demonstrated out of despair against the refusal by the state’s art authorities to collect his sculptures into a museum, by casting a number of his own works into the Nile river.81 In the last months before his death in December 1966, the Egyptian Surrealist, Ramsis Yunan wrote several essays for the critical journal, al-Fikr al-Mu‘asir (Modern Thought). In the first of these essays, ‘al-Yamin wa-l-Yasar fi-l-Fann’ (The Right and the Left in the Art), Yunan began with a quotation from another local writer, Yahya Haqqi, of his visit to the fifteenth century Sultan Hassan mosque and law school in Cairo.82 Yunan was particularly interested in Haqqi’s observations of the grand entryway, decorations and presentation of open space. As a contemporary of Yunan, Haqqi was illustrative of Yunan’s contention that the interpretation and experience of art defies labeling or categories that can be aligned in dogmatic terms of identity, whether left or right, Muslim or non-Muslim, Western or Eastern.83 If from this simultaneity of the present, Haqqi, as a contemporary writer, or artist, could draw upon the fourteenth-century arts of the artisan and architectural engineering and recognize its transformation of space and form into art, so too could Yunan remind the reader against simplistic categories and typologies of formalism. He emphasized this by comparing the implicit context of Picasso’s 1937 Guernica, as a painting that defied description in terms of realism or representational art, and yet succeeded at inscribing itself politically against a crisis.84 This essay expressed Yunan’s concern for what he called a stagnation of the formal approach to realism, which had become entrenched in the arts, in painting, or in sculpture. For Yunan the form and content of art is ultimately related to the material conditions of society and its production. This was, he wrote, most noticeably apparent in the thousands of depictions and images of the Egyptian peasantry. In theatre and other arts the resort to vernacular ‘ammiyya emphasized the spatial relations of class and language. In Surur’s Ubirit Malik al-Shahatin, (King of the Beggars Opera), Shahatah, the poor street singer, goes to the chic environs of Cairo’s urban island, Zamalek to sing.85 A similar development of this nature takes place in Fu’ad Nigm’s poem, Ya‘ ish Ahl Baladi, (Live, People of My Country, 1973), which depicts the affluent urban intellectuals in their rich cafes of Zamalek, as detached from the crowd and the masses, from social engagement.86 This juxtaposition presented itself in the arts in varied forms.

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In the next chapter, I interpret how al-Gazzar used his art to present a critical and subversive commentary on the position of the state, the problem of the Sa‘idi and the conditions of labor by presenting double meanings in his paintings and drawings on the dam. I explore why the hidden context used in art and literature of the dam reveal the struggles of labor and of the artists who responded to its many contradictions.87

Chapter 6 CONFLICTS IN THE ARTS OVER UPPER EGYPT: ‘ABD ALHADI AL-GAZZAR AND HIS CONTEMPORARIES We were smaller than the ants Only many more And like the ants Crawling on the mountain …. The mountain arose from a field It took all of my arm from me I said move!… it went together It erupted It was a war… …. Alas, Aswan is nothing more Than a dam What’s a dam High or low, it’s not important The tired went to it By the thousands1 (The character ‘Atiyya, re-enacting the accident in which he lost an arm while working on the dam) Nagib Surur, Tell the Eye of the Sun (1973) This chapter interprets representations of the Aswan Dam in Egyptian arts as a discourse on the dialectical relation of the state, region and labor. As labor became central to the politics of mid-twentieth-century Egypt,

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so had the Sa‘idi or Upper Egyptian and other Delta tarahil migrant workers, the thousands of manual laborers employed in the construction of the Aswan Dam, become a subject for writers and artists. The discourse on the Aswan Dam project is explored through two tropes. The first, an official figurative trope was developed by the Nasser government to elicit public support for the dam project through the arts and journalism in what Roel Meijer has termed as authoritarian modernism.2 From the late 1950s the state also was concerned with the brokerage and regulation of tarahil migrant labor for large farm owners and for large-scale public works projects.3 A second trope emerged from certain artists, who after being retained by the state for a public relations program promoting the dam, instead developed a subversive commentary on the labor conditions they witnessed and the consequences of the state’s projects on the lives of workers and displaced families. The development of an official rhetoric arose from the pre-revolutionary discourse of the arts by the ruling elite of the old regime.4 Following the revolutionary coup in 1952, the development of public relations in print media prompted the state to undertake a campaign for international financing and domestic support for the Aswan High Dam. The culmination and consequences of the government’s promotional efforts were contradicted by the social costs of displacement, the expansive war in Yemen, recession, and the assassination of the farm labor leader Salah Husayn Maqlad at Kamshish, and the trial and execution of the Muslim Brother Sayyid Qutb in 1966. Contradictions between political culture and policies towards the arts were made apparent when the Museum of Modern Art in Cairo staged educational tours for peasants and special exhibitions of paintings on the Aswan Dam were shown to visiting heads of state.5 The first trope is considered here in the context of the dam’s political and economic meaning and its ideological role for the nationalist and post-colonial regimes. The official rhetoric is compared with initial representations of the dam in paintings and graphic arts of the 1950s and early 1960s, when an emphasis on labor emerges. The magnitude of the appalling conditions of workers at the dam site forced a reevaluation by artists and writers of the dam project. The development of a second trope of critical reevaluation is analyzed by a discussion of al-Gazzar’s drawings and paintings of the dam, and Sun’allah Ibrahim’s two texts, The Man of the High Dam, and his later work, Star of August, as a transition from the official trope to the subversive. The intertextual relation of the second trope between the visual and literary arts is explained through the critique of the High Dam project.

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THE ASWAN HIGH DAM AND SA‘IDI AS ARTISTIC SUBJECT For Egyptian artists and writers of the 1960s, their task was the conveyance of meaning to their art from experiences shaping the presentation of their work.6 The task of the cultural historian is to interpret how the arts reflect or are impacted by transformations in civil society and the experience of Cold War rivalries.7 How were such themes received and presented in contemporary art? The imposition of state land reform and redistribution in the 1950s transformed agrarian labor at the local levels and resulted in increased levels of migrancy.8 As the heaviest and most labor intensive phase of the modernization project of the High Aswan Dam peaked by 1965 it coincided with a severe economic recession.9 The resulting crises manifested themselves in the outbreaks of reactionary force by rich local families and agents, as at Kamshish in 1966, and in the resilient labor resistance.10 These transformations shaped the aesthetic experience and interpretation of the material conditions and conflicts of the state and agrarian capitalism in Egypt. By the 1960s, the potential of the dam and new industry presented a new subject for the arts. As discussed in the preceding chapter, the subject of the peasant had previously been fixed in the local space of the village and through the genre of the village novel.11 By the late 1950s, local agricultural laborers became tarahil migrants that organized into small units or gangs with their own hierarchies of hiring agents. Many of these migrant workers were hired for construction and the dam projects.12 The movement toward migrant work was accelerated by the effects of the state’s land reforms begun in 1952, which forced the reduction in size of the large estates, which were concentrated in the northern Delta region.13 By 1961 these internal transformations in the lower delta had forced major migrations into the cities and to Upper Egypt as the High Dam entered its most labor intensive phase of construction. Migrant workers from the North mixed with migrants originating from the South, where unemployment and opportunities in the small farming estates were even more restricted.14 By 1965 the effects of the reclamation projects had an immediate impact on the numbers of tarahil migrant workers and their movement from the Sa‘id of Upper Egypt back north to the Delta.15 The reorganization of tarahil migrant workers became a concern for the state, which took on greater institutional control of the labor market. Migrant workers were funneled toward the new large state projects.16 As the dam and large reclamation projects began in the early 1960s, the state concentrated efforts on the organization of migrant tarahil workers.17

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COLONIAL AND NATIONALIST NARRATIVES OF THE ASWAN DAM The visual representation of the Aswan Dam project follows its exegesis as a colonial scheme. Begun in 1899, the British colonial administration took three years to complete the construction of the first dam at Aswan in 1901 and undertook a photographic survey of its project.18 These early photographs reveal the fundamental structure of colonial rhetoric that subordinated the division of labor between a British administrator and native labor, and reified antiquities as ideological tokens of colonial rule.19 The administration of the dam remained a serious concern for the British after Egyptian independence in 1922. Schisms emerged within the British imperial administration over the need for the dam in the emerging postcolonial era, and arguments against the dam project came from respected engineers who disputed the benefits of the project.20 Following Britain’s partial disengagement from Egypt in the wake of World War I, the new national governments of the interwar period undertook studies of dam expansion and reconstruction that led to the heightening of the dam in 1932. Despite these studies, the failure to implement

Figure 43 Photos of Old Aswan Dam. Souce: al-Ahram, December 18, 1953

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electrification projects was a disappointment for successive Egyptian governments.21 The Nile dam projects were integrated into agendas of successive governments of the interwar period but plans for financial and administrative planning were compromised by debate over its integration within the Egyptian state’s planning.22 Feuding and rivalry among foreign and British capitalists led to opposition from nationalist capitalists, like the banker Tal’at Harb, who were suspicious and critical of the limited range of benefits and the high costs borne by Egyptians themselves in undertaking dam projects and expansion while subordinated to continued British review.23 The need for the dam and disparities in rural conditions of pre-1952 Egypt was emphasized by Surur in Yasin and Bahiyya. In setting the time of the novel before the 1952 Revolution, the peasant protagonists of the Delta village of Buhut engage in a parody over the electrified palace of the local Badrawi family’s mansion while the peasants themselves go without electricity. The fuller context of Surur’s parody was rooted in the serious need for rural electrification and other material needs in the villages. This was most apparent in Buhut where a serious fire in the late 1940s had ravaged the town and destroyed a number of houses, leading the elders to petition the local Badrawi family for the placement of pumps for firefighting.24 Among the first projects of the National Revolution Council after its seizure of power in 1952, was the hydroelectric expansion of the original Old Aswan Dam, and exploration of a new High Dam to the south.25 The completion of the High Dam, was to become the most recognizable signifier of the power and promise of the Nasser regime’s commitment to public works.26 By 1953, the reporting of the dam project was reemphasized. Full page reports on the dam featured in the national newspaper, al-Ahram to introduce the potential of electrification.27 In the layout of a special page in December 1953, the panoramic photo of the Old Aswan Dam is centered below the logo of the paper and above the columns of text. The vertical wall is shown with its high scaffolds and lines of workers, who were likely working on the extension of the height of the dam. The scaffolding for heightening of the masonry and surveying of the original condition of the dam became a symbol of the value of labor in Inji Aflatun’s painting, The Builders (1953). Aflatun was a contributor to the Surrealist and Art and Liberty movements and she was known for her association with the communist labor organization, Bread and Freedom during the 1940s. By eliminating the masonry walls and other references to the dam’s edifice, Aflatun refocused attention to the laborers’ climb up the structure of the scaffold, bearing mortar or other materials.

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The Politics of Art in Modern Egypt Figure 44 Inji Aflatun, The Builders, 1953. Oil Painting. Source: Museum of Modern Art, Cairo.

Fathi Ahmad, in a linoleum print, al-Bina’a (The Construction) (1963), rendered the massive scaffolding of the Old Aswan Dam’s brick wall. Atop the scaffold, men haul heavy bags of cement for pouring into the molds.28 The scaffold scene directly borrowed elements from Aflatun’s painting, The Builders (1953), with its emphasis on the arduous and dangerous procession of construction workers atop a tall scaffold.29 In The Builders, the scaffold filled the composition and was emphasized with its bold color highlights. Whereas Aflatun’s scaffold is generic, and a statement for the centrality of labor, Ahmad’s engraving identifies the dam project as a project of the state.30 Ahmad retained emphasis on both the structure of the scaffold and the place of workers, but has widened his horizon to indicate the dam’s locale, with the background of the hills and the presence of earth moving equipment.31 For the High Dam project, graphic artists were useful to a rhetoric of official state journalism. In a 1963 issue of al-Ahram, Nasser is portrayed in a graphic by Rashad Munsi as a living beacon, whose light radiates from his head onto a stream of Nubian refugees relocated from the South of Egypt

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Figure 45 Fathy Ahmad, al-Bina’a (The Construction), 1963 Linoleum print. Source: Fathi Ahmad, Fann al-Jirafik al-Misri, (Egyptian Graphic Art). Cairo: al-Hay’a al-Misriyya al-‘Amma li-l-Kitab, 1985, p. 227.

into the new camps and towns to be constructed in the wake of the High Dam’s construction.32 In the artist’s rendering, the refugees are shown as leaving the darkness and entering into the new enlightenment of Nasser’s project. The figures of speech and language in the captioned article are clues intended to inform and direct the viewer of the image and reader of the text.33 The article’s caption affirms the objectives of the campaign: The Egyptian Agency for Relocation is undertaking great efforts toward what it proclaims as the successful relocation operation in four phases.34 The supporting sub-captions describe the road building and other construction projects in support of the relocation to new villages and identify and show photographs of the project administrators. The variety of interpretive portrayals of the High Dam, ranged from formal realist studies to expressionist interpretations. Sa‘ad al-Khadim’s The High Dam chose an expressionist style of painting to emphasize the

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structural form of the construction project and large-scale transformation of the terrain.35 Al-Khadim focused on the dam’s first phase of construction and massive excavation, blasting and roadworks. Al-Khadim stressed the components of earth moving, with bold color bands of yellows and reds interrupted by the road clearing and construction equipment and temporary support structures and construction trailers. Al-Khadim’s own interest in historical narrative painting was reinforced by his marriage to the artist Iffat Naghi, and his brother-in-law, the diplomat and painter, Muhammad Nagi, who favored a historicist thematic narrative in his paintings.36 Their distant gaze and abstraction of the dam from labor suggests a validation of the state’s project as an absent subordination of the presence of labor. Initially, most artists presented the dam within the rhetoric of the state. The state’s promotion in the early 1960s of al-Mithaq, the title of Nasser’s manual on the use of local committees for consultation with government officials in policy making, provided the rhetorical framework for the extension of state planning as an ideal. However, over the course of the decade, a number of intellectuals developed a critical reappraisal on the dam project in relation to complex conditions and crises in Egyptian civil society. Al-Gazzar’s painting, al-Mithaq (The Charter, 1962), is among the most well-known and reproduced paintings of twentieth-century Egypt. The painting appeared the same year as Gamal ‘Abdel Nasser’s book of the same title, which was published with immense full-page publicity in major

Figure 46 Rashad Munsi, al-Mu’assasa al-Misriyya al-‘Amma li-l-Naql al-Dakhili… (Egyptian Agency for Relocation). Graphic illustration. Source: al-Ahram, October 12, 1963.

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newspapers. As such the painting has been viewed as an affirmation of al-Gazzar’s support for Nasser. Commentaries on al-Gazzar’s painting The Charter have tended to see it as an advocacy of Nasser. Liliane Karnouk, in her Modern Egyptian Art, (1988), viewed it as indicative of al-Gazzar’s changing views of power, as a shift from the artist’s prior emphasis on popular culture and power toward the content of the Revolutionary charter that is the rhetoric of Nasser’s book.37 Another view of The Charter, as a Nasserist work is suggested by Sylvie Naef, who sees the painting as an allegory of the Nasserist state and its characteristics.38 These critics have noted the competitive awards of state art prizes to al-Gazzar’s The Charter and The High Dam as reflective of his status as the official artist of the state.39 The painting also secured its place in modern Egyptian art with its placement on the ground floor of the main hall at the Museum of Egyptian Modern Art at the Cairo Opera cultural complex, where until the recent renovation of the museum it was placed alongside al-Gazzar’s painting The Peace (1964), as one of a cluster of paintings of Nasser’s period greeting visitors in the main gallery.40 The notion of al-Gazzar as a proponent of Nasser has in part been critiqued by Alain Roussillon, in his ‘Abdel Hadi al-Gazzar: Une Peinture Egyptienne (1990).41 Roussillon noted the multiple ironies and purposely emblematic contradictions in two of al-Gazzar’s final paintings, The Charter and The High Dam (1964).42 He argued that al-Gazzar’s increasing emphasis on workers and mechanization was as a part of his own quest for identity. Roussillon’s reliance on the amorphous and fluid notion of identity, distances itself from an analysis of the social context depicted in each of al-Gazzar’s paintings and graphics of the early 1960s. In these paintings there remain enigmas symbolizing the increasing militarization that

Figure 47 Advertisement in al-Ahram, May 23, 1966, for the 4th Anniversary of the publication of Nasser’s book, al-Mithaq.

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Figure 48 ‘Abd al-Hadi al-Gazzar, al-Mithaq, (The Charter), 1962. Oil on Wood. Source: Alain and Christine Roussillon, Abdel Hadi al-Gazzar. Une Peinture Égyptienne (Abdel Hadi Al-Gazzar: An Egyptian Painter). Cairo: Dar al-Mustaqbal al-Arabi, 1995, p. 137.

resulted in the Yemeni war of the 1960s, and that would lead to the June 1967 War. Al-Gazzar’s painting adorns the cover of Amira Sonbol’s book on Egyptian politics and society, The New Mamluks (2000). Sonbol departed from the nationalist analogy and read the painting as a subversive interpretation of the ill effects of Nasser’s failed promises. The draining of resources is implied by naval ships in the background. Nasser’s book is held by the goddess Hathor and transformed into The Book of the Dead, with her

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Figure 49 Gamal al-Sagini, The Doll (1958) Tapped Copper Tray . Source: Kamal al-Mallakh, Gamal Es-Seguini. Cairo: General Book Organization, 1985a. Appendix.

symbolic green skinned face and skin, implying the sickness of the state.43 The fuller context of al-Gazzar’s The Charter, and his later art is realized from a comparison with the art of his peers in the Contemporary Arts Group. The production of The Charter borrowed from al-Sagini’s sculptures as a subversive attack on the Nasserist state. Gamal al-Sagini’s The Tree of Destiny (1962) transformed the tree of life into the tree of death or destiny. The iconography of the tree of life and reintroduction of the ancient tree goddess Hathor into contemporary Egyptian art of the late 1950s and early 1960s, was a response to the nationalism of the large landowners’ appropriation of ancient Egyptian art during the 1920s and 1930s.44 For the nationalist artists of the interwar period, the reclaiming of antiquity served the dual purpose of staking political gains against the retreat of colonial occupation and reaffirmed the position of the large landowners over governmental institutions. In the arts, Mukhtar’s sculptural reincarnation in the 1920s of the Sphinx in his Renaissance of Egypt, or of Muhammad Nagi in his series of works on the Isis myths, were a mimesis of Howard Carter’s discoveries, through which Egyptian elites

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The Politics of Art in Modern Egypt Figure 50 Gamal al-Sagini, Shajarat al-Masir, (The Tree of Destiny), 1962. Hammered Copper. Source: Rushdi Iskandar, K. al-Mallakh, and S. al-Sharuni, Thamanun Sana min al-Fann (Eighty Years of Art). Cairo: al-Hay’a al-Misriyya al-‘Amma li-l-Kitab, 1991, p. 125.

could compare the development of cultural symbols of nation-building with cultural projects of their British occupiers. Mukhtar’s sculpture, or Nagi’s paintings of Isis, had featured the raising of the dead as myths for the raising of a new parliament. Following the revolutionary impulses of 1952, the resort to antiquity implied a different critique and response from artists who were keen to demonstrate the versatile media and iconographies available for tropes of representation. Just as the older generation of nationalists had evoked the nation in the embodiment of the woman as the goddess Isis, the use of the tree goddess and of Hathor was reused by artists during the Nasserist period. A number of artists turned to ancient images of tree goddesses and particularly of the goddess Hathor as a symbol of the state as a mother feeding her children, the nation. Over time, as the state’s oppressive tendencies bore out, and the continued demands on labor and the resort to war turned its children into its victims, the tree goddess was increasingly depicted by other artists during the 1960s as sick or ill.

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In his copper sculpture, The Tree of Destiny, crafted in the same year al-Gazzar’s The Charter appeared, al-Sagini, depicts the tree from which three men are shown hanging, a reference not only to the Dinshaway incident, but also to hangings by the Nasser regime. Instead of birds feeding from the tree, a dead pigeon lies caught by its foot and hangs upside down. A star of David is imprinted below a symbol of scales of justice, referencing the Palestinian suppression. On the right, a peasant is shown dwarfing the dead figures on the tree, grasping a hold of the tree’s upper branch and pressing a leg and foot against the trunk of the tree, smashing through it to destroy the Tree of Destiny. In The Charter, al-Gazzar has borrowed from al-Sagini, and incorporated Hathor the ancient Egyptian goddess of the tree. Hathor, stands as the central dominating figure in the composition. The Osiric symbolism of the tree, has been emphatically altered from that of his contemporaries. As in al-Sagini’s Tree of Destiny¸ this is no longer the tree of the cycle of life, but the dead tree of the state, with the Egyptian flag emblazoned on her head, as a tree of discord. Workers and peasants no longer receive the fruits from the tree, but are genuflected before it offering their meager surplus, as tokens of their labor.45 In the foreground of The Charter, the kneeling worker clutches a wrench over his shoulder, a gesture that indicates he has only labor to provide and no finished product of his own ownership.46 This common symbol of labor recalls al-Sagini’s figurative use of the hammer in his 1958, The Doll, in which an ‘arusa festival doll was transformed into a tree of life. In the left foreground of The Charter, al-Gazzar has rendered a mechanical fantasy, which he increasingly used in the arts of this later period. On the right, the peasant extends his hands, in a gesture some view as a beggar asking for alms, and others view as an offering of tokens of the fruits of his labor, a pod of cotton in one hand, and a fist of grain in the other.47 Beneath the peasant, a title deed rests on the ground, with a crane standing atop it. The crane appears to remind the viewer of the promise of an unfulfilled land reform, and the symbolism of the crane continues al-Gazzar’s fascination with using birds and shell born creatures, as he had depicted turtles and shells in his works from the 1950s, Preparation of the Spirits, and World of Spirits as a reminder of evolution and the origins of life. In the right background of The Charter, the embrace of the Coptic pope and Muslim cleric occurs in front of a classical Greek sculpture at the waterfront of Alexandria, and suggests a reconciliation between Upper and Lower Egypt, as in the display of different pharaonic regional crowns in ancient Egyptian art. In the background on the left can be seen the token

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of modern mechanization and infrastructure feeding its pipes of water, oil, and chemicals directly into the U.A.R. naval ships at sea. The tree of life has been drained dry.48 Branches are denuded. The face of the goddess Hathor is sickened green and symbolizes the state as a drain on the resources of peasants and labor for its own project of militarization. This interpretation of The Charter is of course subjectively based on comparative readings and viewings of the arts of al-Gazzar’s contemporaries. As most other viewers of the painting continue to view it in their own subjective filters, it will no doubt continue to be viewed and read with such disparity as the viewer brings with him or her. However, by relating al-Gazzar’s intertextual references to his contemporaries, particularly al-Sagini’s series on the tree of life and his The Tree of Destiny, we may better interpret the subversive intent and meaning of al-Gazzar’s The Charter.49 The dependence on a massed labor force of migrants on the Aswan High Dam in the 1960s is directly inferred in al-Gazzar’s use of analogy in Hafr Qanat al-Suis (The Digging of the Suez Canal, 1964). As a historical allegory of the corvée labor exploited in the building of the Suez Canal in the 1860s, The Digging of the Suez Canal disguised a commentary on the Aswan High Dam’s severe conditions of labor. The tents shown in The Digging of the Suez Canal were a deliberate reference to the expansion of tarahil migrant labor encampments and tent camps used in projects of the Aswan Dam and irrigation projects of the 1960s.50 The military tents of the encampment of the khedive are shown above the precipice of the canal. An assimilation of historical space and time into the present was a hallmark of al-Gazzar’s philosophy of history and art.51 The Digging of the Suez Canal is filled with terrifying conditions of labor and deep scaffolds. In the background and above the pit a dead worker is being removed for burial, while on the right, a series of tents infer the contemporary tarahil migrant camps that were spreading in Egypt as al-Gazzar completed this painting. The acceleration of migrant labor out of lower Egypt and the northern delta towns, particularly around Kafr al-Shaykh and Daqahliya province, created a flow of workers and families into the major cities and then onto Upper Egypt. These workers were sometimes hired for other agricultural projects. From the early 1960s most went in search of work on the dam and later its auxiliary projects and infrastructures of road building and the extended canal works. The resulting shortages in agricultural labor appeared as early as 1961 with the return of the boll weevil, a periodic problem, whose infestation was accelerated by the reduction of available workforce caused by the migrant exodus.52 The disastrous results on that year’s cotton

Figure 51 Detail from ‘Abd al-Hadi al-Gazzar, Hafr Qanat al-Suis (The Digging of the Suez Canal), 1964. Ink and crayon on paper. Source: Alain and Christine Roussillon, Abdel Hadi al-Gazzar: Une Peinture Égyptienne (Abdel Hadi Al-Gazzar: An Egyptian Painter). Cairo: Dar al-Mustaqbal al-Arabi, 1995, pp. 152–3.

Figure 52 ‘Abd al-Hadi al-Gazzar, al-Sadd al-‘Ali, (The High Dam), 1964. Oil on Celotex. Source: Alain and Christine Roussillon, Abdel Hadi al-Gazzar: Une Peinture Égyptienne (Abdel Hadi Al-Gazzar: An Egyptian Painter). Cairo: Dar al-Mustaqbal al-Arabi, 1995, p. 148.

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crop may appear in the ironic symbolism of al-Gazzar’s painting of the following year, The Charter, with its peasant kneeling before the goddess Hathor with a only single handpicked ball of cotton as an offering. The preconditions for migrancy unraveled from inequities in land reform initiated by the state in the 1950s, with its uneven effects and varying regional impact on peasant land ownership and wages.53 These transformations coincided with an increased role of the state in reorganizing tarahil migrant labor into core units that could be marketed into state projects. Changes in the supply of local agricultural labor affected relations between large and middle sized land owners and the poorer peasantry and day wage workers.54 The migration of labor into construction projects for the dam continued to increase and surpassed the dam’s high point of demand for labor and led to a severe unemployment among migrants during the recession of 1965 to 1967. The theme of the dam and its related projects of land reclamation were manifested through the works of numerous artists. For artists and writers seeking a critical view of the project, the narrative of the dam could be presented as alternative texts probing the ambiguities of its benefits. In the visual arts, al-Gazzar’s paintings and his series of graphic drawings, introduced a critical appraisal. Al-Sadd al-‘Ali (The High Dam, 1964) was the first to gain notoriety and is the most recognized interpretation of the dam with its symbolic transformation of society and the individual. By the time al-Gazzar began the painting, he had completed a series of preparatory drawings, as sketch outlines of the form, landscape and machinery surrounding the dam construction site. These coincided with a series of interpretive drawings, which allowed his critical imagination to probe the contradictions of the dam and its impact on society and labor. Altogether, within a span of a year, al-Gazzar produced at least three paintings and a half dozen drawings on the dam theme, as well as another large group of related drawings questioning the almost Fordist implications of the dam for labor. Al-Gazzar’s painting drew upon his familiarity with magic realism, in which folk knowledge and symbols provided a reference for a Surrealist reconfiguration of the material world and relations of power. Al-Gazzar’s The High Dam departed from a straightforward representational realism, and thrust its subject, as The Man of the High Dam (and later the title of a book co-written by Ibrahim Sun’allah) into a Rabelaisian Gargantua, or a colossus from the 1950s science fiction genre. The dam had become the signifier of the state’s project of modernity, supplanting and augmenting the twin projects of the nationalization of the

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Figure 53 Pieter Bruegel, Turmbau zu Babel (Tower of Babel), 1563. Oil on oak panel. Source: Courtesy of the Kunst Historisches Museum, Vienna.

Suez Canal in 1956, and the implementation of a limited land distribution project. In The Charter, the dam was implied or suggested in the backdrop of the massive piping and sluices of waterways. Al-Gazzar’s deployment of emblems and icons indicate his broad vocabulary of artistic sources and influences that continued in his series on the dam. This repertoire was enriched by his stay as an artist-in-residence in Belgium during the late 1950s, where he had met with Belgian Surrealists, and had an opportunity to make notes on Belgian art history. Al-Gazzar borrowed from Pieter Bruegel’s Tower of Babel (1563) for both compositional and iconic symbols for his dam series. Al-Gazzar drew a comparison of the Tower of Babel with the High Dam in one of his series of works on the dam, the so-called Lighthouses of the Red Sea.55 The art critic and biographer, al-Sharuni attributed the title of Lighthouses of the Red Sea, with its crowning radar antennas, but the titling of artworks by contemporary Egyptian artists has often been flexible and changes. This same painting was captioned as one of a series of works on the High Dam by Jilal al-Jawil, in al-Gazzar’s obituary in the daily paper, al-Ahram.56 His

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Figure 54 ‘Abd al-Hadi al-Gazzar, Lighthouses of the Red Sea (circa 1964). Oil on celotex. Source: Subhi al-Sharuni, ‘Abd al-Hadi al-Gazzar: Fannan al-Asatir wa ‘Alam al-Fadha’ (‘Abd al-Hadi Al-Gazzar: Artist of the Fables and The World of Space), (Cairo: al-Dar al-Qawmiyya li-l-Tiba‘a wa-l-Nashr, 1966), p. 117.

contemporaries could view the painting as a symbolic interpretation of the dam and its project. Al-Gazzar’s symbolic return to Bruegel manipulated irony in a subversive symbolism undermining official tones of unquestioned progressive modernity of the state. The alienating features of the dam’s requirement for massive amounts of intensive labor, and as a symbol of the lofty promises of the state of its modernization project, are realized in his conversion of the entire project into a metaphor with the failed Tower of Babel. Thus al-Gazzar chose a mimesis of Bruegel’s Tower of Babel as a subversive commentary on the project. Al-Gazzar’s composition supports the dam metaphor attributed in al-Jawil’s obituary. The causeway leading to the lighthouse tower evokes the Aswan Dam’s sluice gates, as al-Gazzar had already studied and drawn in his dam series. The attribution by al-Jawil in his description of the painting

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in the al-Ahram obituary reclaimed it within the state’s official rubric and reification of the dam. Just the month before al-Gazzar’s death, the visiting head of state of Hungary had attended a showing of paintings in Cairo on the High Dam which received front page publicity in al-Ahram.57 For the Egyptian intellectual the High Dam presented a conflict of tropes between a narrative of the State or as a narrative of labor. The international politics of the High Dam, with its layering of diplomatic and international financial conditions, seasoned the Egyptian government and bureaucracy in the maneuvers of international finance and public relations. Proposed financing for the dam through the World Bank was initiated in late 1955, as the Egyptian government underwent intensive political scrutiny by Washington over its bid to obtain financing for the dam.58 The terms offered by the World Bank were deemed overly burdensome by the Nasser government which doubted the merits of incurring a $200 million loan given its resonance to the debt burden owed by Egypt to the British in the late nineteenth century. Nasser rejected the terms and nationalized the canal after the final collapse of American financing in June of 1956. This spurred the 1956 War and ultimate intervention of the United Nations. In its aftermath Nasser played the cards of the Cold War game of nations and secured the support of the Soviet Union through terms concluded in December 1958 that allowed for debt repayment from the future revenues of the Suez Canal. Intense scrutiny into Egypt’s proposed construction of the dam were met with detailed reports and public relations efforts, as in the 1961 report, ‘Replies to United Nations questionnaire on agrarian reform in the Egyptian Region.’59 Egypt’s quest for international financing prompted expanded efforts in producing promotional literature in the United Nations languages.60 These pamphlets were carefully written to exclude mention or pretense of recent events that could offend a French reader. Hence, despite the recent events of the Suez crisis and war, this pamphlet avoided any mention of Suez, and offered suggestions for French tourists and investors to Upper Egypt, comparing the site of Aswan as an impoverished but potentially new tourist destination, through which Aswan would become a new Pittsburgh, as a city of industry. This enthusiasm for industrialization in Egypt was set against the foreign model of tourism and antiquities. This thrust toward industry had historical precedents. Muhammad Ali was described not as a successor to the French invasion of Egypt but as a ‘contemporary’ of Napoleon, and the modernizer of the Egyptian state, while Lord Cromer was criticized for stifling domestic industrialization and development of textiles in favor of exports of bulk raw cotton to England.61

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Figure 55 Sabri Sulayman Hijazi, al-Tarahil (The Migrant Laborers), circa 1964. Illustration. Source: Fathi Ahmad’s Fann al-Jirafik al-Misri (Egyptian Graphic Art), Cairo: al-Hay’a al-Misriyya al-‘Amma li-l-Kitab, 1985, p. 269.

By 1964 numerous other pamphlets appeared on Aswan. One of these, Aswan: Governate of Work and Struggle, revived Nasser’s book, The Charter, as a kind of imprimatur for new land reform and distribution resulting from the expansion of newly irrigated lands.62 The incorporation of photographs with the text promoted the promise and fulfillment of the physical and societal benefits of the dam project, including revenue, electrification and the plan and implementation for building new schools, and housing. As the economic recession of 1965 – 66 deepened, journalists and artists drew attention to the migrant problem and workers on the dam project and land reclamation. This was poignantly presented in the engraving by Sabri Sulayman Hijazi (b. 1942), whose undated print, tarahil (The Migrant Laborers), opposes the daily struggle and worries of male migrants in the fields against the harshness of a hot mid day sun, centered overhead.63

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WRITING THE HIGH DAM AS A NARRATIVE OF STATE OR AS A NARRATIVE OF LABOR The linkage of Hajizi’s portrait of the tarahil workers with literary depictions of migrant life, was evident in Yusuf Idris’ 1959 novel al-Haram, (The Bastard), and in Ibrahim’s writing. In a visit to the dam in 1963, Nasser was taken aback and shocked by the appalling living conditions of migrant workers during the first phase of construction.64 Workers were assigned to one of three shifts working around the clock and lived in tent camps that could only evoke images of the conditions of other recent encampments: Palestinian refugee camps, and the concentration camp itself. The tent camp was to become a marker of life of the tarahil worker not only at the dam, but increasingly in other parts of the country as

Figure 56 Photographer unknown, Ma‘a al-Ladhina Ya‘maluna Layl Nahar li-Tahwil ’Ard al-Sa‘ id min al-Hiyad ila Rayy Da’ im, (With Those Who Work Night and Day to Transform the Land of Upper Egypt from Basins into Permanent Irrigation) Source: al-Ahram, January 12, 1966, p. 7.

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well, particularly where reclamation projects placed workers further away from their homes.65 Indeed by 1966, as the dam’s labor pool contracted, increasing amounts of labor had to be diverted toward land reclamation while others were forced out of work.66 Hajizi may have been familiar with the tarahil’s status not only from his own experience as an artist, but also from the increasing space and print coverage accorded the tarahil in the daily papers. As building of the dam moved into its final phases casual workers were increasingly being diverted to the new irrigation projects in Upper Egypt. In one of these articles, entitled, ‘With those who work day and night to transform the land of the basin into permanent irrigation,’ the reporting featured captioned photographs of streams of workers in long stretches along the canals, described as a ‘line of ants.’67 Tensions between foremen, engineers and the workers were described as a ‘cat and mouse’ game. In the foreground is shown a tented encampment. Two other photographs depict the cluster of tarahil migrants sitting on the ground, with the caption, ‘The Migrants collect their food,’ set beneath a photograph, captioned, ‘A Peasant of the Basin and his gear.’ This reporting evokes the documentary mode of presenting events as representations of the immediate and the real, but retains the caste-like difference of the observer from his subject, separated through the lens, whose photograph is captured at a distance, and whose captions kept the identity or name of the Sa‘idi subject anonymous and generic. By contrast, the engineers and directors of the irrigation canal projects were interviewed and named. The poor conditions for tarahil brought protests and demands from the workers who operated under increasingly harsh conditions and faced the excessive demands that directors had forced in their experimental management of the dam. In a revealing interview one of the managing engineers admits to these experiments, which the journalist noted in the title to the article, were aimed at prolonged shifts, ‘working day and night.’ These elongated shifts were the direct result of the organization of labor on the first phase of the dam, with the use of around the clock shifts. While working on these projects, migrants mixed with the poorer local peasants. Time between jobs could be spent waiting and gathering on the sidewalks outside the train stations in towns. Migrants reported that the reduced growing season in the delta region of lower Egypt, was caused by the loss of the seasonal inundations following the dam’s construction. This forced many of the young men to leave villages for Cairo, Alexandria and other cities. Ultimately many chose migrant work. This was a contributing factor to the increase in the number of migrants seeking work as on this canal project in Upper Egypt, with its severe conditions of labor.

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The effects of this mixing of Delta and Upper Egyptians in the workforce are also understudied. Faced with increasingly intolerable conditions, and questionable benefits from the delays in the implementation of land distribution from the irrigation projects, the managers were confronted with complaints from the poorer peasants.68 Salah Jahin was perhaps the first to write of the dam in the vernacular style, a style he championed along with others writers in the late 1950s and 1960s. Jahin sought to juxtapose the classical poetry of those centered around the palaces with the poetry of the vernacular ‘ammiyya dialect.69 Several of his poems in his much read and copied first volume of poems, On the Moon and the Earth (1961), dealt with the building of the Aswan Dam. In his poem al-Makan (The Place), a newly arrived worker is reciting or chanting: In my life I hadn’t seen Aswan It makes me happy to see her with these eyes Aswan an honored place for the Arab As an alchemist pit of iron and freedom70 Jahin’s optimism however, mitigates the toil and danger of the project during the most dangerous of the phases for workers. He avoided a critical appraisal of the dam’s human costs on labor. Jahin’s espousal of the dam, was set by two other short poems, Ode to Aswan, and Sweet Days, as odes to the project’s grandeur and achievement as a product of a nameless labor. Acclaim for the project had a short life in the arts. By the mid- 1960s as the state purged the intellectual opposition, artists were among those imprisoned.71 The assassination at Kamshish in April 1966 of Salah Maqlad, and the outpouring of outrage by peasants and intellectuals, forced the state to hold an inquest into his death in the following spring.72 This assassination overlapped with the decision of Nasser’s government to prosecute and execute the Muslim Brother leader, Sayyid Qutb. Against these internal crises, the dam was among the few remaining symbols of progress the Nasser government could uphold. Nasser’s manual on government, al-Mithaq promised localized participatory committees. But these committees had been checked or eradicated with these purges, just as Nasser’s other highly publicized constitutional reform was also abrogated. At the social level, the dislocation of Sa‘idis or Upper Egyptians continued as they were denoted and ethnicized as Nubians, which was convenient to separate those Sa‘idis or Upper Egyptians, living north or below the dam, from those who lived in the flood plain.

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THE WRITING OF THE HIGH DAM AS JOURNALISM AND AS LITERATURE In both of Sun’allah Ibrahim’s texts on the Aswan High Dam, The Man of the High Dam, (1967) and Star of August (1974), we find overlaying references to these issues. Whereas the second text, as interpreted by KassemDraz, is a counter-text rewritten in argument against the tone of an official modernism of the earlier book, both texts provide commentary on the reliance upon large groups and masses of labor, and which I argue were inferred in other contemporary art works.73 The simplified structure of The Man of the High Dam, suited the official sponsored tone of its intended publication, but was also a collaborative effort of its authors, Sun’allah Ibrahim, Kamal al-Qilish, Rauf Mas‘ud, an illustrator, and the poet, al-Abnudi, whose ode, Song to the High Dam, is the preface.74 In Kassem-Draz’s interpretation, The Man of the High Dam is a documentary text of reportage, narrating as real events the seen and visible, and distinguished from the imaginary of fiction. The text presents the distance of the authors from their subject. The Man of the High Dam, is illustrative of the problem of indirect speech or reportage, between the subject of labor, and the object of the dam, as the signifier of the state. Al-Qilish’s introduction personalizes and invokes the project of the high dam, in nationalist terms as a fulfillment of an ancient and continuing legacy, ‘It was an old dream, a dream of writing about the dam.’ Al-Qilish wrote the impressions of his itinerary and temporary sojourn that was rewritten in Ibrahim’s novel Star of August, as a journalist’s narrative. The journalists, as Lower Egyptians, report on the dam through interviews with engineers and administrators. The common workers and Sa‘idis are inferred as omnipresent but rarely speak. In the preface, al-Qilish acknowledges the impossible task of writing about the totality of the dam.75 Al-Qilish writes of the dam as a national trope of unification, as a reified national symbol supporting an ideology of progress that is the project of the state. The masculine narrative of the dam is reinforced by the notable absence of women from the central part of the book. Instead women are reserved for two roles, as brokers of exchange in the market place, and in the concluding chapter as teachers of children. The isolation of men from women in the middle chapters is indicative of the separation of men from women for prolonged periods and reinforces the sexual division of labor on the dam, both in symbolic form and as a creation of men.76 The authors note the daily habits and spaces designated for the market day and other functions.77 The real space of Aswan and encounter with its people, streets, and places, is subordinated to the nearby quarries used to

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supply stone for the dam project.78 As if to accentuate the differences of the residents of Aswan, their youth are described as brown and in contrast with the Russian technical workers. The Man of the High Dam is a work indicative of the evolving corporatist and collaborative use of the arts in publishing. The grouping of chapters into a travelogue drew upon techniques of journalism, official publicity,

Figure 57 ‘Abd al-Hadi al-Gazzar. Al-‘Amalaqa (The Swinging Colossus), 1963. China ink on paper. 26 × 35 cm. Source: Subhi al-Sharuni, ‘Abd al-Hadi al-Gazzar: Fannan al-Asatir wa ‘Alam al-Fadha’, Cairo: 1966, p. 101.

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publicity, and the form and layout of the illustrated mass produced popular novella. The illustration for the chapter, ‘A Daily Battle: Question without an Answer’ depicted the heavy earth moving equipment and the heavy imported Russian cranes. One of these cranes was the same crane featured and interpreted by al-Gazzar in his drawing, The Swinging Colossus, and who had made a series of studies of the dam prior to his completing The High Dam. As the High Dam was designed for construction in separate stages, the first stage required the construction of the new diversion channel. This was scheduled to conclude in May 1964, and coincide with the issue of the public relations booklet, The Aswan High Dam. This was a phase of intensive labor to be used alongside large earth moving equipment, and on quarrying, rock removal and soil excavation. Subsequent phases developed the large tunnel projects with extensive rock excavation and concrete works, and built up the dam with layers of rock and sand. The final phases incorporated the construction of the power station and transmission and switchgear installation. This progression of the phases of the dam’s construction are the structural bases for the various interpretations by artists of the dam, whether in the graphic arts, photography and journalism, and in writing. As the gigantic scale of the first phase of the dam’s excavation and earth moving ended, it gave way in the second phase to the blasting and dynamiting phase, that Ibrahim in Star of August, noted did not require as concentrated a work force.79 The nameless journalist in Star of August is told directly, ‘You have not seen the first phase,’ to which the journalist can only shake his head in acknowledgment.80 We meet workers and managers on the project undergoing family crises.81 The journalist learns that the vastness or alienation now found for those on the project, was not a problem during the first phase with its larger groups of workers.82 The final chapters of the earlier text, The Man of the High Dam, offered benefits the dam brings, the building of new schools and villages, whose relocation is valorized through electrification. Aswan’s transformation is suggested in the placement and photographic representation of tourist market places, thereby juxtaposing the traditional market with the integration of the new tourist economy which surpasses it.83 The narrative of The Man of the High Dam with its intended Egyptian readership departed from the official tone of publications for international readership, and instead borrowed from the format of the popular novels and illustrated works of poetry abounding in Cairo’s publishing houses. By the 1960s a number of authors departed from the official trope. The alienation of the worker was charted in al-Abnudi’s inventive Jawabat

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Haraji al-Qutt al-‘Amil fi-l-Sadd al-‘Ali ila Zawjatihi Fatima Ahmad ‘Abd al-Ghaffar fi Jabalayat al-Far (The letters of Heraji al-Qut, high dam construction worker, to his wife Fatima Ahmed Abd al-Ghafar in Jabalaya al-Far), 1969. Al-Abnudi presented the journey of a sole worker who migrates from his Upper Egyptian village to seek work on the High Dam, leaving his wife behind. Its publication in 1969 made it one of the first literary interpretative narratives on the High Dam from the perspective of a common worker and his everyday experiences, and a work which resonates through Ibrahim’s tracking of a journalist’s daily routines and observations of work on the High Dam, in Star of August (1974). Al-Abnudi’s Letters contrasted with Star of August in which Ibrahim developed the trope of a panoramic camera zooming in and out on movements of workers between the support towns and the construction sites.84 Star of August was written over an interim of seven years, begun in 1966, and completed in January 1973, while the author was working in Berlin and Moscow.85 In Star of August, the journalist learns that by arriving at the conclusion of the first phase, he has missed out on reporting the untold losses and devastation caused by the errors of the first phase of construction.86 A concrete engineer commented that by missing the first phase, the journalist had missed the many mistakes that had occurred and the many victims and loss of life from the accidents.87 Ibrahim presented the Star of August as a journalist’s first person narrative to disarm the official rhetoric of the dam as a promotional panacea, revealing both the mundane routine of life in the towns of Luxor and the new town of Aswan. The novel opens with the journalist’s train ride to Luxor and Aswan, where the journalist settles into his routines and makes acquaintances in the town. The drudgery of life and the isolation of the project from the workers’ hometowns is reinforced in the protagonist’s conversations with local officials and project engineers. A visit to a local jail serves as prelude to comments from one of the project managers that ‘Life here is as a prison.’88 The actual prison with its purpose of rounding up thieves and rogues, becomes a generic metaphor for the conditions of the entire locale of the dam’s towns and work camps. Ibrahim punctuates the daily rounds of visits to the work site with comments on the subordination of workers and of Egyptians as a caste of workers separated from the Russian technical workers.89 Our journalist narrator reveals his awareness that he and other journalists were purposely kept from viewing the many mistakes and losses of life suffered in the first phase. Kassem-Draz’s structural reading of Ibrahim’s Star of August, reveals the coercion of the subtext, while the surface reading of the text is upheld

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as a neutral and transparent presentation of reality in a documentary form. While Kassem-Draz offers a cogent and penetrating analysis of the meaning of the subtext and the dehumanization of the narrator as subject in Star of August, a comparison with the rhetoric of the official texts offers a wider range of discourse for scrutiny. The intent of neutrality and documentary impartiality as claimed by Kassem-Draz is disputable in part, for both of Ibrahim’s texts infer and directly observe significant places of labor and movements of people around the narrator. Kassem-Draz interprets the surface text and its matter-of-fact description of the physical world and objects, as the window pane through which the anonymous narrator gazes on to the world from his train. In the Lacanian opening of the novel this same window pane becomes a mirror as the train’s dining car darkens, the writer can no longer see or perceive the external world and can only gaze upon himself. This transparent narrative counterpoises the unspoken as a negative text, in which Star of August is read as a ‘surface discourse made meaningful by what it omits rather than by what it includes.’90 The surface discourse of Star of August maneuvers around the coercive discourse of the official rhetoric of which The Man of the High Dam was representative. Accordingly, the unwritten and the hidden text is the subtext of the social conflict against the coercive state.91 The contribution of Sa‘idi or Upper Egyptian labor is openly inferred. In the opening chapters, set during the dam’s excavation phase, we are constantly reminded and informed of the proximity of groups of workers

Figure 58 Ra’uf Mus‘ad, Chapter title page, Ma‘raka Yawmiyya wa Su’al bila Ijaba! (A Daily Battle and a Question without an Answer!), in Sun‘allah Ibrahim, Kamal al-Qilish, and Ra’uf Mus‘ad, Insan al-Sadd al-‘Ali, (The Man of the High Dam). Cairo: Dar al-Kitab al-‘Arabi li-l-Tiba‘a wa-alNashr, 1967, p. 25.

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moving about the work sites and support towns.92 The deconstruction of the lore of the dam is noted by the journalist who hears someone state that the dam is ‘nothing more than bits of sand and rock.’93 What is the relation then between painting, graphic works, and writing as inter-textual narratives of labor? Al-Gazzar’s painting, The High Dam, which introduced our discussion of the artistic rendering of the Aswan High Dam, was one of a series of studies and interpretations undertaken by al-Gazzar on this theme. Of these, two appear as preparatory sketches and date from 1963, The Swinging Colossus, and The Foundations of the Electrical Station at the Passway. The Swinging Colossus depicts one of at least two, immense, 15 ton floating cranes deployed for the work on the upper half of the project.94 The sheer size and power of the machines are similarly depicted in the illustrations to Ibrahim’s The Man of the High Dam, and are recalled in Ibrahim’s Star of August. During the next year, al-Gazzar reworked both of these drawings, transforming them into Surrealist distortions of form and reality. His trilogy of pen and ink drawings, Dynamics of the High Dam, transforms the dam from an engineering marvel into a critique of the exploitation of labor. In the second of this series, several workers are seen entombed or encased alive in the scaffolding beneath the encasing cement of the imposing structure. Here, the workers are the victims, and the implication of oppression and loss of life is hidden away in the unstated and unwritten history of the dam’s construction. In the third of the series, al-Gazzar, transforms the elements of the dam itself into a deconstruction of exploding structural elements undergoing centrifugal force away from the center. Only at the center of the drawing do we recognize a vague figural representation of a human, ambiguously defined and overwhelmed by the larger structure itself. But as we examine the drawing further, the outline of a face is apparent, its eyes made of concrete reinforced blocks, its nose of another slab, in what emerges as an enormous gargantuan head of machinery parts and construction elements. The Pantagruel colossus of concrete and human, anticipates the painting of The High Dam in the same year. The metamorphosis of human into colossus, of the concrete giant in the drawing from the Dynamics series, is reshown as a man machine in The High Dam who towers over the causeways and towns of the new Nile, and the solitary figures shown walking along its concrete embankments, completely void of any sign of habitability or vegetation. Thus, al-Gazzar’s drawings for the Dynamics of the High Dam series are a preface to Ibrahim’s Star of August, whose second chapter includes a Surrealist string of self-reflection on the dam. Ibrahim offers a semi-conscious string

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of impressions of the various levels of labor, Russian and Egyptian supervision, of caste-like Sa‘idi workers used for manual labor on the ground, and of Nubians as the tradition bound folk who have to be moved, but are constantly present as waiters. Al-Gazzar’s surrealism was a corollary preface to Ibrahim’s text, with its packing of endless symbols and the inclusion of dead bodies, of nameless workers, who were shown sacrificed for the dam in the Dynamics of the High Dam series. Ibrahim’s Star of August makes similar reference to the bodies and symbolism of Hathor, the ancient Egyptian tree goddess shown in al-Gazzar’s The Charter. The journalist carries about a pocket edition of Irving Stone’s biography of Michelangelo, The Agony and the Ecstasy, whose plot centers on the personal struggle between artist and authority. The book becomes a guidebook that he consults to compare the great projects of Michelangelo with that of the High Dam. Ibrahim introduces Mahmud Mukhtar, the Egyptian nationalist sculptor of the 1920s, as the new Michelangelo. The subjugation of the

Figure 59 ‘Abd al-Hadi al-Gazzar, Dynamics of the High Dam, 1964. Ink on paper. 24 × 32 cm. Source: Subhi al-Sharuni, ‘Abd al-Hadi al-Gazzar: Fannan al-Asatir wa ‘Alam al-Fadha’, (‘Abd al-Hadi Al-Gazzar: Artist of the Fables and The World of Space), Cairo: al-Dar al-Qawmiyya li-l-Tiba‘a wa-l-Nashr, 1966, p. 113.

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Sa‘idis, the Upper Egyptians continues as they are chosen for the hardest and most dangerous of tasks. The Sa‘idis are placed in the pit of the giant quarries that are being cleared by giant Russian machinery. The individual selectivity possible in Michelangelo’s studied calculations of the features of the Pieta, or David, are replaced here by the machinations and churning of giant machines, with its vulnerable workforce below. Ibrahim’s text recalls the encasing of dead workers entombed in al-Gazzar’s drawings for the Dynamics of the Dam series. The workers buried in the encased tombs of the dam, recalled his earlier work, World of the Spirits and its implications of massacre and the recent purges against the Muslim Brothers and communist labor organizers. The horrifying conditions of labor, and the implied caste-like organization of Sa‘idis on the dam project shown in al-Gazzar’s Dynamics of the High Dam is represented by Ibrahim in Star of August. The stressful conditions are compressed into Ibrahim’s string of endless, unpunctuated sentences that run on in this Surrealist chapter. The following short translated excerpt serves as an illustration of the intertextual potential for the viewer of al-Gazzar’s drawing and the reader of Ibrahim’s novel.95 …so an engineer beside me shouted at the workers who remained at the bottom who are going up in haste before being surprised by the water and precipitation on the frail metal ladder which leads them up the high walls as one slipped and fell on another larger one who trampled down on the first and so one of them tried to climb across and failed and fell while another remained suspended in the open and a third attempted to climb the steep partition as if he had had some grapples and so three Sa‘idis were grouped together at the bottom of the basin standing on boards bunched together standing and waiting…. the release of the waters The implication of the dam, continued in a number of al-Gazzar’s drawings and sketches from 1964, including his pen and ink drawing, The Laboratory. With angular features and double ribboned medals, al-Gazzar’s rendering depicted a senior military figure, with connotations of a devil or dictator in a control room brimming with mechanical machinery, the machinery of the modern state militocracy. As with other drawings of the artist, he included tokens and symbols of his own signature, including the sea sponge in the right foreground, as the general holds a marble or eyepiece in one hand and a palm like frond in the other, mixing in the multitude of symbols and messages densely woven into the drawing. As with the

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Dynamics series, this little known drawing was kept in the artist’s private collection, which may be indicative of the cautious yet critical strategy of resistance sought by al-Gazzar and his contemporaries. In conclusion, an intertextual reading and viewing of al-Gazzar’s art with the works of other artists allows us to gain a fuller interpretation of the meaning of his drawings. Independently each of his drawings are difficult to assess or understand. Their ambiguity and quixotic structure, if viewed independently leave little hint of continuity of the serial narrative that al-Gazzar produced through his drawings and paintings. The serial thematic nature of many of his works, and the repetitive use of motifs, resignify the meaning of symbols for the informed viewer. Al-Gazzar’s vocabulary of painting, familiar to his contemporaries, must have been read through the many subjective filters of his viewers, as either subversive or conforming. These contradictions were manifested in the arts of this period. Artists versed in realism and the transitional and multidimensional experience of the arts created a discourse on capitalism’s displacement through the subject of the traditional and of labor. The portrayal of the dam in the arts emphasized its temporal immediacy and space and recentered Upper Egypt as a central problem of the State. Four years after al-Gazzar’s death, al-Sagini returned to the subject of the tree of life as a metaphor for the state and civil society in his The Simple People, (1970). In this work al-Sagini returns to the compositional arrangements and techniques of his earlier festival and trees of life and destiny series. But three years have passed since the defeat of the 1967 war, and a year after a personal crisis in which he threw his own works of art into the Nile, after his art was rejected for housing in a museum. Al-Sagini returns to the theme of the tree of life, and divides the composition into two halves.96 Whereas al-Gazzar’s paintings of the 1960s, including The Charter and The High Dam, retained an enigmatic message that led many to read it subjectively according to the whims of their own political preference, in The Simple People, al-Sagini chose to place unambiguous texts to inscribe in the copper plate the ethical choice of societies. Perhaps having seen the ambiguous and unclear reading of his colleagues’ work, al-Sagini, chose to consciously clarify the position begun by the Contemporary Art Group when it formed in 1946, and it is through al-Sagini’s textual certainty that we may re-examine al-Gazzar’s The Charter for its underlying subversive attack on the state. The critical subversive implied the double meaning of iconographic and contextual content in both al-Gazzar and al-Sagini’s works. This allows us to reexamine the critical theory of authoritarian modernism posed by

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Roel Meijer and Amira Sonbol. Whereas Meijer’s analysis of authoritarian modernism was concerned with the theoretical positions of intellectuals in support of the state’s dominance of culture and political and economic power, a review of these artists suggests a critical ambivalence and engagement with the state’s projects. In Sonbol’s analysis the state has assumed authoritative dominance and privileged an elite formation around state functions and corporatism. The number of artists’ works that diverged from this formulation is indicative of considerable dissent and discontent. For every artist or intellectual who embraced authoritarianism there were counter arguments and counter positions adopted by leading and less prominent artists. The number of artists imprisoned during the Nasser period attests to this dissonance. This dissonance could also be developed through analogy, as in al-Gazzar’s numerous private drawings and critical satires of the authoritarian state and militocracy.

CONCLUSION POLITICAL CURRENTS IN THE PHILOSOPHY AND EXPERIENCE OF EGYPTIAN AESTHETICS Political culture in Egyptian society during the period considered, 1908 – 1966, utilized the arts as a forum of nationalist culture. Ideological appeals to a special culture and discourse appeared amid competing claims and confrontations over power in Egypt. Those in power channeled enormous resources into the arts to proclaim a Nahda paradigm that attempted to gloss over vast inequities between classes and regions. Art for the ruling class of the old regime was an act of self-consumption that sought to distinguish itself from mass culture. The Nasser period replaced the Nahda paradigm, of the old regime of the pre-1952 era, with an authoritarian modernist paradigm, or what has been termed a Second Nahda. The old regime’s emphasis on self-consumption in the arts was replaced by the government’s funding and consumption of art, in effect, a state consumption of art. A radical tradition of dissonance arose among disillusioned journalists, teachers and artists who contested the paramountcy of the state and cultural institutions. The open polemic in the arts found in the Egyptian experience is better explained by the specificity of the analysis by Sayyid ‘Ashmawi, and the critique and theory of nationalism by Partha Chatterjee, than with Benedict Anderson’s theory of an imagined community that creates consensus for the state.1 In Egypt, the rise of cultural institutions preceded the formation of a number of political institutions. Agrarian capitalism created serious confrontations between large landowners and peasant laborers that influenced cultural production and the subsequent form of the nation state. The Nahda revival was invented, abandoned, and reinvented according to these needs. Nationalist elites produced an ideology of rule and collaboration with other social classes, but they were never able to impose their cultural forms in part because the elitists preferred to maintain the uniqueness of their status. On the other hand,

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elite culture encountered broad resistance from within its middle ranks and from mass culture. A rich elite competed with oppositional movements for support among the middle strata of society. This middle strata formed the intellectual corps that the rich depended on for consent in the administration of the state. The struggle of the landowning elite with the masses, the working poor and the peasantry was a challenge to the agrarian capitalist base of power with its regional disparity and inequity. In this context, the Second Nahda as an agenda for the arts during the Nasser period was an attempt at a passive revolution that sought support for its reforms against the more revolutionary potential of the Muslim Brothers, and to a lesser extent the communists, in the early 1950s.2 The struggles over philosophical positions in the arts occurred at institutional levels, particularly in competing teaching philosophies. The divisions that arose from the late 1930s between the Academy of the Fine Arts and the Teachers’ College was a struggle between the formalism of an elite caste and the direction of secondary education. Those who opposed an elite emphasis preferred an emphasis on the inclusive nature of aesthetic experience.3 The nature of the struggle took the form of philosophical discourse, and radical and subversive forms of art, modeled initially on surrealism, and later forms that fused together traditional and modernist idioms. A number of prominent Surrealists were graduates of the Teachers’ College who formed a philosophy and pedagogical theory that challenged the academic style of the pioneer generation, with its reliance on European formalism and study. New groups of artists, critics, and philosophers emerged, who emphasized the disparity and dissonances in Egyptian social life and brought into this discourse the experience of the Sa‘idis, or Upper Egyptians. As Donald Lacoss has shown, the rise of this radical cultural criticism in the late 1930s, was deliberatlely mislabeled as ‘degenerate’ by conservative liberal-nationalist contemporary critics. Lacoss showed that the Egyptian engagement with Surrealism was only temporary, as their subversive techniques and reading of Marx and Freud, provided a direct challenge to the prevailing elite Nahda paradigm of liberal-national consensus. From the late 1930s through the 1940s, the Surrealist method was studied and surpassed by other Egyptian anarchic and Marxist influenced critiques of the contradictions of Egyptian polity and daily life that exposed the incompatible ideological positions of the nationalist position. The ephemeral nature of the serialization of publications and parallel art organizations used by these artists, with their commitment against the orthodoxy of power and academicism, was in response to, and a maneuver around the tactics of police surveillance and censorship that had accelerated

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in Egypt, particularly after 1936 and the accession of the Sidqi regime. Just as the state and its regimes went through a series of reconfigurations of power at the top, and were unable to concentrate a consensus around either a single party, leader, parliamentary or popular support, the artists of the Left presented manifestos, exhibitions and publications through serialized methods. In a Hegelian fashion, Ramsis Yunan saw the experience of contemporary Egypt as part of a new civilization or culture, through which the arts and the role of the artists as intellectuals were to have instrumental roles.4 In his final essay, ’Usul al-Naqd fi-l-Fann al-Tashkili (The Sources of Criticism in the Plastic Arts), Yunan presented a new art criticism that moved beyond an emphasis on merely cataloguing styles. Yunan’s new criticism probed the depth of understanding and levels of meaning achieved in art.5 Art was not ‘chained to its ownership,’ but was, Yunan asserted, a gift for all.6 Calling for a secularized philosophy of the arts, Yunan criticized the negative inheritance of religious ideology overseeing the production of art in specific historical periods. Criticism relied upon various positions and relative religious, secular and traditional perspectives of artistic interpretation that comprised the cosmopolitanism of this period. Yunan called upon the role of criticism to interpret the general artistic phenomenon through the specificity of its conditions. Yunan encompassed a historical perspective that considered the multitude of artistic influences that arise from the psychological, social, philosophical or the religious.7 These innovations in the arts, and the expanded role of the artist in modern societies, led to a new language of the arts.8 For Yunan, art was above all a language, which freed of its ideological function, was not limited to the concept of beauty. Nor was it a language of representation or form, or of portraiture as presented by the artists of the Nahda. With this new language of criticism, the objective and subjective treatment of art takes place.9 The critic’s task is to realize the conditions of the production of culture and the position of consciousness of artistic production as an amalgamation of deep influences. Whereas Yunan introduced a secular method to explain the potential range of aesthetic experience in everyday life, the Contemporary Art Group combined philosophies of Sufism and surrealism in the application of their art in the recognition of the everyday. In centering their art on the experiences of agrarian labor struggles, the festival, and war, al-Gazzar and other members of the Contemporary Art Group forged a humanistic application of the arts in their discourse.10 They incorporated

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motifs and influences from Sa‘idi (Upper Egyptian) and other African art forms. Al-Gazzar brought in Islamist elements of Sayyid Qutb’s criticism of Western modernism and capitalism within his own critical philosophy on art. After the 1967 War, dissonance in the arts took new forms. The simpler model of state and intellectual dialogue, always tentative, ideological and reliant on a nationalist base, could no longer presume an intellectual production that would be cooperative. As a consequence, this left a number of projects and topics that avoided the direct discussion and articulation of peasant, tenant, and migrant labor issues as a collective problem. Instead, during the Open Door period of the Sadat regime of the 1970s, the individualized alienation of the present was increasingly emphasized in the arts as opposed to the representation of the recent past as a politically charged subject that appeared in the arts of the 1940s-1960s. The influence of al-Gazzar and the Contemporary Art Group on Egyptian artists since the 1970s is apparent in the number of recent works that have copied titles of his more famous works. Zakariya al-Zayni’s Hunger (1984) was named after al-Gazzar’s earlier work, and mocks Sadat’s failed Open Door policy for imports. The painting depicts an empty fish can gathered from a pile of garbage centered between the contradictory images of a starving woman on the left and a classical nude figure sculpture on the right.11 Others who have recalled al-Gazzar in the titling and subject of their work include Moataz Nasr El-Din, whose An Ear of Mud, Another of Dough won the top prize at the 8th International Cairo Biennale in 2000. In that work, Nasr El-Din critiqued the muted response to the suffering by children, by placing a long wall of several thousand baked dough and clay plastered ears in an elongated tunnel room. Across the wall was a silent video display of Egyptians of various classes shown shrugging their shoulders in disregard to actual conditions, and set to the sound of a constant drone.12 As demonstrated by the philosophical discourse of Ramsis Yunan and the applied arts of al-Gazzar and his contemporaries, the production of art and its reception changes continually and is produced in the social context of experience and the polity of its language, and its presentation as participation. In the Egyptian experience, the potential of artists to critique the contradictions of society and the tensions of capitalism’s disequilibria mitigated the imagined unity of a nationalist agenda and institutionalization of art.13 The arts of the festival, that raised the suspicions of the state in the 1930s, reflected democratic impulses in the form of mass gatherings and popular assembly. The ongoing regulation of festivals by the state reflects

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the broader struggle to contain or to assert democratic culture within an authoritarian structure. The full dimensions of Egyptian aesthetic philosophy and discourse are manifest in the continuing range of debates and activism found among artists and art critics. Conservative cultural models remain powerfully entrenched in the preference of Yusuf Zaydan and others for turath studies as another form of Nahda revivalism. This conservatism was challenged by the emergence of the activist group Writers and Artists for Change who extended the dissidence of the Kefaya movement through their persistent demand for political rights and protests against the regime’s authoritarianism. The projects of Mohamed Hashem, as publisher at Merit Publishing House, provided a space and milieu for critical cultural history. The writing of the art historian Muhammad Muhsin ‘Atiyya, of Helwan University, provides a reflection on the depth of an Egyptian and North African artistic and aesthetic experience, rooted in an Arabic and Islamic philosophical method and an espistemology that transcends simplistic categories of tradition and modernity. If ‘Atiyya and other writers, like Mukhtar al-‘Attar, uphold the Egyptian avant-garde of the surrealist generation as elite icons, they nevertheless share in the notion of a widened horizon of socially rooted aesthetic experience while they encourage a vertical integration through support for art institutions. The historical forms of aesthetic experience are as yet less well documented among scholars than the religious forms and ideology. The emergence of a varied historiography and philosophical method for contemporary and historical periods of Egyptian and other regional arts has offered a transformative narrative and agency. The rise of cultural criticism provides a challenge to reactionary and authoritarian tendencies. It is at this reflective level that observers and critics, artists and viewers, engage in a critical experience and frame a language of discourse as voices of dissent or consent. The continuing struggle in the arts is a reflection of the positional confrontation among intellectuals who consent to the regime’s hegemony, and those who seek an alternative political framework and distribution of power. The response of Kefaya (Enough), the reformist Egyptian art group, in rallying attention over the past decade to expose authoritarianism’s flaws and weakness, must be seen in the growing coordination and conscious organization of widespread mass resistance to the Mubarak regime that preceded the Arab Spring of 2011. It was Kefaya that helped draw attention to the textile workers’ protests in September of 2007 at the Misr Spinning and Weaving Company complex at Mahalla al-Kubra in the Nile Delta. An entirely new paradigm may emerge from debates among new forms of secular and Islamicist discourse that will challenge

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the uneven material conditions of a neoliberal global modernism. The space accorded to cultural criticism also may be threatened by a reactionary suppression by the state as it tries to marginalize dissident opposition. The arts are likely to remain a proving ground of the competing strategies to maintain consent or to forge counter movements that reflect the democratic tendencies of cultural discourse and practice in Arab society.

NOTES Preface 1 My thanks to Professor Rifa‘at Abou El-Haj, for suggesting this line of inquiry. On the rise of the rich as a paradigm for world history, I have benefitted immensely from Peter Gran’s personal comments and his essay, ‘Modern World History as the Rise of the Rich: A New Paradigm,’ History Compass 5/3 (2007): 1026–1049. Clearly, for a new generation of art historians the recognition of art as self-consumption by the rich is now a problem for historiography, as in Colin Platt, Marks of Opulence: the Why, When and Where of Western Art 1000-1914. (London, 2004). On how art is a product of consumption in recent decades in Egypt, see, Jessica Winegar, Creative Reckonings: the politics of art and culture in contemporary Egypt. (Stanford, 2006). 2 On the development of alliances as a strategy of the elites of different nationstates for power sharing see, Peter Gran, ‘Modern World History as the Rise of the Rich,’ (2007), p. 1042, and his newer work, The Rise of the Rich: A New View of Modern World History, (Syracuse, 2009). 3 This point resonates in Roel Meijer’s The Quest for Modernity: Secular Liberal and Left-Wing Political Thought in Egypt, 1945-1958, (New York, 2002). 4 On these competing paradigms of interpretation in historiography, see the very useful and insightful work by Roel Meijer, The Quest for Modernity, (2004), p. 3. I differ however with Roel Meijer’s somewhat restricting account of the role of Ramsis Yunan and other artists (Meijer, (2002), pp. 103-104). Instead I suggest their role was far more expansive than has been thought previously. 5 On the Southern question as a problem for history, see Peter Gran, ‘Upper Egypt in modern history: a “southern question”?’, in Derek Hopwood and Reem Saad, Upper Egypt: Identity and Change, (Cairo, 2004). 6 My thanks are extended to Mohamed Ali, a PhD student in the Sociology Department at Binghamton University. After this book was largely written, I was personally reminded by an Upper Egyptian friend that one may read into a number of the paintings and sculptures of al-Gazzar, or al-Sagini, inflections and references to Southern Egyptian culture and forms of art. For instance, al-Sagini’s food tray discussed in Chapter Four herein, may be recognized as an Upper Egyptian food tray. Similarly, in al-Gazzar’s Hunger, discussed in Chapter Three, a number of the women are represented in Southern Egyptian dress, and the qulla, or pitcher of water is a Southern Egyptian vessel.

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1  THE SOCIAL HORIZON OF EGYPTIAN AESTHETICS 1. Ramsis Yunan, ‘al-Hulm wa-l-Haqiqa,’ al-Tatawwur (Development) No. 3, March 1940, pp. 22–5. Translated excerpt by author. 2. Husayn Yusuf Amin, as republished and translated in Alain and Christine Roussillon, Abdel Hadi al-Gazzar: Une Peinture Égyptienne. (Cairo, Dar al-Mustaqbal al-‘Arabi, 1990), pp. 158–9 and 166–7. 3. Several works published in Cairo provide a discussion of the political context of artistic production during this period and include ‘Izz al-Din Najib, al-Tawajjuh al-Ijtima‘ i li-l-Fannan al-Misri al-Mu‘asir (The Social Direction in Contemporary Egyptian Art), (Cairo: al-Majlis al-A‘la li-l-Thaqafa, 1997) and ‘Izz al-Din Najib, Fannanun wa-Shuhada’: al-Fann al-Tashkili wa-Huquq al-Insan (Artists and Martyrs: the Plastic Arts and Human Rights), (Cairo: Markaz al-Qahira li-Dirasat Huquq al-Insan, 2000). On the influence of these power struggles on cultural production, I have relied most on Sayyid ‘Ashmawi, Ibid., (2000). I thank Peter Gran, Temple University for suggesting this source. 4. For instance, the Egyptian Surrealist, Ramsis Yunan, wrote a critical review of Taha Husayn’s book, ‘Mustaqbal al-Thaqafa fi Misr’ (Future of Culture in Egypt), in al-Tatawwur, No. 1, circa 1944, pp. 10–13. Yunan attacked Husayn’s academic model and upholding of Europe as a model for modernization and educational reform. Yunan also attacked Husayn’s elite definition of culture and notion of a division between the scientific mind of the European, and the spiritual mind of the Eastern and Egyptian mind. Husayn, who was particularly critical of Egypt’s Teachers’ College and its dominance of the Ministry of Education, was later appointed Minister of Education in 1944, after the restoration of the al-Nahhas government. 5. On the history of Egyptian rural reform during the twentieth-century, see Amy Johnson, Reconstructing Rural Egypt: Ahmed Hussein and the History of Egyptian Development. (Syracuse, 2004). 6. On the second Nahda as a cultural ideology of Nasserism, see ‘Izz al-Din Najib, al-Tawajjuh al-Ijtima‘ i li-l-Fannan al-Misri al-Mu‘asir (The Social Direction in the Contemporary Egyptian Artist), (Cairo: al-Majlis al-A‘la li-lThaqafa, 1997), pp. 85–7. 7. On the end of the Second Nahda, see Najib, (1997), p. 101. 8. On the Italian paradigm in Egyptian national rule I have relied on articles and lectures shared by Peter Gran on the Egyptian use of the Italian Road or method of rule, including his Beyond Eurocentrism (Syracuse, 1996). 9. The notion of the everyday in sociology was put forth in Henri Lefebvre’s Critique of Everyday Life (1947) as a sociological study influenced by studies of pre-war and post-war rural conditions and agrarian unions in France and Italy and the response of consumers to the encroaching of capitalism into every facet of workers’ existence. Lefebvre’s project preoccupied him through the Cold War period and reflected an internal view of European civil society at a time when a comparative study of Europe with North African sociology was perhaps inconceivable. See, Michel Trebitsch’s preface to Volume 2 of Henri Lefebvre, Critique of Everyday Life (London, 2002), pp. x-xiv. Within Egyptian scholarship, the notion of the everyday appeared in art journalism as in Yusuf Hamam, ‘al-Funun al-Yawmiyya, (Everyday Arts)’ al-Thaqafa, No.

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89, September 10, 1940, pp. 31–3, 1063–5. See, Ramsis Yunan, ‘al-Hulm wa-l-Haqiqa’ (The Dream and the Reality), al-Tatawwur, (Development), March 1940, and reprinted in Yunan, Dirasat fi-l-Fann (Studies in Art), Cairo, 1969, pp. 36–42. 10. I use the term Anglo-American to characterize the common methodology in scholarship found in Islamic Art History at Canadian and American universities, where I have studied as a graduate student, and in the United Kingdom. 11. On the critique of the spatial emphasis of area studies, and on the substitution of a positivist cataloguing for theory, see Harry Harootunian, ‘Some Thoughts on Compatibility and the Space-Time Problem,’ Boundary 2:32(2), (2005) pp. 23–52. On the exploration of a post-colonial theory of Egyptian arts in the 1990s as derivative of market forces, see Jessica Winegar, ‘Cultural Sovereignty in a Global Art Economy: Egyptian Cultural Policy and the New Western Interest in Art from the Middle East,’ Cultural Anthropology, May 2006, Vol. 21, Issue 2, pp. 173–204. 12. On why theories of a division between secular and religious ideology assume a political doctrine, see Talal Asad, Formations of the Secular: Christianity, Islam, Modernity, (Stanford, 2003) pp. 1–3. 13. Lewis ‘Awad, al-Masrah al-Misri bayn al-Fann wa-l-Din wa Masrah Muhakimat Iyzis (Egyptian Theatre between Art and Religion and the Play of Trial of Isis), (Cairo: Dar Nusus, 1994) p. 5. 14. Ramsis Yunan, ‘Ba‘ d Mashakil al-Naqd fi Maydan al-Funun al-Tashkiliyya,’ (Some Problems of Criticism in the Field of Plastic Arts) in Dirasat fi-l-Fann, (Cairo: Dar al-Kitab al-‘Arabi, 1969), p. 133. 15. See, Donald Wilber, The Resurrection of Reza Shah Pahlavi and the Revolution of Iran, (1986), pp. 186–7, and Kaymar Abdi, ‘Nationalism, Politics and Development of Archaeology in Iran,’ American Journal of Archaeology, Vol. 105, No. 1, January 2001, pp. 51–76. Wilber relocated to Iran, where by 1937, he was actively working on the Iran-Afghanistan border for Arthur Upham Pope with the American Institute for Iranian Art and Archaeology. On Arthur Upham Pope’s agenda for scholarship on Iran, see, Talinn Gigor, ‘(re) Framing Rapid Modernities: American Historians of Iranian Architecture, Phyllis Ackerman and Arthur Pope,’ Arris, Volume 15 (2004), pp. 39–55. On the late 19th century bifurcation between British and local control of archaeology and the preservation of monuments, see Donald Malcolm Reid. Whose Pharaohs? Archaeology, Museums, and Egyptian National Identity from Napoleon to World War I. (Berkeley, 2002. 16. Wilber was fond of having himself photographed á la T.E. Lawrence in Bedouin headdress and in other local dress of the ‘natives.’ On the need to question this self-authentication, I thank Prof. Rifa‘at Abou El-Haj, for his sharing of a manuscript of his Munich lecture on the problem of methodology. 17. See the essay on Creswell, ‘Islamic Art and Architecture’ in Stephen Vernoit, ed. Discovering Islamic Art: Scholars, Collectors and Collections. (London, 2000). On Creswell’s own observations on how British scholarship took over and appropriated German scholarship in Iraq following World War I, see Captain K.A.C. Creswell, R.A.F., ‘Some Newly Discovered Tulunide Ornament,’ The Burlington Magazine for Connoisseurs, Vol. 35, No. 200 (November, 1919), pp. 180–8.

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18. The range of responses to the uprisings at Buhut and Kafr Nigm, is apparent in the immediate responses by leaders of two of Egypt’s most active political mass movements. From the fascists, and Misr Fatah, see Sayyid ‘Ashmawi, (2000), p. 106, quoting from Ahmad Husayn in his September 23, 1951 article for Misr al-Fatah. Similarly, Sayyid Qutb, among the remaining leading intellectuals of the Muslim Brothers after the assassination of Hassan al-Banna, wrote a response on the tragedy of Buhut, see ‘Ashmawi, (2000), p. 102, citing to al-Liwa’ , (The Banner) No. 11, June 26, 1951, and No. 24, September 25, 1951. 19. See the initial newspaper report in al-Ahram, June 24, 1951. 20. On intellectuals as a new ‘umda class of privileged landholders, see Robin Ostle, ‘Modern Egyptian Renaissance Man,’ Bulletin of the School of Oriental and African Studies, Vol. 57, No. 1, (1994), pp. 184–92. 21. See, K.A.C. Creswell, ‘Problems in Islamic Architecture,’ The Art Bulletin, Vol. 35, No. 1 (Mar., 1953), 1–7. The review essay cited to by Creswell, is Richard Ettinghausen, ‘Islamic Art and Archaeology,’ in T. Cuyler Young ed., Near Eastern Culture and Society, (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1951) pp. 17–47. 22. Stephen Vernoit, Ibid., (2000). 23. See Sheila S. Blair, and Jonathan M. Bloom, ‘The Mirage of Islamic Art: Reflections on the Study of an Unwieldy Field,’ The Art Bulletin, Vol. 85, No. 1, (March 2003), pp. 152–84. 24. See Blair and Bloom, ‘the study of Islamic art and architecture is relatively new, and was of interest primarily to European and later American scholars... there is no indigenous tradition in any of the Islamic lands of studying Islamic art, with the possible exception of calligraphy…’ (2003), p. 153. Edward H. Madden, ‘Some Characteristics of Islamic Art,’ The Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism, Vol. 33, No. 4 (Summer, 1975), pp. 423–30, 423. For generally receptive reviews of Madden’s assumptions, see, Lois al Faruqi, ‘The Aesthetics of Islamic Art,’ The Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism, Vol. 35, No. 3 (Spring, 1977), 353–5, who qualifies Madden’s assertion, by noting, ‘The truth is that, with recent exceptions, the Muslim neither wrote on aesthetics for the Muslim reader nor the non-Muslim reader,’ at p. 353. 25. Lois al-Faruqi, Ibid., (1977), p. 353. 26. Myron Bement Smith, ‘The Architecture of Islamic Iran: The Il Khanid Period by Donald N. Wilber,’ Journal of the American Oriental Society, Vol. 76, No. 4. (Oct. – Dec., 1956), pp. 243–7. 27. Mehmet Aga-Oglu, ‘Remarks on the Character of Islamic Art,’ The Art Bulletin, Vol. 36, No. 3. (September, 1954), pp. 175–202. 28. Mehmet Aga-Oglu, (1954). 29. Al-Faruqi, (1997), p. 353. 30. See the multi-volume study by Zaki Muhammad Hassan, al-Fann al-Islami fi Misr. (Islamic Art in Egypt) (Cairo: Matba‘a Dar al-Kutub al-Misriya, 1935–1948). The important work on the tenth century optician and philosophy al-Hazen and his theory of beauty by Mustafa Nazif, a professor of engineering at Ain Shams University in Cairo, included his 1939 lecture given in Cairo, Muhadara ‘Amma ‘an al-Hasan ibn al-Haytham (General Lecture on al-Hasan ibn al-Haytham), and his two volume study, al-Hasan

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ibn al-Haytham: Buhuthuhu wa Kushufuhu al-Basariyya (al-Hasan ibn al-Haytham: His Research and Discoveries in Optics) Cairo, 1942, 1943, and reprinted, Frankfurt: Institute for the History of Arabic-Islamic Science at the Johann Wolfgang Goethe University, 2001. 31. To cite my own personal experience as representative of the problem, my first formal exposure to Islamic arts came in graduate school in art history at the University of Victoria in the early 1980s, where an Orientalist method of research following Creswell was upheld. This went against the currents already underway in other fields, such as history, where my undergraduate seminars with Professor Peter Gran, and my meetings in small seminar sessions with visiting scholars such as Edward Said, encouraged a centering of social analysis of the context of cultural production. 32. On the exchange and interest in developing a world-order systems theory, see Bruce Kuklick, A History of Philosophy in America, 1720–2000, (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2001), pp. 243–7. 33. In fact the full quotation is, ‘Their imaginations were vivid, but not creative. There was so little Arab art in Asia that they could almost be said to have had no art, though their classes were liberal patrons, and had encouraged whatever talents in architecture, or ceramics, or other handicraft their neighbours and helots displayed. Nor did they handle great industries: they had no organizations of mind or body. They invented no systems of philosophy, no complex mythologies.’ T.E. Lawrence, Seven Pillars of Wisdom, (Garden City, N.Y.: Doubleday, 1938), p.38. [Originally published in 1926]. 34. See, the Earl of Cromer, Modern Egypt, (London, Macmillan, 1908), p. 164., who wrote, ‘The ethnologist, the comparative philologist, and the sociologist would possibly be able to give explanations as regards many of the differences which exist between the East and the West.’ 35. At the time of Nagi’s visits to Giverney, Monet was engaged in one of the largest of his Water Lilies series, and which he donated to France as an antiwar statement following the signing of the Armistice. 36. On the dichotomy between reason and tradition, as a prejudice of the Enlightenment, and its critique by Gadamer, see John W. Tate, ‘Dead or Alive? Reflective Versus Unreflective Traditions,’ Philosophy and Social Criticism, 23(4): July, 1997, 71–91. 37. The failure to contextualize the study of aesthetics appears as neo-orientalist commentary on Orientalist scholarship itself, as in the study of Algerian art and French colonialism. See Roger Benjamin, Orientalist Aesthetics: Art, Colonialism, and French North Africa, 1880–1930, (Berkeley, 2003). One only has to consult V. Fleury, Les Industries Indigenes de la Tunisie. (Paris: Berger-Levrault & cie., 1900), for an example of the colonial appropriation of archaeology as a land grab and displacement of peasant tenants among the Roman remains at Dougga. 38. Professor Roberts described their project of collecting a database of Islamic converts to Islam at the African Studies Association African Arts Council conference held in Cambridge, Massachusetts, in April 2004, while also presenting a summary of their book catalogue. Allen F. Roberts and Mary Nooter Roberts, A Saint in the City: Sufi arts of Urban Senegal. (Berkeley, 2002).

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39. See the chapter on Sayyid Qutb, ‘The Aesthetics of Martyrdom,’ in Malise Ruthven, A Fury for God: the Islamist Attack on America, (London, 2002). 40. Georges Henein, ‘Tahya al-Fann al-Munhat’ (Long Live the Degenerate Art), (December 22, 1938), reprinted in Samir Gharib, al-Surrialiya fi Misr, (Surrealism in Egypt) (Cairo: the General Book Organization, 1986), pp. 148–9. This debate is taken up in chapter three of this book. 41. Sayyid Qutb, Ma‘rakat al-Islam wa-l-Ra’smaliyya, (The Battle of Islam and Capitalism) (Cairo: Dar ash-Sharuq, 1975), p. 38. Originally published in 1951. 42. On the metahistorical concepts of ‘space of experience,’ and ‘horizon of expectation,’ I draw upon Reinhart Koselleck, Futures Past: On the Semantics of Historical Time (Cambridge, MA, 1985), pp. 267–88. 43. On the collective singular as a problem of history and the perspective of writing, see, Paul Ricoeur, Memory, History, Forgetting. Tr. Kathleen Blamey and David Pellauer, (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2005) p. 305. 4 4. On the notion of an ‘aesthetic-pantheistic identity of philosophy’ which found its advocates in the German romanticism and idealism of Schleiermacher and the problematic tendency for a de-contextualized universal theory of aesthetic philosophy, see Hans-Georg Gadamer, Truth and Method, (New York: Continuum, 2003) p. 218. 45. I thank Professor Rifa‘at Abou El-Haj, who encouraged me to state my relative position as an author in relation to the work presented here, and for sharing his manuscript from his lecture on ‘Transitions’ and the problem of a transitory position of historiography to the context of the subject. 46. On the invalidity of modernity as a comparative concept, see, Dipesh Chakrabarty, ‘Postcoloniality and the Artifice of History: Who Speaks for the “Indian” Pasts?’, in A Subaltern Reader, 1966–1995, ed. Ranajit Guha, (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1997), p. 267, as cited by Harry Harootunian, Ibid., (2005), p. 34. 47. See, Mustafa Fasi, al-Batal fi-l-Qissa al-Tunisiyya hatta al-Istiqlal (The Hero in the Tunisian Short Story until Independence). (Algiers: al-Mu’assasa al-Wataniyya lil-Kitab, 1985), p. 67. The Egyptian writer Bayram al-Tunisi’s poem, al-Majlis al-Baladi (The Village Council), was reprinted in Tunis in 1936 as comparable with Tunisian nationalist struggle. 48. It is ironic of course that Nahmia Sa‘ad could be shown in Paris while a Tunisian artist as a colonial subject would be banned. On Nahmia Sa‘ad, see, Fathi Ahmad, Fann al-Jirafik al-Misri (Egyptian Graphic Art), (Cairo: al-Hay’a al-Misriyya al-‘Amma li-l-Kitab, 1985), pp. 48–57), and ‘Izz al-Din Najib, Fannanun wa Shuhada’: al-Fann al-Tashkili wa-Huquq al-Insan, (Artists and Martyrs: the Plastic Arts and Human Rights) (Cairo: Markaz al-Qahira li-dirasat huquq al-insan, 2000), pp 22–9. 49. See Mustafa Fasi, Ibid., (1985), p. 22. 50. On the issue of a fatwa by the Muslim Brothers in the 1930s allowing the use of mass produced images, see, Lia Brynjar, The Society of the Muslim Brothers in Egypt: The Rise of An Islamic Mass Movement 1928–1942. (Ithaca: Ithaca Press, 1998), p. 58. A more contemporary example of this is the writing of the Islamist intellectual, Yusuf al-Qaradawi, whose many publications include discussions of ranges of allowable or disallowed use of images, film, advertising,

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and so forth. In one of these pamphlets I purchased at a kiosk at a Cairo train station, al-Lahw wa-l-Funun fi-l-Islam (Diversion and Arts in Islam) (Cairo, Islamic Inc., 1998), al-Qaradawi provides exemptions for the use of toy dolls (‘arusa sugarine dolls for instance) by children (p. 78), by citing hadiths, and the restriction of pictures is qualified as a limit on idolatry, thereby exempting most mass produced images, advertising, etc. 51. Mustafa ‘Abd Ar-Raziq, ‘al-Shaykh Muhammad ‘Abduh wa-l-Funun al-Jamila,’ (The Shaykh Muhammad ‘Abduh and the Fine Arts), Al-Majallat al-Funun, September 20, 1924, and Muhammad ‘Abduh’s fatwa and reprinted in Samir Gharib, Fi Tarikh al-Funun al-Jamila, (Cairo: Dar al-Sharuq, 1998), pp. 116–24. 52. Brynjar, Ibid., (1998), p. 58. 53. For Egyptian critical interpretations on aesthetic experience, al-Khibra al-Jamaliyya, and a critical reception of Hans-Georg Gadamer’s philosophy of the horizon of aesthetic experience, see, Muhsin Muhammad ‘Atiyya, ‘Ghayat al-Fann: Dirsasat Falsafiyya wa Naqdiyya’, (The Aim of Art: Philosophical and Critical Studies), (Cairo: Dar al-Ma’arif bi-Misr, 1991), and his glossary. On the notion of horizons of aesthetic experience, see, Sabri Mansur, Afaq al-Fann al-Tashkiliyya: Dirasat Tashkiliyya, (The Horizons of the Plastic Art: Studies in the Plastic Arts), (Cairo: al-Hay’a al-‘Amma li-Qusur al-Thaqafa, 2000). 54. On the openness of the question and of the horizon of experience as a conceptual category for discourse on aesthetics, see Hans-Georg Gadamer, Truth and Method, (2003), pp. 299–302. On the notion of the horizon of experience as a problem of historiography, see, Reinhart Koselleck, Futures Past, (Cambridge, MA, 1985). 55. I recognize the criticism that the notion of a horizon arises as overly emphasizing a spatial theory, particularly as it arose as a concept from German philosophy produced in the early to mid twentieth-century, when the expansion of German space or nation was set against competition for markets and resources on the continent. 56. Ricoeur, Ibid., (2005), pp. 310–11. 57. On the relation between conflicts and outright attacks between peasant tenants and landlords from the 1920s through the 1940s, this study has relied on the richly interpretive and well-documented work by Sayyid ‘Ashmawi, Ibid., (2000). I thank Peter Gran for introducing this study to me. 58. Izz al-Din Najib, al-Tawajjuh al-Ijtima‘ i li-l-Fannan al-Misri al-Mu‘asir (The Social Direction in the Contemporary Egyptian Artist), (Cairo: al-Majlis al-A‘la li-l-Thaqafa, 1997), pp. 6–7. 59. Wijdan Ali, Modern Islamic Art: Development and Continuity, (Gainesville, Fla., 1997), pp. xi. 60. Wijdan Ali, Ibid., (1997), p. 2. 61. Among the standard accounts adopting this elite model, are Fikri Batrus and ‘Abd ar-Rahman Sidqi, Fannanu al-Iskandariyya (The Artists of Alexandria) (Cairo: Dar al-Qawmiyya li-l-Tiba‘a wa-l-Nashr, 1964), and Muhammad Sidqi al-Jabakhanji, Tarikh al-Haraka al-Fanniyya fi Misr ila ‘Am 1945 (History of the Artistic Movement in Egypt until 1945). (Cairo: al-Hay’a al-Misriyya al-‘Amma li-l-Kitab, 1986). See, the correspondence

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and memoirs of al-’Aqqad and al-Mazini and their tributes to Mukhtar in Badr al-Din Abu Gazi, al-Mathal Mukhtar (The Sculptor Mukhtar), (Cairo: al-Hay’a al-Misriyya al-‘Amma li-l-Kitab, 1994), pp. 255–8. For insight into al-’Aqqad and al-Mazini’s views on culture and universal liberal claims for education and elite arts, see the collections of their writings in Samir Gharib, Fi Tarikh al-Funun al-Jamila. (In the History of the Fine Arts) (Cairo: Dar al-Sharuq, 1998). I am thankful to articles and comments of Prof. Peter Gran on his analogy of Mahmud Abbas al-Aqqad with Croce, in his book Beyond Eurocentrism and in his ‘An Egyptian Risorgimento?’ al-Ahram Weekly, 1–7 October 1998, Issue No.397. 62. See, Sylvia Naef, A La Recherche d’une Modernité Arabe: L’evolution des Arts Plastiques en Egypte, au Liban et en Irak. (Geneva, 1996). 63. Naef, Ibid., (1996), pp. 36–7. 64. Naef, Ibid., (1996), p. 41. 65. Thus the organization of exhibitions of art by Orientalists and Europeans in Cairo from 1891 to the founding of School of Fine Arts in 1908 is catalogued by Sylvia Naef, Ibid., (1996), pp. 46–8. 66. Naef, cites to ‘la naissance d’un milieu artistique,’ Ibid., (1996), p. 54. 67. Naef, Ibid., (1996), pp. 78–82. On the charge the Surrealists were affluent Trotskyist aristocrats, hanging out as self-styled bohemians in Zamalek, see Naef, Ibid., (1996), p. 33, fn 99, citing to Alexandrian, op. cit. p. 33. 68. Naef, Ibid., (1996), p. 99. 69. See, Liliane Karnouk, Modern Egyptian Art: The Emergence of a National Style. (Cairo, American University Press, 1988) pp. 49–53. 70. On the methodological problem of imposing styles, schools of art, and ideologies over a contextual discussion of the production of art, see T.J. Clark, Image of the People: Courbet and the 1848 Revolution. (Princeton, 1982) pp. 9–20. 71. Wijdan Ali as a member of the royal family of Jordan, is also compromised by her own political agenda for the writing of art history. 72. On the problematic of a new time, or Neuzeit, see, Reinhart Koselleck, ‘“Progress” and “Decline”: An Appendix to the History of Two Concepts,’ in his The Practice of Conceptual History: Timing History, Spacing Concepts, tr. Todd Samuel Presner, et al., (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 2002), pp. 218–35. 73. See Hans-Georg Gadamer, Ibid., (2003), pp 158–9. 74. Rabi’ Hamid Khalifah. Funun al-Qahira fi-l-‘Ahd al-‘Uthmani (The Arts of Cairo in the Ottoman Era) Cairo: Maktabah Nahdat al-Sharq. 1985. On early nineteenth-century Egypt as a productive period and as a type of baroque style in the arts, see Muhammad ‘Izzat Mustafa, Thawrat al-Fann al-Tashkili. (Revolution of the Plastic Arts). Cairo: Dar al-Katib al-‘Arabi li-lTafa‘a wa-l-Nashr, 1996, 15–18. 75. See, Hans-Georg Gadamer, Ibid., (2003), pp. 157–9. 76. An excellent and original study of the application of art training for craft production in colonial Morocco is Hamid Irbouh, Art in the Service of Colonialism: French Art Education in Morocco, 1912–1956. PhD Dissertation, Binghamton University, State University of New York, 2000, and his book, Art in the Service of Colonialism: French Art Education in Morocco, 1912–1956, (London: Taurus Academic Services, 2005).

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77. See, Rushdi Iskandar, et al., Thamanun Sana min al-Fann (Eighty Years of Art), (Cairo: al-Hay’a al-Misriya al-‘Amma li-l-Kitab, 1991), p. 37. 78. For an interpretation of Mahmud Mukhtar and Muhammad Nagi as representatives of intellectuals emerging from a new ‘umda class of privileged landholders in Egypt, see Ostle (1994), p. 185. 79. On the tendency for the intensification of struggle between a land owning class and agricultural labor, see, Frantz Fanon, ‘The Wretched of the Earth,’ in Vincent B. Leitch, ed., The Norton Anthology of Theory and Criticism, (New York, 2001), p. 1581. For the argument of this agrarian struggle as a particular experience of Italian fascism in its corporative solution to the holding onto power by the land proprietary class, see the study on Italian agricultural policy in Fascist Italy by Charles Schmidt, The Plough and the Sword, (New York, 1938). 80. On the notion of the ruwad or pioneers in art of the early twentieth-century in the arts, see, ‘Izz al-Din Nagib, Ibid., (1997), pp. 17–22. On the similar notion of the ruwad, in the Rural Social Center reform movement of the interwar period, see, Johnson, Ibid., (2004), pp. 31–3. 81. On the use of crafts by the early 1940s in the Rural Social Centers administered by Ahmed Hussein, see, Johnson, Ibid., (2004), p. 74. 82. On Muhammad Hussayn’s caricature in al-Musawwar, see, Mohamed Salmawy and Mustafa El-Razaz, Mohamed Mahmoud Khalil (catalogue) (Cairo: Ministry of Culture, 1995), p. 31. 83. Its construction in Upper Egypt also located the dam in the vicinity of Egypt’s poorest region, where the Sai‘di or Upper Egyptian had long been distinguished within Egyptian society as a southerner, and differentiated in manners of speech or dress, and in occupational standing as opposed to the Lower Egyptian. On the notion of the Southern problem and its parallels with the Mezzogiorno debate in Italy, see Peter Gran, Beyond Eurocentrism: A New View of Modern World History, (Syracuse: Syracuse University Press, 1996), p. 104, and The Rise of the Rich: A New View of Modern World History, (Syracuse: Syracuse University Press, 2009). 84. Sun’allah Ibrahim’s writing on the dam, and his relation to other developments in the arts has drawn commentary from ‘Izz al-Din Nagib, Ibid., (1997), pp. 98–9. 2  ART INSTITUTIONS, AGRARIAN CONFLICT AND FASCISM FROM 1908–40 1. The date of Muhammad Nagi’s address is circa 1931, based on his observation of the twenty-three years that had passed since 1908, and King Fu’ad’s visit to Siwa oasis in 1928. Reprinted in Effat Naghi et al., Mohamed Naghi (1888–1956): Un impressioniste égyptien. (Sahafiyin, Cairo: International Press, 1988) pp. 33–7. In French: ‘L’Etat, entrevoyant une fonction sociale réservée aux beaux-arts, s’est engage à conduire les destinées artistiques du pays. Cette politique s’imposait à l’exemple d’une religion d’Etat. … Mais l’instruction lente des masses qui dure depuis 1908 fait dévier l’intéret que nos artistes formés au cours de ces vingt-trois années…’ Translation into English by author; quotation from p. 33.

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2. Muhammad ‘Abd al-Bari, ‘Hawla Insaf al-Fallah Aydan,’ (On the Just Treatment of the Peasant), al-Thaqafa, No. 1, January 1940, pp. 38–41, 44 [with duplicate page numbers 182–5, 188]. 3. Ramsis Yunan, ‘al-Hulm wa-l-Haqiqa’ (The Dream and the Reality). Published in the journal, al-Tatawwur, (Development) No. 3, March 1940, and reprinted posthumously in Ramsis Yunan, Ibid., (1969), pp. 36–42. Translation from Arabic by author. 4. On the Nahdawi paradigm, I have benefited from Peter Gran’s historiography and analysis of the Nahda project as a project of hegemony for the ruling class, including his ‘Rediscovering al-‘Attar,’ al-Ahram Weekly, November 24–30, 2005, No. 770 5. On the rise of the agricultural cooperatives and rural reform movement in Egypt during the interwar years, see, Amy Johnson, (2004), pp. 23–7. 6. Ramsis Yunan, ‘al-Hulm wa-l-Haqiqa’ (The Dream and the Reality), al-Tatawwur (The Development) No. 3, March 1940, pp. 36–42. 7. The phrase used by both ‘Abd al-Bari and Nagi, was al-haraka al-ta‘awuniyya. 8. On the relative position of the university formation in 1908 as maneuvering within the limited space allowed under British colonialism by Egyptian nationalists see, the memoirs of the Egyptian feminist, Huda Sha‘rawi (d. 1947). The date of the 1908 dedication was also prominently engraved above the entrance to the university. Also see, Jacques Berque, Egypt: Imperialism and Revolution. (New York: Praeger Publishers, 1972), p. 254. 9. ‘Abd al-Bari, Ibid. (1940), p. 40. 10. ‘Abd al-Bari, Ibid., (1940), p. 38. 11. On the first coordinated violent attacks in the early 1940s by peasants as a rentier rebellion against landlords in Egypt, see, Sayyid ‘Ashmawi, Ibid., (2000), p. 164. 12. Johnson, Ibid., (2004), pp. 13, and 23–8. See Johnson’s study of Ahmed Hussein, whose reforms on agricultural policy were influential from the interwar period into the Nasser years. 13. The founding of Cairo University with bequests from the aristocratic large landowners is recalled by Egyptian feminist, Huda Sha‘rawi, in her memoirs, Mudhakkirat Huda Sha‘rawi, Ra’ idat al-Mar’a al-‘Arabiyya al-Haditha (Huda Sha‘rawi’s Memoirs: Pioneer of the Modern Arab Woman), (Cairo: Dar al-Hilal, n.d.), pp. 117–18. That the university soon becomes an outlet for women to attend and participate in lectures is apparent from these memoirs. 14. ‘Abd al-Bari, Ibid., (1940), p. 38. 15. See ‘Abd al-Bari, Ibid.. (1940), pp. 39 and 41. 16. See ‘Abd al-Bari, Ibid., (1940), p. 40. Among the solutions for reform that ‘Abd al-Bari alluded to was the founding of a cooperative bank in 1934 to promote the funding of mechanical tools for agriculture, but which he noted was insufficiently funded. p. 41. 17. On the struggle between peasants and landlords in the 1930s, see, ‘Ashmawi, Ibid., (2000), particularly the introductory chapters. 18. Taha Husayn had prepared his draft report on educational reform in Egypt in July, 1938. See, Taha Husayn, The Future of Culture in Egypt. (Cairo: American University in Cairo Press, 1998), p. xiii. The publishing of the report in the next year drew an attack from the Egyptian Surrealist Ramsis

Notes

19.

20.

21. 22. 23. 2 4. 25.

26.

2 7. 28.

29.

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Yunan, for its overly prescriptive and authoritarian mode. See Ramsis Yunan, ‘Mustaqbal al-Thaqafa fi Misr,’ (Future of Culture in Egypt) in al-Kitaba al-Ukhra. Vol. 2, No. 3, December 1992. pp. 15–21 (originally published in al-Tatawwur, circa 1944). See Nagi, ‘Une Politique des Beaux-Arts en Egypte,’ as republished in Naghi et al., Ibid., (1988). Summaries of Gentile and Italian fascist theories on education, and the emphasis on pre-vocational preparation, appeared in Egyptian education journals. See for instance, ‘al-Fashist wa-l-Ta‘lim fi Italiyya’ (‘The Fascist and Education in Italy’), Majallat al-Tarbiyya al-Haditha, (The Magazine of Modern Education), October 1929, Issue No. 1, pp. 304–7; and ‘al-ta’lim al-awali fi italiyya: durus min al-fashist’ (Primary Education in Italy: Studies from the Fascists), Majallat al-Tarbiyya al-Haditha, February 1934, Issue No. 2, pp. 210–15. As an example of the amount of exchange between Egyptian and Italian political and cultural leadership, as early as 1923, the prominent Egyptian feminist, Huda Sha‘rawi, while attending an international conference for women in Rome, recalled three separate addresses or meetings with Benito Mussolini. See Sha‘rawi, Ibid., (n.d.) pp. 250–3 and 259–60. Giovanni Gentile, Origini e Dottrina del Fascism, (Rome, Libreria del Littorio, 1929), pp. 51–4 (Originally written in August 1927). See for instance, Giovanni Gentile, ‘Il Carattere Religioso dell’ Idealismo Italiano,’ in Memorie Italiane e Problemi Della Filosofia e Della Vita, in Opere Complete di Giovanni Gentile,. (Florence: G.C. Sansoni, 1936), p. 339. Naghi ‘Une Politique des Beaux-Arts en Egypte,’ as reprinted in Naghi et al., Ibid., (1988) p. 33 Naghi et al., Ibid., (1988) p. 33. Two useful monographs have been published on Muhammad Nagi’s art career. These are ‘Izz al-Din Najib, ‘Usamat Dawstash and Nabil Faraj, Muhammad Naji, 1888–1956, (Cairo: Naghi Museum and the Ministry of Culture, National Center for Fine Arts, 1995), and Effat Naghi, Christine Roussillon, Alain Roussillon, Ghislaine Alleaume, Olivier Dubois, and Blas Gimeno-Ribelles. Mohamed Naghi (1888–1956): un impressioniste égyptien (Cairo, International Press, 1988). Egyptian interest in parallels in Italian peasant polity is also apparent in the translation by Mustafa Kamil, of Ignazio Silone’s novel written in 1930, Fontamara. This is noted by Sayyid ‘Ashmawi, Ibid., (2000) p. 125. The possible influence of this translation on al-Sharqawi’s own The Earth, (1953), may be inferred in the similarity of both novels’ plots turning around the manipulation of a misworded petition by tenant farmers and peasants to the advantage of middlemen. Nagi et al., Ibid., (1988) p. 33. It is worth noting that the Kulliyyat al-Funun al-Tatbiqiyya , or College of Applied Arts, was also established and operating in 1909 in the Bulaq district of Cairo, and had a section devoted to the decorative and industrial arts. See, Rushdi Iskandar and Kama al-Mallakh, Thamanun Sana min al-Fann (Eighty Years of Art), (Cairo: al-Hay’a al-Misriyya al-‘Amma li-l-Kitab, 1991), p. 59. See for example, Rushdi Iskandar and Kamal al-Mallakh, Khamsun Sana min al-Fann, (Fifty Years of Art), (Cairo, Dar al-Mu’araf, 1964), pp. 3–4.

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3 0. Iskandar and al-Mallakh, Ibid., (1964) p. 4. t 31. Iskandar and al-Mallakh, Thamanun Sana min al-Fann (Eighty Years of Art), (1991) pp. 34–6. An original certificate of the beylical title issued to Muhammad Nagi is at the Muhammad Nagi Museum. 32. Yusuf Kamil, (1891–1971), the painter, is not to be confused with Prince Yusuf Kamal, (d. 1911), the aristocrat and benefactor of the School of Fine Arts, where the painter graduated and later taught. See, Badr al-Din Abu Ghazi, Yusuf Kamil, (Cairo: al-Hay’a al-Misriyya al-‘Amma li-l-Kitab, 1982), p. 30. 33. Iskandar and al-Mallakh, Ibid., (1991), pp. 16–17. 34. See, Iskandar and al-Mallakh, Ibid., (1991), p. 17. By 1952, after the revolutionary coup, the royalist prefix had been dropped and renamed more simply as Kulliyyat al-Funun al-Jamila. Thereafter it was absorbed into the Ministry of Education emphasizing its expanded role as center of training art teachers, which was underscored by its relocation to a new art education center in Helwan in October 1975. 35. Prominent examples of portraits by Ahmad Sabri and other members of Egyptian high society from this interwar period are on permanent display at the Museum of Modern Art at the Honnager Opera Center art complex in Cairo. 36. See Badr al-Din Abu Ghazi, Yusuf Kamil, (Cairo: al-Hay’a al-Misriyya al-‘Amma li-l-Kitab, 1982), p. 8. 37. Muhammad Nagi, ‘Une Politique des Beaux-Arts en Egypte’ in Naghi et al., (1988), p. 33. 38. His sister, Effat Naghi (usual spelling in French transliteration; see Transliteration, p. xi) is also a major figure in Egyptian painting, and has a museum dedicated to her works which opened in 2001 in Cairo and is administered by Raghib Iskandar. Among biographical essays on her life, see, ‘Izz al-Din Najib, Ibid., (2000), pp. 97–104. 39. See, Yunan Labib Rizk, ‘Fascist Celebration,’ on the diplomatic initia tives with Italian fascist authorities in obtaining support for financing and commissioning public sculptures in Alexandria. In another direction it is worth noting that the Egyptian Surrealist, Georges Henein was the son of the Egyptian consul to Rome during this interwar period. 40. See the introduction by Nabil Faraj ed., Mathaf al-Fannan Muhammad Nagi, (Museum of the Artist Muhammad Naji, 1888–1956 ), (Cairo, Ministry of Culture. n.d., circa 1995). 41. For the early biography of Nagi, see Nabil Faraj, Ibid., introductory pages, and Effat Naghi et al., Mohamed Naghi (1888–1956): un impressioniste egyptien (Muhammad Naghi, 1888–1956: An Egyptian Impressionist), Sahafiyin, Cairo: International Press, 1988, pp. 4–24. Presumably Rashid Kamal was commander during the 1874–1875 war, but this is not specified in this source. 42. One of Nagi’s paintings from 1918, Paysage en Giverney, is of a rural pastoral scene in an impressionist style, and is reproduced in Naghi et al., Ibid., (1988). 43. Nagi’s choice to move to Giverney and to study under Monet, resonates through a number of Egyptian commentaries, including al-Jabakhanji, Tarikh al-Haraka al-Fanniyya fi Misr ila ‘Am 1945 (History of the Artistic Movement in Egypt until 1945), p. 56. Soon after Nagi’s death, Ramsis

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Yunan, wrote an essay, acknowledging Nagi’s role in a transformation of the range of artistic production in Egypt. Ramsis Yunan, ‘Hawla Fann Nagi’ (On the Art of Nagi), al-Majallah, July 1957. Reprinted in Yunan, Ibid., (1969) pp. 47–55. 4 4. In his July 1957 essay, ‘Hawla Fann Nagi’ (On the Art of Nagi) in al-Majallah, Ramsis Yunan described the title of Nagi’s painting as Nahdat Misr (Renaissance of Egypt). Thus, both Nagi and Mukhtar’s titles are essentially interchangeable in Egyptian critical parlance. 45. According to Karnouk, Mukhtar’s sculpture, Egyptian Renaissance, was completed over a 9 year period from 1919 to 1928, see Modern Egyptian Art, (Cairo, American University in Cairo Press, 1988), p. 14. However, from Mukhtar’s own interview in 1927, he first conceived of the idea while in Paris in 1920, and did not begin the actual work on the full scale sculpture until his return to Egypt circa 1922. Al-Jabakhanji and others have noted that the initial model for the sculpture shown in Paris in 1920 was a small version of the larger project which was completed with state funding in 1928. 46. See ‘Izz al-Din Najib et al, Ibid., (1995). This is apparently the same mural housed at the Senate in Cairo, and given a later date of 1935, by Liliane Karnouk, in Modern Egyptian Art, (Cairo, 1988), p. 8. 47. Among the members of the parliament, was ‘Atribi Pasha, (1878–1941), a major landowner and the head of the governate of Daqahliya province, who had first been elected to the al-Shoura assembly in 1911. See Malak Zaalouk, al-Tarikh al-Ijtima‘ i li-Qarya Misriyya: Ikhtab, Markaz Aja, Muhafizat al-Daqahliya. (The Social History in an Egyptian village: Ikhtab, Markaz Aja, Daqahliya Province), (Cairo: Markaz Aja. Muhafiza al-Daqahliya, 1995), p. 70. 48. See the newspaper review by Amin al-Rafa‘a, ‘al-’Umma wa Nahdat Misr’ (The Nation and Renaissance of Egypt), al-Akhbar, July 28, 1920, reprinted in Badr al-Din ‘Abu Gazi, Ibid., (1994), p. 148. 49. See al-Balagh, January 18, 1928, as reprinted in Badr al-Din ‘Abu Ghazi, Ibid., (1994), pp. 149–52. Nahdat Misr was raised in front of Cairo Station in May, 1928. After the coup in 1952, the sculpture’s Wafdist symbolism was no longer useful and in 1954 it was moved across the Nile to the outer gates of Cairo University, and replaced with a mammoth sculpture antiquity of Ramsis II which remained at the plaza until 2006, when it was claimed by the Ministry of Culture and Tourism and removed to the Pyramids mass tourist complex in Giza. For a contemporary reaction to the replacing of the statue of Kitchener with the statue of Ramses II at the Bab al-Hadid Square, see the essay by the sculptor, Muhammad Nagi, ‘Ramses Errant,’ L’Egypte nouvelle, November 26, 1954, as reprinted in Naghi et al., Mohamed Naghi (1888– 1956): un impressioniste Égyptien. (Sahafiyin, Cairo: International Press), pp. 41–2. 50. Mukhtar in the 1927 interview, in Badr al-Din Abu Ghazi, Ibid., (1994) p. 150. 51. A photograph of the sculpture in its final stages of completion, shows the sculptor Mukhtar on scaffolding with a tool in hand, while a team of at least six workers are shown below sanding down the finish of the sculpture at the lower levels. See Rushdi Iskandar, et al., Thamanun Sana min al-Fann (Eighty Years of Art), Cairo: al-Hay’a al-Misriyya al-’Amma li-l-Kitab, 1991, p. 23.

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52. In fact, for a number of years after Mukhtar’s early death, Huda Sha‘rawi was a judge on the committee for the annual Mukhtar sculpture prize. See, Rushdi Iskandar et al., Thamanun Sana min al-Fann (Eighty Years of Art), Cairo: al-Hay’a al-Misriyya al-’Amma li-l-Kitab, 1991, p. 25. It is worth noting that this sculpture has even today remained a symbol and staging point for demonstrations in favor of women’s rights. 53. See Mukhtar’s interview in Abu Ghazi, (1994) p. 150. 54. These poems from 1926 to 1928, by Ahmad Zaki Abu Shadi, and Muhammad ‘Abd al-Ghani Hasan, are collected by Abu Ghazi, (1994), pp. 174–86. Shortly before his death in 1927, Sa‘ad Zaghlul had been photographed alongside the nearly completed sculpture. See the reprint of the photograph in Karnouk, Ibid., p. 14. The caption indicates the location as Cairo University, but the sculpture was not actually placed there until 1954. 55. See al-Mazini, ‘Abu al-Hul wa Maththal Mukhtar’ (The Sphinx and the sculptor Mukhtar), in al-Siyasa al-Usbu‘ iyya , June 9, 1928, as reprinted in Abu Ghazi, Ibid., (1994), pp. 160–7. 56. Mukhtar’s comments in his 1927 interview, in Abu Ghazi (1994), pp. 151–2. The influence of the Italian Renaissance on Muhammad Nagi’s formal art training in Italy is also commonly emphasized. 57. See the interview of Mukhtar by al-Mazzini, Ibid., reprinted in Abu Ghazi, (1994), p. 160–7 58. Muhammad Nagi, ‘Une Politique des Beaux-Arts en Egypte,’ (circa 1931), in E. Naghi et al, Ibid., (1988) pp. 33–7. 59. Ibid., (1988). 60. Yunan Labib Rizk, ‘Statues that Divide,’ al-Ahram Weekly, April 6–12, 2006, No. 789. 61. On the considerable efforts made by the royal family in late 1938 to sponsor public sculptures and the resistance to their projects, see the useful research on this by Yunan Labib Rizk, ‘Fascist Celebrations,’ in al-Ahram Weekly, 31 August–6 September 2006, No. 810, and his citation to al-Ahram, December 5, 1938. Rizk reports on the difficulties faced in erecting a statue of Khedive Ismail and suggests its resistance was part of a larger rivalry that culminated in the replacement of the al-Nahhas government in 1937, and the rise of King Faruq during the Second World War as a supporter of militant fascism. 62. For instance, in early 1951 the sculptor Fathi Mahmud was commissioned to create a large scale sculpture of King Fu’ad, but it was apparently never unveiled. See, al-Ahram, March 28, 1951. 63. Sadeq Henein who was Coptic and from a family with holdings in industry, was the father of the Egyptian Surrealist poet and philosopher, Georges Henein. See, Alexandrian, Georges Henein, (Paris: Seghers), 1981, p. 10. 64. See Muhammad Sidqi al-Jabakhanji, Tarikh al-Haraka al-Fanniyya fi Misr ila ‘Am 1945, (History of the Artistic Movement in Egypt until 1945), (Cairo, 1986), p. 75. For Egyptians, during the interwar period, relations with Italy proved easier and more cooperative than those with Germany. Despite the dual appointment of Sayyid Ahmad Munsib as ambassador to both Italy and Germany, following the German invasion of Poland in 1939, the Nazi government ordered the detention of all Egyptians in retaliation for Britain’s opposition to the invasion. According to al-Jabakhanji, in the course of this

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detention, it was to Italian diplomats that the Egyptians eventually appealed successfully for intercession in obtaining their release. 65. See, al-Jabakhanji, (1986) p. 44. 66. On Muhammad Hassan’s sculpture of King Fu’ad, see, the anonymous article, ‘Jawla fi Ma‘rad al-Qahira al-‘Ishrin,’ (A Trip to the Twentieth Cairo Exhibition), al-Thaqafa, May 1940, No. 72, p. 34. 67. See the article, ‘al-Ta‘lim al-Ula fi Italiya,’ (Primary Education in Italy), Majallat al-Tarbiyya al-Haditha, (The Magazine of Modern Education) No. 3, February 1934, pp. 210–15. 68. See the Report of the Committee of Education, ‘An al-Mashakil al-Ta‘ limiyya fi-l-Rif al-Misri,’ (On the Problems of Education in the Egyptian Countryside,’ Majallat al-Tarbiyya al-Haditha, (The Magazine of Modern Education) No. 1, October 1946, pp. 227–37. 69. See, Yunan Labib Rizk, in al-Ahram Weekly, March 1–7, 2001, No. 523. Rizk has summarized Ahmad Fahmi ‘Amrusi, Muhadara fi Tarbiyyat al-Dhawq al-Salim wa-’Athar al-Funun al-Jamila fiha. (Lecture toward an education of taste and the influences of the fine arts on it) (Cairo: Matba‘at al-Nahda, 1925). Al-Ahram’s coverage of the education convention held at the American University in Cairo, in 1925 indicates ‘Amrusi was a proponent of exposing children to drawing landscapes of nature. The class of large landowners who were in power upheld landscape as their form and subject right into the 1950s. 70. Yunan Labib Rizk, Ibid., (2001). 71. See the reproduction of the announcement for the first art showing as published in the magazine, al-’Adab wa-l-Tamthil, in Ahmad al-Mughazi, al-Sihafa al-Fanniyya fi Misr: Nash’atuha wa Tatawwuruha min al-Hamla al-Faransiyya, 1798 ila Misr al-Dusturiyyya, 1924, (Artistic Journalism in Egypt: Its Inception and its Evolution from the French Expedition, 1798, to Constitutional Egypt, 1924), (Cairo: al-Hay’a al-Misriyya al-‘Amma li-lKitab, 1978), Vol. 1, p. 385. 72. See for instance the issues of the Surrealist periodical al-Tatawwur, in early 1940. 73. See, al-Mughazi, Ibid., (1978) Vol. 1, pp. 380–90. 74. On the ability of the local landowning families to keep control of regional politics after the 1952 Egyptian Revolution, see, Malak Zaalouk, al-Tarikh al-Ijtima‘ i li-Qarya Misriyya (Social History of an Egyptian Village). Cairo: 1995. 75. On the Nahdawi (or Renaissance Man) paradigm, see Peter Gran, ‘The Popular uses of Muhammad Ali,’ in al-Ahram Weekly, November 10–16, 2005. 76. See, Samah Selim, The Divided Subject: Narrative Enactments of the Nation in the Egyptian Village Novel, PhD Dissertation, Columbia University, 1997, p. 46. 77. See, ‘Abbas Mahmud al-‘Aqqad, Ana. (Cairo: Kitab al-Hilal, 1964) p. 53. On Muhammad Husayn Haykal’s similar view on the permanence and ongoing influence of pharaonic history on the Nile valley, see the comments of Samah Selim, Ibid., (1997), pp. 50–1, quoting from Haykal’s Thawrat al-’Adab (Revolution of Literature) 78. Al-Sharuni, Ibid., pp. 23–4.

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79. This is also resonant of the classification of intellectuals by Gramsci of organic intellectuals who are distinguishable from traditional intellectuals produced in agrarian economies or regions with a reliance on a clergy and small bureaucracy. 80. Al-Sharuni, Ibid., p. 24. 81. Al-Sharuni, Ibid., p. 26. Gurgi’s role in supporting and writing a preface to Yunan’s essay in a catalogue for an art exhibition is also noted by Samir Gharib, al-Surrialiya fi Misr, (1986), p. 18. 82. See, Badr al-Din Abu Ghazi, Ibid., (1994), for reprinting of two of Mukhtar’s reports, Taqrir bi-Sha’n Maqtiniat al-Dawla al-Fanniyya, (Report on matter of the acquisition of the national arts), p. 202 and his Taqrir bi-Sha’n Insha’ Madrasa ‘Aliyya li-l-Funun al-Jamila. (Report on the establishment of an advanced school for the fine arts), November 28, 1927, pp. 205–9. 83. Letter from Mahmud Mukhtar to head of the Committee of Fine Arts, January 13, 1928, reprinted in Abu Ghazi, al-Muthal Mukhtar, p. 203. 84. See articles on youth camps in al-Majallat al-Tarbiyya al-Haditha, (Magazine of Modern Education), October, 1929, Issue No. 1. 85. On the origins of the youth movements among the Muslim Brothers, see among others, Richard Mitchell, The Society of the Muslim Brothers, (Oxford University Press, 1993), pp. 5–7, and 200–1. 86. ‘An al-Mashakil al-Ta‘ limiyya fi-l-Rif al-Misri’ (Report of the committee of education on the pedagogical problems in the Egyptian countryside) Majallat al-Tarbiyya al-Haditha, October 1946, No. 1, pp. 227–37. 87. Al-Jabakhanji, Ibid., (1986) p. 78. 88. Iskandar et al., Ibid., (1991) p. 143. 89. The critical attack on Husayn’s book by the Egyptian Surrealist Ramsis Yunan, is noteworthy for its challenge to Husayn’s exclusive definition of culture as a reserve for the educated elite. Yunan’s review from 1940 as it appeared in al-Tatawwur is reprinted in al-Kitaba al-Ukhra, Book No. 3, December 1992, pp 15–21. 90. In fact, taken as a whole, African attempts at state formation and resistance to colonial invasions were a predominant and recurring phenomenon throughout much of the continent, as in Shaka Zulu’s defeat of the British at Isandhlwanana in Southern Africa, the Mahdist defeat of the AngloEgyptian forces at Khartoum, and Sanusi resistance to the French in Saharan Africa. See Teshale Tibebu, The Making of Modern Ethiopia 1896–1974, (Lawrenceville, N.J., 1995) pp. 25–30. From the mid-nineteenth century the Sanusiya were the effective governing power of the Libyan hinterlands and held off French expansion leading up to the 1902 war between the Sanusiya and the French over Chad. A parallel but related form of the Sanusiya movement arose in the Mahdist movement in the Sudan after Egypt’s defeat by the Ethiopia in 1875–1876. Together, these four distinct but interrelated separate states learned their lessons from the series of border skirmishes and battles, and threatened the colonial strategies of the French, British and Italians for the region, with their possibility for formation of their own cooperative agreements. In Libya and its hinterlands, the Sanusiya movement had operated as a quasi-independent state with official ties and strong diplomatic relations with the Ottoman governments up until the Italian

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invasion of 1911. See, Mahmood Ahmad Ghazi, The Sanusiyya Movement of North Africa: An Analytical Study. (Islamabad: Shariah Academy, 2001), pp. 115–23. 91. On Egyptian and Ethiopian rivalry along the Sudan and Eritrean borderlands, see, G. Sanderson, ‘The European partition of Africa: Origins and dynamics,’ in Roland Oliver and G. N. Sanderson, eds., The Cambridge History of Africa. Volume 6 from 1870 to 1905, (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1985), p. 107. On the Sanusiya, and the expansive networks of social and political institutions in Northeast Africa, see Abdumola El Horeir, Social and Economic Transformations in the Libyan Hinterland during the Second Half of the Nineteenth Century. PhD Dissertation, University of California Los Angeles, 1981. 92. Sanderson, ‘The European Partition of Africa: Origins and Dynamics,’ p. 107. 93. Sanderson, Ibid., (1985) pp. 39, 107–8. Ismail’s maneuvers into the Sudan were part of a larger plan of Egyptian strategy, and it was only later after Egyptian expansion into Ethiopia was repelled by the Ethiopians in 1875 and 1876, that the Mahdist power in the Sudan arose as a third rival. The ability of Mahdists to alternate between border skirmishes and allegiances with the Ethiopians during the 1880s is reflective of alliances aimed at stemming the occupations by the Italian, French and British into the Red Sea territories and ports. Diplomacy between the Mahdists and Ethiopia fell apart in the early 1890s. 94. Sanderson, Ibid., (1985) p. 633. 95. See Effat Naghi et al., Ibid., (1988) pp. 56–9. Prior to his posting to Ethiopia Nagi had been posted as an ambassador to Brazil. 96. See, Samir Gharib, A Hundred Years of Fine Arts in Egypt, (Cairo: Prism Art Series No. 7, 1998), p. 14. One of the first women painters in Alexandria, Effat Nagui, the sister of the artist Muhammad Nagi, deployed charms and talismans in her folk subjects There are few publications on her work, however a few of her paintings are on exhibit at the Museum of Modern Art in Cairo, and a new museum featuring her work opened in Cairo in 2001, under the direction of Raghib Iskandar. On the management of these museums under the auspices of the Ministry of Agriculture, See, Gihan Shahine, ‘Thanking Princes Fatima,’ al-Ahram Weekly, June 8–14, 2000, No. 485, on-line edition, http://weekly.ahram.org.eg/2000/485/ feat2.htm. 97. Richard Caulk, ‘Ethopia and the Horn,’ in A.D. Roberts, ed., The Cambridge History of Africa, Volume 7: From 1906 to 1940, (Cambridge, U.K., 1990), p. 714. 98. Chris Prouty and Eugene Rosenfeld, Historical Dictionary of Ethiopia and Eritrea (London, 1994), p. 93. 99. Prouty and Rosenfeld, Ibid., (1994), p. 102. 100. Caulk, ‘Ethiopia and the Horn,’ pp. 732–3, and 714–15. 101. See the photo of the Addis Ababa studio, reproduced in Effat Naghi et al., Mohamed Naghi (1888-1956): un impressioniste egyptien (Muhammad Nagi: An Egyptian Impressionist), Sahafiyin, Cairo: International Press (1988), p. 67.

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102. On the significance of the octagonal form in Ethiopian church architecture as a reference to the reconstruction of a new Jerusalem see Marilyn E. Heldman, ‘Architectural Symbolism, Sacred Geography and the Ethiopian Church,’ Journal of Religion in Africa, Vol. 22, Fasc. 3. (Aug., 1992), pp. 222–41. 103. Mia, Fuller. ‘Wherever You Go, There You Are: Fascist Plans for the Colonial City of Addis Ababa and the Colonizing Suburb of EUR ‘42,’ Journal of Contemporary History, Vol. 31, No. 2, Special Issue: The Aesthetics of Fascism, (Apr., 1996), pp. 397–418. 104. Norman Bentwich, ‘Ethiopia Today,’ International Affairs (Royal Institute of International Affairs 1944–), Vol. 20, No. 4. (Oct., 1944), pp. 509–18. 105. al-Risala, 24 December 1934. 106. Haggai Erlich, The Cross and the River: Ethiopia, Egypt and the Nile. (London: Lynne Rienner, 2002), p. 104. 107. See, Muhammad Hassan al-Zayyat, ‘Qadaya al-Habasha: Qadiyat al-Sharq wa Qadiyat al-Hurriya,’ (The Case of Ethiopia) al-Risala, No. 109, August 5, 1935, pp. 1241–2. 108. Taha Basha al-Hashami, ‘Ma‘rakat ‘Aduwa,’ (The Battle of Adowa), al-Risala, No. 127, October 28, 1935, pp. 4, 11 and November 18, 1935, and December 1935, pp. 1981–2. 109. Muhammad Nagi, ‘al-Ittijahat al-Fanniyya al-Haditha’ (The Directions of the Modern Art). al-Risala, No. 788, August 9, 1948, pp. 902–3. Even on the eve of the 1952 revolution, Ethiopian requests for aid were being received by the head shaykhs at al-Azhar for help in sending four students to attend the prestigious college at al-Azhar, which suggests the continuation of support and multilateral exchanges among African nations. See, al-Ahram, January 21, 1951, p. 3. 110. See ‘Izz al-Din Najib et al., Ibid., (1997) p. 47. Ramsis Yunan later wrote of Nagi’s Ethiopian trip and paintings as romanticism. Ramsis Yunan, ‘Hawla Fann Nagi,’ 47–55. Originally published July 1957, Al-Majallah and reprinted in Dirasat fi-l-fann, (Cairo, 1969), p. 53. 111. The dating and titling of this painting has varying attributions. Liliane Karnouk, (1988), color plate no. 9, identifies it as The Village and dates it as 1928. However, the catalogue raisonnée Muhammad Nagy, compiled by the Nagy Museum, entitles it as The Family of the Artist in the Country and attributes it to the 1940s, (p. 128). See Effat Naghi, et al., Mohamed Naghi (1888–1956): un impressioniste égyptien (Muhammad Nagi (1888–1956): an Egyptian Impressionist), Sahafiyin, Cairo: International Press, 1988 (p. 128). 112. The date of 1935 is attributed and a reproduction appears in Effat Nagui, Marsam Naji bi-l-Haram, (Nagi’s Studio in ther Haram Neighborhood) (Cairo, Ministry of Culture / Nagy Museum, circa 1990) p. 72. 113. In chapter three I discuss al-Gazzar’s critical reaction to material crises in the late 1940s with his representation of the sick and the hungry. 114. See the reproduction of Muhammad Nagi’s mural (The School of Alexandria) in Fakry Butrus and ‘Abd al-Rahman Sidqi, Fannanu al-Iskandariyya, (Artists of Alexandria) (Cairo: Dar al-Qawmiyya li-l-Tiba‘a wa-l-Nashr, 1964) after page 142.

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115. Muhammad Nagi, ‘al-Ittijahat al-Fanniyya al-Haditha’, (Directions of the Modern Artistic), originally appeared in the magazine, al-Risala, No. 788, February 9, 1948, and is reprinted in Samir Gharib, Ibid., (1998), pp. 188–90. 116. Muhammad Nagi, in Naghi and Roussillon (1988) p. 58 117. The article originally appeared in the magazine, al-Risala, No. 788, February 9, 1948, and is reprinted in Samir Gharib, Ibid., (1998), pp. 188–90. 118. Ibid., Nagi in Naghi and Roussillon (1988), p. 58 119. Muhammad Nagi, Ibid., in Naghi and Roussillon (1988) pp. 188–90. 120. See, Rushdi Iskandar, et al., Thamanun Sana min al-Fann, (Eighty Years of Art), p. 37. Hassan’s own political position was however also aligned with the state. In 1940, he had produced and exhibited a half bust sculpture of the late King Fu’ad in full military dress. See al-Thaqafa, No. 72, May 14, 1940, p. 34 121. However Hassan’s critique of Khalil, was far from an attack on the establishment, as in 1940. As a marker of his support for the conservative monarchy, and as an example of the split alliances in the arts, Muhammad Hassan produced a bronze sculpture of King Fu’ad in full military uniform for exhibition at the Tenth Cairo Exhibition. al-Thaqafa, No. 72, May 14, 1940, p 34. 122. Rushdi Iskandar, et al, (1991) p. 40. 123. Two of Mansur Faraj’s brick socialist realist sculptures in brick may be seen at the inside doorways of the Museum of Modern Art in Cairo. 124. See, ‘Abbas Mahmud al-‘Aqqad , ‘bi-l-Dharuriyya Jiddan,’ (What is Needed) al-Risala April 24, 1937 no. 23. Reprinted in Samir Gharib, Ibid., (1998), pp. 142–7. 125. A useful discussion on regional conflicts, and the broader conflict in Egypt between a Mediterranean position and an intraregional position, and the problem of the Egyptian South, as well as on the conflict between Sufism and Sunni and the rise of Ash‘arism in mid-19th century Egypt, is the article by Peter Gran, ‘Quest for a Historical Interpretation of the Life of Shaykh al-Azhar, Ibrahim al-Bajuri, ca. (1784–1860) – An Agenda Article,’ in Raouf Abbas, ed. Reform or Modernization?: Egypt under Muhammad Ali. Papers of the Symposium organized by the Egyptian Society of Historical Studies, March 9–11, 1999. (Cairo, Madbouli, 2000), pp. 59–92. By 1935 Egyptian criticism of the Italian invasion of Ethiopia centered on the imperialist nature of the aggression and compared it with British imperialism against Egypt. On the attack against the Italian invasion as imperialism, see al-Zayyat, al-Risala, No. 109, August 5, 1935, pp. 1241–2 126. On the art career of Muhammad Nagi, see, Naghi and Roussillon, Ibid., (1988). Another useful work is Su‘ad al-Khadim, al-Hayat al-Sha‘biyya fi Rusum Naji. (Folklife in Naji’s Drawings), (Cairo: al-Hay’a al-Misriyya al-‘Amma li-l-Kitab, 1993.) 127. On the brief art career of the Upper Egyptian, Nahmia Sa‘ad, (1912–1945), see Fathi Ahmad, Fann al-Jirafik al-Misri, (Egyptian Graphic Art), (Cairo: al-Hay’a al-Misriya al-‘Amma lil-Kitab, 1985) pp. 48–57, which includes a brief biography and mention of his work with Muhammad Nagi, and reproductions of his pen and ink drawings of harvest scenes. Also see, ‘Izz al-Din Najib, Ibid., (2000), pp. 22–9, and which also includes a rare color reproduction of his nude painting, Ba‘ d al-Hammam, (After the Bath). Unfortunately neither text dates the art works were reproduced.

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1 28. Rushdi Iskandar, et al, Ibid., (1991) p. 25. 129. A photograph of Khalil at the Vichy Club appears in the catalogue by Mohamed Salmawy and Mustafa El-Razaz, Mohamad Mahmoud Khalil, (Cairo: Ministry of Culture, 1995), p. 36. Khalil’s open disdain for Egyptian art is poignantly recalled by the artist Ahmad Sabry to whom Khalil openly told of his disdain for Egyptian art and preference to only purchase European art. Salmawy and El-Razaz, Ibid., (1995), p. 32. 130. One of the last exhibitions of Jam‘ iya Muhibba al-Funun al-Jamila, (The Art Appreciation Society) was at the Salon of Cairo in March, 1951, attended by its president, Muhammad Mahmud Khalil Bek. See, al-Ahram, March 30, 1951, p. 3. 131. The annual women’s salons in Cairo were annual and periodic events that received notable coverage in the pages of the weekly society magazine al-Musawwar. 132. This painting is captioned as The Village and reproduced in Karnouk, Modern Egyptian Art, plate 9. It was however given a date of the 1940s and entitled Nagi Family at his Father’s Country Estate, on the Muhammad Nagi Museum website, http://www.sis.gov.eg/nagi/html/index.htm (accessed October 15, 2007), which was active during the period 2003–2005. 133. Professor Donald Reid, who once rented a house from the Nagis, shared with me, that Mrs. Nagi was Jewish, an identity that the Nagis, after 1948, tried to keep from being widely known. 134. See, Sayyid Ashmawi, Ibid., (2000), p. 58. 135. Jean and Simone Lacouture, Egypt in Transition. Tr. Francis Scarfe. (New York, 1958), p. 125. 136. The collapse of the old landlord regime’s hold, may be seen in the choice of exile to Paris, by the art magnate and Sidqi regime politician, Mahmud Khalil. See his obituary notice in al-Ahram, December 12, 1953, page 11. 137. Sarane Alexandrian, Georges Henein, (Paris: Editions Senghers, 1981), pp. 57–8. 138. Amin’s introduction to the exhibition, written in 1948, is instructive as to the hermeneutics of modern aesthetic discourse in Egypt. The exhibition at the YMCA and therefore the subsequent arrest of al-Gazzar and Amin was dated as 1949 by Aimé Azar, La Peinture moderne en Egypte (Cairo,1961), p. 81. This essay has been excerpted and republished by Subhi al-Sharuni, ‘Abd al-Hadi al-Gazzar, (Cairo: al-Dar al-Qawmiyya li-l-Tiba‘a wa-l-Nashr, 1966), pp. 9–10, and republished and translated in Alain and Christine Roussillon, eds., Abdel Hadi al-Gazzar: Une Peinture Égyptienne. (Cairo, 1990), pp. 158–9 and 166–7. 139. See, Subhi Sharuni, ‘Abd al-Hadi al-Gazzar. 140. Nagi’s address at the Venice Biennale, ‘al-Ittijahat al-Fanniyya al-Haditha,’ (The New Directions in Modern Art) was published in al-Risala, August 9, 1948, No. 788, pp. 902–3. 141. See Anwar al-Ma‘dawi, Jawla fi Ma‘rad al-Fann al-Itali, (A Tour of the Italian Art Exhibit) al-Risala No. 823, April 11, 1949, reprinted in Samir Gharib, Ibid., (1995), pp. 103–6. 142. See, Muhammad Nagi’s address to the Congrès des critiques d’Art, in Rome, Italy, June, 1948, reprinted in Naghi, and Roussillon, (1988) pp. 41–4.

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143. This sculpture of King Fu’ad, which stood 48 feet high, was by the sculptor, Fathi Mahmud, and featured in a prominent photograph on the front page of the newspaper, al-Ahram, March 28, 1951. It was to be placed at the main square of the train station in Alexandria. I have found no reference to the final disposition of this massive sculpture in the aftermath of the revolutionary coup and general uprisings during the next year. 144. Ramsis Yunan, ‘Alam Mahmud Sa‘ id (World of Mahmud Sa‘id), al-Majallah, May 1964, reprinted in Yunan (1969), pp. 202–7. 145. On how the Art Appreciation Society survived the 1952 Egyptian Revolution and relocated the arrangements of exhibition under the auspices of the Society of Agriculture (al-Jama‘iyya al-Zira‘iyya), and to another commercial building for commodities, see Rushdi Iskandar, et al., Khamsun Sana min al-Fann (Fifty Years of the Art), Cairo: Dar al-Mu’araf bi misr, (1962) p. 111. This collaboration between art and agricultural institutions is part of a longer trend in power sharing in the cultural milieu. In the reorganization of Egyptian art museums after 2001, a number of the villas owned by the prominent Egyptian painters, Mahmud Sa‘id and Muhammad Nagi, were converted into museums under cooperative arrangements between the Ministries Agriculture and Culture. 3  ART IN EGYPTIAN CIVIL SOCIETY, 1938–51 1. Ramsis Yunan, ‘Ghayat al-Rassam al-‘Asri’ (The Aim of the Contemporary Artist), in Yunan, (1969) pp. 16–30. Translation from the Arabic by author. 2. Kamil al-Tilmisani, ‘al-Fann al-Misri wa-l-Mujtama‘ al-Hadir’ (Egyptian Art and the Present Society), as reprinted in Gharib, Ibid., (1986), p. 168, and fn. 271. The source given by Gharib is al-Majalla al-Jadida, No. 1, February 1942, but he has also cited in footnotes 269 and 270, the covers of the catalogue of the Art and Liberty Exhibition of March 1941. 3. Jacques Berque, (1967) p. 561. Also, see the photograph of Khalil opening parliament on November 19, 1938, as reprinted in Mohamed Salmawy and Mustafa El-Razzaz, (1995), p. 11. 4. My thanks to the staff of the Mahmud Khalil Museum library, in Cairo, who noted that Muhammad Hasan’s caricature, ‘Dictature des Beaux-Arts,’ had been published in the late 1930s in al-Musawwar, the pictorial society photographic magazine. I have been unable to find the published version of this caricature in issues I reviewed of al-Musawwar; it is reprinted, in the appendix, to Rushdi Iskandar and Kamal al-Mallakh, Khamsun Sana min al-Fann, (Fifty Years of Art) (Cairo: Dar al-Mu‘arif bi Misr, 1962). The date of 1939 is legible in this reproduction. 5. See for instance, the cover article ‘Mata‘ im al-Aghniya’, (Food for the Rich) by the literary figure, ‘Abbas Mahmud al-‘Aqqad, in al-Risala, No. 319, August 14, 1939, pp. 1575–1576. 6. See the essay by Dr. Zaki Muhammad Hasan, ‘al-Angelus,’ (The Angelus), in al-Thaqafa, May 1939, No. 21, pp. 24–5. Hasan obtained a doctorate in literature from the University of Paris, and had published the first volume of his al-Fann al-Islami fi Misr. (The Islamic Art in Egypt) (Cairo: Matba‘a Dar al-Kutub al-Misriyya, 1935), a work in Arabic which preceded Creswell’s Muslim Architecture in Egypt.

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7. On the nature of farm labor struggles in this period, I have relied on Sayyid Ashmawi, (2000). On the specific issue of work hours, see Sayyid Qutb, Ma‘rakat al-Islam wa-l-Ra’smaliyya, (The Battle of Islam and Capitalism) (Cairo: Dar al-sharuq). 1975, p. 46. (Originally published in 1951). On Egyptian legislation on wages and compensation in this period, see, Zakariya Suliman Biyumi, Qadaya al-Fallah fi-l-Barliman al-Misri, (Cases of the Peasant in the Egyptian Parliament, 1924–1936), (Cairo: al-Hay’a al-Misriyya al-‘Amma li-l-Kitab, 1987), pp. 28–34. 8. See Mohamed Salmawy and Mustafa El-Razaz, Mohamed Mahmoud Khalil. (Cairo: The Museum of Mohamed Mahmoud Khalil et sa femme and the Ministry of Culture, 1995), color plates. 9. See the revealing essays by Yunan Labib Rizk, al-Ahram Weekly, 2005, No. 748, on this phenomenon as first covered in an al-Ahram editorial on July 11, 1936, on ‘Shirt colours in Egypt and the need for group organization.’ According to Rizk, rivalries over the phenomenon, led the National Party leader, Hafez Ramadan, to claim he was the unrecognized father of the Blue Shirts. His own association, The Falcons, founded in 1932, based itself around youth fitness, and chose the falcon for a number of reasons, including its use in Ancient Egyptian art as part of its double crown representing Upper Egypt and Lower Egypt. 10. Jacques Berque, (1967) p. 553, fn. 3. 11. Yusuf Hamam, ‘al-Funun al-Yawmiyya,’ (Arts of the Everyday) al-Thaqafa, No. 89, September 10, 1940, pp. 31–3, 1063–5. 12. I note here the preferred pronunciation by Egyptian friends of al-Tunisi’s last name to al-Tunsi. 13. See the essay by Professor ‘Abd al-Rahman Sidqi, regarding the 1942 exhibition of art featuring Mahmud Said.’ The Artistic in our Life’, al-Thaqafa, No. 181, June 18, 1942, pp. 10–12. 14. Yunan Labib Rizk, ‘Statues that Divide, al-Ahram Weekly, April 6–12, 2006, Issue No. 789. http://weekly.ahram.org.eg/2006/789/chrncls.htm. 15. See Georges Henein, ‘Tahya al-Fann al-Munhat,’ (Long Live the Degenerate Art) as reprinted in the journal al-Kitaba al-Ukhra. Book No. 3, December 1992, p. 6. Henein’s manifesto is more commonly translated as ‘Long Live Decadent Art,’ however, I adopt the meaning and direct reference by Henein to the Nazi campaign and exhibitions against degenerate art (entarte kunst) initiated in Munich in 1937. 16. On the Nazi campaign against entarte kunst or degenerate art, see Jonathan Petropooulos, The Faustian Bargain: The Art World in Nazi Germany. (London: Oxford University Press, 2000). 17. Sarane Alexander, Georges Henein. (Paris: Seghers, 1981), p. 10. 18. Georges Henein, Suite et fin, (Cairo: Editions Centonze, 1934). 19. Alexandrian, (1981), p. 13. Alexandrian, notes that the publishing of the dictionary was attacked in the Bourse égyptienne. 20. See the emphasis on women’s rights as a struggle in the article by Zahir Ghali, ‘Thawra ‘ala al-Taqalid’ (Revolution Against the Traditions), al-Tatawwur, No. 3, March 1940, pp. 6–8, and Ramsis Yunan’s attack on a 1932 government report on prostitution, for failing to account its origins due to the impoverishment of poor women, in his ‘Mushkila liha Juthur’ (A Problem with its Source), al-Tatawwur, No. 2, February, 1940, pp. 19–21.

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21. Muhammad Nagi, ‘L’Esprit de l’Art Moderne,’ reprinted in Naghi and Roussillon, (1988)p. 49. 22. Aimé Azar, La Peinture Moderne en Egypte, (Cairo: Les Editions Nouvelles, 1961), p. 8. 23. Alexandrian, (1981), p. 23. 24. Alexandrian, (1981), p. 34. 25. The signers also included the journalist, Emile Simon, and author of a Marxist study. See Sarane Alexandrian, (1981), p. 22. 26. A number of Angelo de Riz’ drawings and paintings appeared in 1940 in the short-lived Egyptian Surrealist journal, al-Tatawwur. He also painted a paneau at the Cinema Rivoli in Cairo. 27. On the widespread threat of criminal proceedings against intellectuals and officials in the interwar period, and through the demise of the old regime in 1952, see numerous references in Sayyid ‘Ashmawi, (2000). 28. On the recognition of Mahmud Sa‘id’s emphasis on the feminine and inference as a response to the autocracy of the 1930s, see the informative interpretive essay by the Egyptian Surrealist Ramsis Yunan, written shortly after Sa‘id’s death in 1964, ‘Alam Mahmud Sa‘id,’ (World of Mahmud Said), in Ramsis Yunan, Dirasat fi-l-fann (Studies in Art), (Cairo: Dar al-Katib al-arabi li-taba’a wa-lnashr, 1969), pp. 202–8. Originally published in al-Majallah, May 1964. 29. See the discussion on Mahmud Sa‘id, in Kamil al-Tilmisani, ‘Nahwa Fann Hurr,’ (‘Toward a Free Art’), al-Tatawwur, No. 1, January 1940, pp. 33–41, and an acknowledgement of Sa‘id in Kamil al-Tilmisani’s later review, ‘al-Ma‘rad al-Awwal li-l-Fann al-Hurr,’ (‘The First Exhibition of The Art and Liberty’), al-Tatawwur, No. 3, March 1940, pp. 39–46. 30. ‘Aziz Ahmad Fahmi, ‘al-Fann al-Munhat,’ (The Degenerate Art) al-Risala, No. 314, July 1939, pp. 1376. For an interpretation of this exchange in al-Risala, I am indebted to Donald LaCoss who analyzed the sequence of the published debates over ‘degenerate art’ that appeared in al-Risala in his important article, “Egyptian Surrealism and “Degenerate Art” in 1939,” Arab Studies Journal, Spring 2010 (Vol. XVIII, No. 1), pp. 78–117. 31. See Anwar Kamil, ‘Jama‘at al-Fann wa-l-Hurriyya’ ( The Art and Liberty Group), al-Risala, No. 315, July 17, 1939, p. 1426. 32. LaCoss, (2010), p. 80. 33. Aimé Azar, (1954), p. 11. 34. Sarane Alexandrian, (1981) p. 35. 35. Anwar Kamil, ‘Jama’at al-Fann wa-l-Hurriyya,’ al-Risala, July 31, 1939, No. 317. pp. 1520–1. 36. Kamil, Ibid., (1939) p. 1520. Kamil concluded his short letter to the editor, by appealing to readers of the magazine, al-Risala, to visit their current art exhibition to judge for themselves whether it was degenerate art or not degenerate. 37. Nasri ‘Ata Allah Susa, ‘Fann Munhat bi-Raghm thalik’, (A degenerate Art in spite of itself) al-Risala, No. 316, July 24, 1939, pp. 1374 to 1375. 38. Nasri ‘Ata Allah Susa, ‘Hawla al-Fann al-Munhat - al-Kalima al-Akhira,’ (On the Degenerate Art – a Final Word.’ al-Risala, No. 319, August 14, 1939, p. 1620. 39. Samir Gharib, al-Suriyaliyya fi Misr, (Surrealism in Egypt) (Cairo: The General Book Organization, 1986), p. 22.

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40. ‘Aziz Ahmad Fahmi, ‘al-Fann wa-l-Hurriyya,’ (Art and Liberty), al-Risala, No. 318, August 7, 1939, p. 1610. 41. See Kamil al-Tilmisani, ‘Hawla al-Fann al-Munhat’ in al-Risala, No. 321, August 28, 1939, pp. 721–3. 42. For a revealing analysis of the Egyptian liberal-nationalist opposition of al-Risala’s editors to the Art and Liberty Group, see Lacoss, (2010) Ibid., p. 90. Whereas Professor Lacoss uses the group name Art and Liberty, I refer to it as Art and Liberty. 43. Aimé Azar, La Peinture Moderne en Egypte, (Cairo: Les Editions Nouvelles, 1961), p 48. My thanks are due also to Prof. Donald LaCoss at the University of Wisconsin Lacross, for sharing a copy of the neo-Orientalist manifesto. 4 4. Aimé Azar, (1954), p. 20. 45. Yunan, ‘Ghayat al-Rassam al-‘Asri,’ (The Aim of the Contemporary Artist) in Yunan, (1969), pp. 16–30. 46. Ramsis Yunan, ‘Harakat al-Suriyalizm’ (The Surrealist Movement), al-Risala, September 4, 1939, No. 322, pp. 1748–9. 47. Yunan, Ibid., (1939) pp. 1748–9. This emphasis on the social context of cultural production in the late 1930s has been admirably documented and interpreted by ‘Ashmawi (2000), pp. 39–59. 48. Husayn ‘Abdallah al-Sayyid, in his reply in the following issue. ‘Hawla al-Fann wa-l-Hurriyya Aydan,’ (‘On Art and Liberty Also’), al-Risala, No. 328, October 2, 1939, pp. 1919–20. 49. Al-Sayyid, Ibid., p. 1919. 50. Roussillon, (1990) p. 69. 51. See Sarane Alexandrian, Ibid., (1981) quoting Georges Henein, ‘L’Art en Egypte (X): El Telmissany’, Don Quichotte, no. 17, March 29, 1940. ‘L’art n’a pas de patrie, pas de terroir. Chirico n’est pas plus italien que Delvaux n’est belge que Diego Rivera n’est mexicain que Tanguy n’est français que Max Ernst n’est allemand que Telmisany n’est égyptien. Tous ces hommes participent d’un même élan fraternal contre quoi les raisons de clocher ou de minaret ne sauraient élever qu’une barrière dérisoire.’ 52. Ramsis Yunan, ‘al-Hulm wa-l-Haqiqa’ (The Dream and the Reality), Dirasat fi-l-Fann. (Cairo: Dar al-Kitab al-‘arabi li-taba’a wa-l-nashr, 1969), pp. 36–42, and originally published in al-Tatawwur, March 1940. I have interpreted Yunan’s essay with the title of The Dream and the Reality, whereas some others, have cited to it in translation as The Dream and the Truth, as for instance, Andrea Flores Khalil, The Arab Avant-Garde: Experiments in North African Art and Literature. Praeger: Westport, Conn. (2003), p. 146, fn. 16. 53. It is worth noting that other contemporary Lebanese scholars had produced studies and comments on aspects of recent Egyptian culture. These included the Lebanese scholar and philosopher of historical materialism, Husayn Muruwwa, who had written an introduction to a work on Egyptian literature in 1955. See his introduction in ‘Abd al-‘Athim Anis and Muhammad Amin al-‘Alim, Fi-l-Thaqafa al-Misriyya (In Egyptian culture (Cairo: Dar al-thaqafa al-jumhurriya, 1989), pp. 3–13). Originally published in 1955 in Beirut. See also, Joseph Massad, Desiring Arabs. (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2007) p. 91.

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54. Numerous works assume a complete separation and secularity of the arts of the Egyptian avant garde. These include Andrea Flores-Khalil, (2003) and Wijdan Ali, (1997), p. 2, who argue that Islamic art went through a decline and fall that was only resurrected in a recent revival of Islamic calligraphy. 55. On the issue of a fatwa by the Muslim Brothers in the 1930s allowing the use of mass produced images, see, Lia Brynjar, (1998) p. 58. A more contemporary example of this is the writing of Yusuf al-Qaradawi, (1998, p. 78), who cites hadiths allowing the use of arusa sugarine dolls by children and the permissibility of mass produced images and advertising. 56. Roussillon, Abdel Hadi al-Gazzar, and citing Aimé Azar, pp. 64–7. 57. See, al-Ahram Weekly, No. 465, January 20–26, 2000. http://weekly.ahram. org/2000/465/cu4.htm (Accessed June 7, 2010). 58. Two catalogues and studies of Hadi ‘Abd al-Gazzar provide sketches and details of the artist’s life and work. The first published was Subhi al-Sharuni, ‘Abd al-Hadi al-Gazzar, Funun al-Asatir wa ‘Alam al-Fadha’, (Cairo, 1966). Liliane Karnouk in Modern Egyptian Art, (1998), mentions this move from Alexandria to the Delta village of Burma, before the move to Cairo, p. 51. Another study is the catalogue raisonnée and biographical essays collected and edited by Roussillon and Roussillon, Ibid., (1990). 59. Ishak Musa Husaini, The Moslem Brethren: The Greatest of Modern Islamic Movements. (Beirut: Khayat’s College Book Cooperative, 1956) p. 75. 60. See, the chronology in Roussillon, (1990) p. 12, which presents a different emphasis on the dynamic of traditional neighborhoods. This contrasts with Liliane Karnouk (1988) p. 51, who referred to al-Gazzar’s formation as deriving from ‘this school of the streets, where mediaeval traditions had resisted all the winds of modern westernization, that the young painter learned the lessons of his people and their arts.’ Karnouk would tend to agree with Subhi Sharuni, who describes Sayyida Zaynab as one of its ‘oldest and most populous neighborhoods,’ in Roussillon, Ibid., p. 156. 61. On Hamid Nada, see the short essay by ‘Izz al-Din Najib, Ibid., (2000), pp. 41–7. 62. See, Anadia Abu Zahra, ‘Tasawwur al-Hubb wa-l-Nur ‘ ind Zuwar al-Sayyida Zaynab bi-l-Qahira’ (Image of Love and Light in the Imagination of al-Sayyida Zaynab’s Pilgrims), Alif: A Journal of Comparative Poetics, No. 8, Spring, 1988. pp. 118–32. 63. Husaini, (1956) p. 93. 64. I thank Professor Rifa‘at Abou El-Haj for reminding me of the Bolshevik analogy, as compared with the moderated position of relative inaction by the Mensheviks. 65. Husaini, (1956) p. 144. 66. This poster is attributable to Amin Muhammad Sabbagh, (b. 1908), who studied art in Europe and taught at the College of Fine Art in Cairo, and was known for his frescos and a realist style. 67. Husaini, (1956), p. 1. 68. On the establishment of committees for food drives for Palestine in the late 1930s in Sayyida Zaynab, see, al-Sayyid Yusuf, al-Ikhwan al-Muslimun: Hal Hiya Sahwa Islamiyya? [The Muslim Brotherhood: is it Islamic Revival?] Vol. 1. Hasan al-Banna wa Bina’ al-Tanthim. [Hassan al-Banna and the Building

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of the Organization](Cairo, 1997), and Vol. 4, al-Jama‘a wa Harakat al-Tahrir al-Watani. [The Society and the National Liberation Movement] p. 18. 69. See, Anwar Sadat, Revolt on the Nile, (New York: John Day Co., 1957) p. 33. Sadat in his memoir shows little interest or reflection on how or why the Muslim Brothers organized itself or how its members belonged to professions or were engaged in essential services in the neighborhood. 70. See Fakhry Labib, in ‘Asim Dasuqi and Fakhry Labib, eds., Min Tarikh al-Haraka al-Shuyu‘ iyya fi Misr: Shahadat wa Ru’an (From the History of the Communist Movement in Egypt: Witnesses and Visions), (Cairo: Markaz al-Buhuth al-‘Arabiyya, 1999), Vol. 2, p. 55. 71. See Fakhry Labib, in Dasuqi and Labib, (1999), pp. 59–60. 72. For a discussion of recent Egyptian novels that discuss the effects of cholera as a public health crisis see, Samah Selim, The Divided Subject: Narrative Enactments of the Nation in the Egyptian Village Novel (Muhammad Husayn Haykal, Baha’ Tahir, Yahya al-Tahir Abdallah). Ph.D. Dissertation. Princeton University, 1997 73. On the cholera, see, Georges Henein, L’Esprit Frappeur (Carnets 1940–1973), (Paris: Encres, 1980), p. 60. 74. On the role of the Muslim Brothers in providing medical treatment for those afflicted with the cholera, see ‘Abbas al-Sisi, Hasan al-Banna Mawaqif fi-lDa‘wa wa-l-Tarbiyya. [Hassan al-Banna, Positions on Enlightenment and Education] (Alexandria: Dar al-Hamu’a, 1981) p. 235. 75. Sheldon Watts has offered the context of cholera policy in comparative world history in his excellent article, ‘From Rapid Change to Stasis: Official Responses to Cholera in British-Ruled India and Egypt: 1860 to c. 1921,’ Journal of World History, Fall 2001, Vol. 12, No. 2, pp. 321–74. 76. al-Sayyis, (1981) p. 235. 77. See Sayyid ‘Ashmawi, Ibid., p. 132. 78. ‘Ashmawi, (2000) pp. 100–1, 132–3. 79. See, Samir Gharib, A Hundred Years of Fine Arts in Egypt, (Cairo: Prism Art Series No. 7, 1998), p. 14. I have not located many publications on her work, however a few of her paintings are on exhibit at the Museum of Modern Art in Cairo, and a new museum featuring her work opened in Cairo in 2001. 80. See al-Gazzar’s own comments on the use of the key in his later painting, The Past, the Present, and the Future, (1951), see Roussillon, Ibid., p. 174. On a possible link to folk medicinal practices for treatment of sunstroke and cerebral symptoms and the medicinal charm qualities of the key, see, John Walker (translator) Folk Medicine in Modern Egypt: Being the Relevant Parts of the Tibb al-rukka or Old Wives’ Medicine of ‘Abd al-Rahman Isma‘ il, (London, Luzac & Co., 1934), p. 26. This is certainly a disputable source, as the author of the original Dr. ‘Abd al-Rahman Isma‘il, was himself disdainful of the popular medicines and philosophy of the common Egyptian. 81. I note Aswad El-Sayyid’s preference for the term cosmology. 82. See, Alain and Christine Roussillon, eds. Abdel Hadi al-Gazzar: Une Peinture Égyptienne. (Cairo, Elias Modern Press, 1995), p. 26. 83. See Jundi, (1996), p. 73. 84. As quoted by Roussillon, Ibid., (1995) p. 76.

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85. For instance, see the description of Sayyida Zaynab as ‘notorious for its underground trade in narcotics and its impenetrable back alleys,’ in Liliane Karnouk, Ibid., p. 53. This unfortunately avoids a contextual discussion of Sayyida Zaynab during the time of al-Gazzar’s early career, when his graphic work reflects his interest in moderating a course of traditional and popular arts and healing. 86. See, Anwar Sadat, Revolt on the Nile. (New York, 1957) p. 33. 87. Subhi al-Sharuni, ‘Abd al-Hadi al-Gazzar and Husayn Yusuf Amin: Dynamics of a Formation,’ in Alain and Christine Roussillon, Ibid., (1995), p. 156, and fn 101. 88. See, the folksong, ‘Ala Fayn Kida ah ya Sabiyya? (Where do you go young lady?), with the refrains, ‘hazur al-sayyida’ (to Sayyida Zaynab), as reproduced and commented in Baheega Sidky Rasheed, Folk Songs from the Valley of the Nile (Egypt), Cairo: Anglo-American Egyptian Bookshop (n.d.) 89. Mahmud Tahir Haqqi’s ‘Athra’ Dinshiway, (The Maiden of Dinshaway), (Cairo, Maktaba al-Arabiyya, 1964.) 90. On the experience a documentary filmmaker’s memoirs of her childhood in upper Egypt, where she was encouraged by her mother, a seamstress to move to Cairo in mid 1950s on a scholarship, where she lived in Sayyida Zaynab, see ‘Atiyat al-Abnudi’s memoirs, Ayyam Lam Takun Ma‘ahu: ‘Abd al-Rahman al-Abnudi fi-l-Sijn, (Days Without Him: ‘Abd al-Rahman al-Abnudi in Prison), (Cairo: Farsan, 2000), p. 7. 91. See ‘Ashur, Ibid., p. 41. 92. See, Liliane Karnouk, Modern Egyptian Art: The Emergence of a National Style. (Cairo, American University Press, 1988) pp. 49–53. 93. Jundi, (1996) p. 34. 94. See, Jundi. Ibid., (1996) p. 37. 95. Originally centered in a building on what is now al-Gumhuriya Street, (formerly Ibrahim Street), see Jundi. Ibid., p. 37. 96. Jundi, Ibid., (1996) p. 37. 97. See Jundi, Ibid., (1996) p. 37. 98. See the entry of Muhammad ‘Uways, in al-Mawsu‘a al-Qawmiyya li-l-Shakhsiyyat al-Misriyya al-Bariza, (National Encyclopedia of Prominent Egyptians) Cairo: Ministry of Information, 1992. Vol. 2, No. 6899, p. 906. 99. For a general study of the Alexandrian academic artists in the first half of the 20th century, see, Fakry Butrus, Fannanu al-Iskandariyya, Cairo (1964), which describes the evolution of arts in music, poetry and painting. An example is al-Gazzar’s teacher, Husayn Amin, an associate of the Alexandrian art academies, who in the 1930s advocated and sponsored the establishment of regional folklore art centers. The career of Husayn Amin is introduced in Rushdi Iskandar and Kamal al-Mallakh, Khamsun Sana min al-Fann. (Fifty Years of Art) (Cairo: Dar al-Mu’araf bi misr, 1962), pp. 124–6. 100. Muhammad Yusuf Jundi, al-Yasar wa-l-Haraka al-Wataniyya fi Misr (1945– 1950), (The Left and the Nationalist Movement in Egypt). (Cairo, Dar al-thaqafa al-jadida, 1996), p. 62. 101. See, Nu‘man ‘Ashur, al-Masrah Hayati. (The Theatre is My Life), (Cairo: al-Qahira li-l-Thaqafa al-‘Arabiyya. 1975), p. 56. 102. See, Jundi, Ibid., (1996) p. 58.

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1 03. See, Nu‘man ‘Ashur, (1975) p. 57. 104. See ‘Ashur, Ibid., (1975) p. 73. 105. See, ‘Izz al-Din Najib, Fannanun wa-Shuhada’: al-Fann al-Tashkili wa-Huquq al-Insan (Artists and Martyrs: the Plastic Arts and Human Rights), (Cairo: Markaz al-Qahira li-dirasat huquq al-insan, 2000). 106. Husaini, Ibid., (1956) p. 145. 107. See Sayyid Qutb, ‘al-Mustaqbal li-l-Islam’ (The Future Belongs to Islam), al-Muslimun, August 1952, Vol.1, No. 10, p. 31. Also, cited in Husayni, Ibid., p. 145. 108. Sayyid Qutb, Ibid., (1952) pp. 31–9. 109. Al-Gazzar’s interpretation of his own painting, The Past, The Present, The Future, has been reproduced in Roussillon, Alain and Christine Roussillon. Ibid., (1995) p. 176. 110. See the essay by Subhi al-Sharuni, in Roussillon, Ibid., (1995) p. 160. 111. Al-Gazzar, as quoted in Roussillon, Ibid., (1995) p. 174. 112. Roussillon, Ibid., (1995) p. 174. 113. Roussillon, Ibid., (1995) p. 174. 114. Anna Boghiguian, ‘An Enigmatic Presence,’ al-Ahram Weekly, Issue No. 465. January 20–26, 2000. http://weekly.ahram.org.eg/weekly/2000/465/cu4. htm. 115. Gilles Keppel, Muslim Extremism in Egypt: The Prophet & Pharaoh. (Berkeley, 1984), p. 39. 116. As reproduced and translated in Roussillon, Ibid., pp. 191–2. I have only slightly modified the translation here. 117. Translated by this author and compared with Roussillon’s translation. 118. Sayyid Qutb, (1952), No. 1, p. 53. 119. Sayyid Qutb, (1953), ‘al-Mustaqbal li-l-Islam,’ (The Future Belongs to Islam), al-Muslimun, Vol. 1, No. 2, (1953), pp. 136–8. 120. I note but differ with El-Aswad’s de-conceptualization of philosophy as experienced in a de-institutionalized religion of the ordinary citizen in everyday life, in his Religion and Folk Cosmology, (2002). 121. On a possible link to folk medicinal practices see, John Walker (translator) Folk Medicine in Modern Egypt: Being the Relevant Parts of the Tibb al-rukka or Old Wives’ Medicine of ‘Abd al-Rahman Isma‘il, (London: Luzac & Co., 1934. 122. Whereas al-Gazzar’s paintings, The Charter, and The Peace, are displayed at the Museum of Modern Art in Cairo as upholders of the state’s project and history of art, his masterful drawings, including Preparation of the Spirits, and World of the Spirits are displayed on the second floor, on the verandah overlooking the main hall. 123. On the turtle’s symbolism, and its continuation as an evolutionary symbol for al-Gazzar, as in his shell series, see, Subhi al-Sharuni, ‘Abd al-Hadi al-Gazzar: Fannan al-Asatir wa ‘Alam al-Fadha. (Abd al-Hadi al-Gazzar: Artist of Fables and the World of Space). (Cairo, 1966), pp. 58–61. 124. See Hamid Nada’s drawings accompanying the short story, al-Ju’ (Hunger), in al-Thaqafa, December 22, 1952, No. 730. 125. Ibid., al-Thaqafa (1952) p. 181. 126. For a collection of Ahmad Mursi’s poetry, see, Idwar al-Kharrat, Ahmad Mursi: Qasa’id Mukhtara 1949–1969. (Ahmen Mursi: Selected Poems 1949–1969),

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(Cairo, s.n. 1985). Mursi’s participation at the 1955 Alexandria Biennale is listed in the survey of the Alexandria Biennale by Essmat Dawestachy, Biennale d’Alexandrie (1955–1994) Etude Historique, Catalogue 77, (Cairo, 1994). 1 27. Ramsis Yunan, ‘Jawla fi Mathaf Muhammad Mahmud Khalil’ (A Trip to the Muhammad Mahmud Khalil Museum), in Dirasat fi-l-Fann (Studies in Art), Cairo, 1969, pp. 165–74. 4  THE FESTIVAL AND THE STATE: THE CONTEMPORARY ART GROUP AND THE PHILOSOPHY OF TRADITIONAL ARTS 1. An eyewitness account from McPherson, Ibid., pp. 253–4. 2. On the support of the Muslim Brothers’ founder, Hassan al-Banna, for the mawlid, see, Rachida Chih, Le Soufisme au quotidian: Confréries d’Egypte au XXe siècle. (Paris: Sindbad, 2000), pp. 46, 272. 3. Hans-Georg Gadamer, Truth and Method, (2000), and Hans-Georg Gadamer. Tr. by Nicholas Walker, The Relevance of the Beautiful and other Essays. Cambridge University Press: 1986. 4. See Jean Grondin, ‘Play Festival and Ritual in Gadamer: On the theme of the immemorial in his later works,’ Tr. By Lawrence K. Schmidt. pp. 43–50. 5. Xavier Costa, ‘Festive traditions in modernity: the public sphere of the festival of the ‘Fallas’ in Valencia (Spain)’ The Sociological Review, Vol. 4, No. 50, 2002, pp. 482–504. 6. For a comparison of this genre of writing by Evans-Pritchard, The Sanusi of Cyrenaica, (Oxford, 1949); Octave Dupont and Xavier Coppolani, Lés Confréries Réligieuses Muslulmanes, (Algiers, 1897), and Louis Rinn, Marabouts et khouan, (Algiers, 1894), see Mahmood Ahmad Ghazi, The Sanusiyyah Movement of North Africa. (Islamabad: Shariah Academy, 2001), pp. 7–9. On the invention of the Sanusiyya as a political threat to French interests see, Jean-Louis Triaud, La Légende Noire de la Sanusiya: Une Confrere Musulmane Saharienne sous le Regard Francais (1840–1930,. (Paris, 1995) pp. 331–61. 7. On a personal note, while a young boy in Santa Cruz, California, in the middle 1960s, I would participate in an annual festival by the Portuguese community. The festival began in the morning near the wharf, with a blessing of the fleet, and proceeded downtown in a long procession featuring the decorative floats and bands that accompanied the main altarpiece to Our Lady of Fatima, whose statue was carried down the main commercial street and up the steep hill, past the old Mission and to the church. This festival waned following the transformation of the town from a resort and fishing town to a university town supporting the general buildup of the Bay Area’s infrastructure. The fishing fleets faced with rising costs and reduced catches all but disappeared and moved up the coast to Half Moon Bay and Pescadero, or across the bay to Monterey. I offer this recollection to posit my own transitory relation to festival arts and the aesthetic experience engendered, not as an anthropological or academic subject but as a participatory experience, whose passing marks a transition of time and context in which it was produced. 8. See for instance, Valerie J. Hoffman-Ladd, ‘Devotion to the Prophet and His Family in Egyptian Sufism,’ International Journal of Middle Eastern Studies,

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Vol. 24, No. 4, (Nov. 1992), pp. 615–37, and her book, Valerie Hoffman, Sufism, Mystics and Saints in Modern Egypt, (University of South Carolina Press, 1995). A study of the political development of Sufism is found in Julian Johansen, Sufism and Islamic Reform in Egypt, (Oxford, 1997). 9. El-Sayed El Aswad, Religion and Folk Cosmology: scenarios of the visible and invisible in rural Egypt. London: Praeger, 2002, pp. 109–11. 10. ‘Abd al-Ghani al-Nabawi al-Shal, in his ‘Arusa al-Mawlid, (The Bride of the Birthday Festival), Cairo: Dar al-Katib al-‘araba al-naqd. 1967 [written in 1963]. 11. Al-Shal, Ibid., (1967) pp. 47–8. 12. Faruq Muhammad Mustafa, al-Mawalid: Dirasat li-l-‘Adat wa-l-Taqalid al-Sha‘biyya fi Misr, (The Mulids: Studies in the Customs and Folk Traditions in Egypt), (Alexandria: The General Egyptian Book Organization, 1980). 13. Faruq Mustafa, Ibid., p. 200. For instance, one of the processional songs included nationalist references to the October 1973 war, and in a following stanza recalls, amidst the procession prayers for peace, the maiming and mutilation of the people, as a reminder of the suffering during the war. 14. Al-Shal, Ibid., (1967) pp. 104–10. 15. Al-Shal, Ibid., (1967), illustrations 22–9. I note, of course, the current prevalence of plastic mass produced dolls, which rival this traditional form of production. 16. For insight, one may gainfully read the novel on the Egyptian festival by Abdel-Hakim Kassem’s The Seven Days of Man, tr. by Joseph Bell, (Ayyam al-Insan al-Sab‘a) (Evanston: Northwestern University Press, 1996). Originally published in 1969. 17. al-Shal, Ibid., (1967) p. 29. 18. As cited by al-Shal, Ibid.,. p. 30. (citing al-Maqrizi, Vol. 1, p. 318). 19. Al-Shal, Ibid., (1967) p. 30. 20. Al-Shal, Ibid., (1967) pp. 31–5. 21. Al-Shal, Ibid., (1967) pp. 35–7, citing al-Maqrizi, V. 1, pp. 270–3. 22. Al-Shal, Ibid., (1967) p. 42. 23. Al-Shal, Ibid., (1967) pp 50–1. 24. On the more contemporary function of the sugar horse doll figurine for boys, see Sayyid ‘Ashmawi, (2000) p. 59., and the article by Ahmad Bahsat, ‘Halwat al-Mawlid’ (Sweets of the Festival) in al-Ahram, June 14, 2000. 25. See El-Aswad, Religion and Folk Cosmology, (Westport, Conn., 2002), p. 116. 26. As a recent example, the permission of figurine toys, including the arusa bridal dolls, is noted as an exception to Islamic prohibitions to image making by the well-known Egyptian fundamentalist scholar and writer, Yusuf al-Qaradawi, al-Islam wa-l-Fann, (Cairo, Dar al-Firqan li-l-Nashr wa-l-Tawzi‘, 1996), pp. 107–8, and translated by Rawah El-Khatib. Diversion and Arts in Islam. (Cairo, Islamic Inc.) n.d. p. 78. 27. In a letter republished by McPherson describing the scene at one Moulid in Upper Egypt, the mocking of the king is inferred in a phallic display by a naked youth atop the mock royal processional parade float See J.W. McPherson, The Moulids of Egypt. (Egyptian Saints-Days), (Cairo, N.M. Press), 1941, pp. 151. 28. McPherson, Ibid., (1941) pp. 204–6

Notes 29. 3 0. 31. 32. 33. 34.

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McPherson, Ibid., p. 319. McPherson, Ibid., pp. 243–4. McPherson, Ibid., pp. 137–8. McPherson, Ibid., p. 203. McPherson, Ibid., p. 71. An eyewitness account from McPherson, Ibid., pp. 253–4. Unfortunately McPherson and Evans-Pritchard seem not to have understood or been able to interpret the symbolism of this effigy. 35. McPherson, (1941). 36. McPherson, Ibid., p. 264. 37. McPherson, Ibid., pp. 140–2 38. McPherson, Ibid., pp 167–9. 39. McPherson’s reliability as an informant, is compromised with his anecdotal narrative and casual remarks. McPherson claims the unnamed authority had apparently been visited by the ‘disgusted ghost’ of Shaykh Mazlum himself. See, J.W. McPherson, Ibid., p. 42. 40. Sayyid Ashmawi, Ibid., (2000). 41. See the letter of Abu Masaoud El-Hag, in the Egyptian Gazette, September 1940, as reproduced in McPherson, Ibid., pp. 26–8. 42. McPherson, Ibid., pp. 14–15. 43. ‘A Plea for Muleds,’ Egyptian Mail, February 23, 1941, as reprinted in McPherson, Ibid., p 321. 4 4. Nu‘man ‘Ashur, al-Masrah Hayati. (The Theatre is My Life), (Cairo, al-Thaqafa al-‘Arabiyya, 1974) , p. 11 45. See Donald Reid, ‘Cultural Imperialism and Nationalism,’ International Journal of Middle East Studies, 29 (1997), 53–69. 46. For a recent reflection on the multidimensionality of the festival arts at Tanta, see the interview by al-Hamamsi Muhammad, with the Egyptian artist, al-Sayyid Qammas, the head of the Department of Painting at the College of Fine Arts in Minia, ‘al-Sayyid al-Qammas: al-Abyad wa-l-Aswad Aktar Ta‘biran Qabla al-Dukhul fi-l-Khida‘ al-Lawni’ (al-Sayyid al-Qammas: the white and the black are more expressive before the entry into the deception of color), al-Safir, November 10, 2006, Number 10548, on-line edition at http://www.assafir.com. 47. See the series of popular songs on festival themes in ‘Abd al-Ghani al-Nabawi al-Shal, in his ‘Arusat al-Mawlid, (The Bride of the Birthday Festival), Cairo: Dar al-Katib al-‘araba al-naqd. 1967 [written in 1963], pp. 129–35. 48. On the relevance of this poem to Tanta, see, El-Sayed El-Aswad, Religion and Folk Cosmology: scenarios of the visible and invisible in rural Egypt. (Westport, Conn. 2002), p. 23. 49. Al-Shal, Ibid., pp. 129–35. My thanks to Mohamed Aly of Binghamton University for noting the use of a dialect in several lines, including wa awwal al-fann li-halwatiha, (It is the art of its sweetness). 50. See Samir Gharib, al-Surrialiya fi Misr, (Surrealism in Egypt) (Cairo, 1986) p. 142, fn 241., and Kamil al-Tilmisani, ‘Hawla al-Fann al-Munhat’ (On Degenerate Art), al-Risala, No. 28, August 28, 1938, pp. 1701–3. I also discussed the fuller context of this series of articles on degenerate art in the preceding chapter.

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51. See Fayza Hassan, ‘The People of the Cave,’ al-Ahram Weekly, 7 -13 December 2000, Issue No.511., on-line edition, http://weekly.ahram.org.eg/2000/511/ special.htm. 52. al-Thaqafa, December 22, 1952, No. 730, p. 35. 53. On Mahir Ra’if ’s Sufism, see the article by Mukhtar al-‘Attar, ‘al-Fann al-Sufi: Mahir Ra’ if,’ (The Sufi Art: Mahir Ra’if), Ruwad al-Fann wa Tali’a al-Tanwir fi Misr. Vol. II. (Cairo: al-Hay’a al-Misriyya al-‘Amma li-l-Kitab, 1997), pp. 107–19. 54. On the distinctive emphasis of women in providing food as gifts during visits to cemeteries, see El-Sayed El-Aswad, Religion and Folk Cosmology: Scenarios for the visible and invisible in rural Egypt, (London, 2002), pp. 110–11. 55. Here in al-Gazzar’s painting, the eye implies magical powers, see El-Aswad (2002) pp. 94–5. 56. This painting of The Mawlid is reproduced by black and white photograph in Subhi Sharuni, Ibid., (1966) pp. 64–5. 57. For the complete poem, see Roussillon, Ibid., pp. 196–7. 58. ‘Ashur, Ibid., pp. 14–15. 59. See, al-Shal, Ibid., pp. 136–40. 60. For a view of how the circus as a more formal production see, Salah Jahin’s (aka Chahine) interpretation in his poem al-Layla al-Kabira, in his collection of poems, ‘An al-Qamar wa-l-Tin: Ash‘ar bi-l-‘Ammiyya al-Misriyya. (From the Moon and the Earth), (Cairo, Dar al-Ma‘rifa, 1961), pp. 111–23. On the state’s subsidy of the circus as part of the Ministry of Culture’s projects in the middle 1960s for establishing a national folklife arts, see, the announcement of the arrival of the new circus season for the National Circus, in al-Ahram, January 12, 1966, p. 12. 61. See Jahin Ibid., (1961) and his poem al-Layla al-Kabira (The Big Night), pp. 111–23. 62. On ‘Atiyat al-Abnudi’s documentary film on the circus, see, Magda Wassef, ‘Three Arab Women Documentary Filmmakers’ Web. October 9, 2002. 63. Lutfi’s painting is reproduced in Rushdi Iskandar, Kamal al-Mallakh, and S.  al-Sharuni, Thamanun Sana min al-Fann, (Eighty Years of Art), Cairo: al-Hay’a al-Misriyya al-’Amma li-l-Kitab, 1991, p. 42. I have been unable to date this painting and it is undated in Iskandar et al. 64. This work has also been identified by Kamal El-Mallakh, in his monograph on Al-Sagini (1985) as ‘The Doll and the Serpent,’ 63 cm. However, I have relied on the titling found in the work itself. 65. Al-Sagini’s copper plate, The Doll, is dated 1958 on the plate itself. 66. See, El-Mallakh, Ibid., appendix. 67. It is unfortunate that the Museum of Modern Art in Cairo permanently displays only one of al-Sagini’s sculptures. Research into the collection’s emphasis and relation of the artist to the state which may have affected this collection may be needed. In the early 1970s Al-Sagini moved to Spain where he died in 1976. 68. This monument is briefly mentioned in al-Mallakh, Ibid., (1985). 69. Karnouk, Contemporary Egyptian Art. (1995), p. 81. 70. Following the war, the Ministry of Culture embarked on a series of regional and local museums dedicated to the October War. Wall murals, military

Notes

71. 7 2. 73.

74. 75. 76. 77.

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hardware displays and museum built on the main airport highway represented this later trend. Al-Sagini’s collaborative sculpture represents the commemorative trend and its utility to the state for nationalist consensus. On a number of levels, it appears quite contradictory for Al-Sagini to have turned toward a war memorial at this stage of his life. Instead, the more prestigious commission went to Sami Rafi, whose design of a large pyramid for the memorial, The Monument to the Unknown Soldier, reflected the ambiguous loss and impersonalization of the war. See, Gamal al-Seguini, al-Fann al-Tashkili fi Qatar (Plastic Art in Qatar), (Qatar: Matbu‘at Wizarat al-L‘lam, 1977). See, Hassat ‘Atwan, al-Hayat al-Tashkiliyya fi Qatar. (The Artistic Life in Qatar) Qatar: al-Dawha, 1988 See al-Mallakh, Ibid., (1985), p. 26. Salah ‘Abd al-Karim’s sculptural use of auto parts in his sculpture is a hallmark sculpture suggestive of the role of petty commodity production and piecemeal work in the large auto parts districts of Bulaq in Cairo. See also, Subhi Sharuni, al-Fannan Salah ‘Abd al-Karim, (The Artist Salah Abd al-Karim), (Cairo, Kitabat al-Mu‘asara, 1970). al-Mallakh, Ibid., (1985) appendix. For a reproduction of al-Sagini’s ‘Arusa, (circa 1973), see Kamal al-Mallakh, Gamal Es-Seguini. Cairo: General Book Organization. 1985. See ‘Izz al-Din Najib, Ibid., (2000), pp. 221–5. Like al-Gazzar, al-Zayni had also studied art abroad in during 1962. As translated by Julian Johansen, Sufism and Islamic Reform in Egypt, (Oxford, 1996,) Appendix B, p. 267. It is not permitted for the executive authorities to license any mawlid or any congregational procession of the Sufi Orders in any part of the Republic, nor …. in the capitals of the governates without the announced approval of the Supreme Council of the Sufi Orders. … The Mashyakha or its wakil undertakes to inform the appropriate executive authorities of the granting of an approval for a mawlid or procession, and undertakes to supervise these processions and mawlids and to organize them with the co-operation of these authorities. Article 40, The Sufi Ordinance of 1976, Law No. 118, 1976 No Sufi mawlid or procession shall incorporate any gathering or activity which ….offends against the etiquette of the Shari‘a and public order….

Article 41, of The Sufi Ordinance of 1976, Law No. 118, 1976. 78. On contemporary oral poetry recited in Tanta, see ‘Ashmawi, (2000) pp. 40–1. 5  THE LANDLORD-PEASANT BATTLES AS A SUBJECT FOR THE ARTS: FROM BUHUT TO KAMSHISH 1. Sayyid Qutb, Ma‘rakat al-Islam wa-l-Ra’smaliyya, (The Battle of Islam and Capitalism), Cairo: Dar al-Sharuq, (1975), originally published 1951. p. 38.

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2. See the discussion of ‘Abd al-Bari, in Chapter Two, supra. ‘Abd al-Bari’s invocation of the cooperative movement, was also a recollection of the rural cooperative financing programs initiated in Egypt by 1908, see Johnson, Ibid., pp. 21–2, fn. 7. 3. On the need to check the extended hours of work within Islamic principles, see Sayyid Qutb, Ibid., p. 46. 4. Sayyid Qutb, Ibid., p. 46. 5. The range of response to the uprisings at Buhut and Kafr Nigm, is apparent in the immediate responses as continuing dissatisfaction with social conditions in journalism by leaders of two of Egypt’s most active political mass movements. From the fascists, and Misr al-Fatah, see the comments of Ahmad Husayn, as quoted by Sayyid ‘Ashmawi, (2000) p. 106, from the September 23, 1951 article for Misr al-Fatah. Similarly, Sayyid Qutb, wrote a response on the tragedy of Buhut, see Sayyid Ashmawi, Ibid., p. 102, citing to al-Liwa’, (The Banner) June 26, 1951, Issue no. 11, and September 25, 1951, Issue no. 24. 6. On the collective memory as a means of narrative and history, see, Paul Ricoeur, Memory, History, Forgetting, (Chicago, 2005), pp. 120–1. 7. The use of this phrase by one of the Badrawis as he was about to start shooting at the peasants was reported by a witness in testimony given at the inquest by the government investigative committee, co-chaired by Anwar Sadat. See issues of al-Ahram, December 30, 1953; January 18, 1954. 8. My adaption from the poem as published and translated by Alain Roussillon, Abdel Hadi al-Gazzar, p. 195. 9. The Haganah [ ] corps (not to be confused with the Zionist militia) was a military force of indigenous mounted troops organized by the British in the Sudan, and also in Egypt, with its own distinctive uniform. As reported in al-Ahram, June 24, 1951, the Haganah were dispatched to Buhut following the outbreak because the number of police was insufficient. 10. See, Rija‘ al-Nuqasah, ‘Hadha al-Diwan’, in Salah Jahin, ‘An al-Qamar wa-lTin. (Cairo, Dar al-ma’rufa), 1961, p 174. 11. ‘Ashmawi’s essays on Buhut and Kamshish, first appeared in the newspaper, al-Tullab, 1975. 12. On the influence of Buhut for modern sociology and studies of the province of Daqahliya, see, Malak Zaalouk, al-Tarikh al-Ijtima‘ i li-Qarya Misriyya (The Social History in an Egyptian Village) (Cairo, 1995), p. 25. See also, ‘Izzat Hijazi, al-‘Awdha‘ al-Ijtima‘ iyya fi Qarya Misriyya (The Sociological Foundations in an Egyptian Village), (1995). 13. On the emphasis by al-Sharqawi in developing the experience of the young narrator’s pre-pubescent experience in the city, see Selim, Ibid., (1997) pp. 98–100. 14. Sayyid ‘Ashmawi recalls on his own visit to Buhut in 1975, being told by a peasant about this seizure of the radio he had bought. See, ‘Ashmawi, (2000) p. 86. 15. Rifa‘at al-Sa‘id, Mujarrad Thakriyat, as cited in Sayyid ‘Ashmawi, Ibid., p. 44 and fn 13, p. 61. 16. See, the introduction to the diaries of ‘Atiyat al-Abnudi, Ayyam lam Takun Ma‘ahu: ‘Abd al-Rahman al-Abnudi fi-l-Sijn (Days without Him: ‘Abd

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al-Rahman al-Abnudi in Prison). Cairo: al-Farsan, 1999, p. 8. In the aftermath of the 1967 war, this suggested use of the radio and of newspapers by peasants featured in the published poem of Zaki ‘Umar, ‘Min Kafr al-Ajar ila al-Qahira wa bi-l-‘Aks (From Kafr al-Ajar to Cairo and Vice Versa), See, Zaki ‘Umar, Kalam ‘an al-Adham: Shi‘r bi-l-‘Ammiyya al-Masriyya. (Words about al-Adham: Poetry in the Egyptian Vernacular). Cairo (1967), pp. 44–5. 17. See the initial newspaper report, in al-Ahram, June 24, 1951. 18. The actual number of dead and wounded at Buhut, is variously reported. The first newspaper account in al-Ahram, from June 24, 1951, reported that one of the guards and a companion were killed, while four of the rebellious peasants were killed. Donald M. Reid, cites the number of dead as one, and eighteen wounded in his, ‘Fu’ad Siraj al-Din and the Egyptian World,’ Journal of Contemporary History Vol. 15, No. 4. (Oct., 1980), pp. 721–44, citing to The Egyptian Gazette, July 2, 1951, p. 4. 19. On Siraj al-Din’s political career and powerful connections as the head of Egypt’s Coca Cola Company and other agricultural companies, see Donald M. Reid, Ibid., (2002). 20. In July 1951, another peasant rebellion at the village of Kafur Nijm was also violently crushed. ‘Ashmawi, Ibid., p. 113, fn. 58, and citing to the reports in al-Sha‘b al-Jadid,(No. 11, July 29, 1951, and No. 14, July 1951, and No. 22, September 20, 1951). 21. ‘Ashmawi, Ibid., p. 125. 22. See, ‘Asim Dasuqi and Fakhri Labib, Min Tarikh al-Haraka al-Shuyu‘ iyya fi Misr: Shahadat wa Ru’an. (From the History of the Communist Movement in Egypt: Witnesses and Visions). (Cairo: Markaz al-Buhuth al-‘Arabiyya. 2000. Vol. 3, p. 189. 23. Dasuqi and Labib, (2000), Vol. 3, p. 189. 24. Dasuqi and Labib, (2000), Vol. 3, pp. 190–1. 25. See the recollections of Sayyid ‘Abd al-Wahab, regarding peasant labor organizing in the Delta, and the use of labor magazines for circulation in the towns, in Dasuqi and Labib Ibid., Vol. 2. p. 39–40. 26. Sayyid ‘Abd al-Wahab, in Dasuqi and Labib Ibid., p. 47. 27. The comments of Sayyid ‘Abd al-Wahab, in Dasuqi and Labib Ibid., p. 41. 28. Dasuqi and Labib Ibid., Vol. 1, pp. 157, 191. 29. See Nu‘man ‘Ashur, al-Masrah Hayati. (Cairo: al-Qahira li-l-Thaqafa al-‘Arabiyya, 1975), pp. 56–8, 73. For the playwright ‘Ashur, his interest in socialism was formed in part from the writings of Salama Musa, and in part from the appeal in theatre of George Bernard Shaw and the idea of Fabianism as had been taught to Egyptian drama students by visiting drama teachers. It was during this period of transition at the end of the war that ‘Ashur could compare his growing critical awareness and experience in political committees with his preference for Trotsky’s advocacy of the arts as opposed to Stalin. 30. See for instance, Muhammad Yusuf Jundi, al-Yasar wa-l-Haraka al-Wataniyya fi Misr (1945–1950), (The Left and the Nationalist Movement in Egypt), (Cairo: Dar al-thaqafa al-jadida, 1996), p. 62. 31. ‘Ashmawi, Ibid., p. 117. 32. On the widespread use of this tactic see, ‘Ashmawi, Ibid., p. 40. 33. This point is well developed by Sayid ‘Ashmawi, Ibid., p. 40.

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34. As appraised by Samah Selim, (1997), p. 127, citing al-Sharqawi, al-’Ard, (The Earth), 1990, at p. 236, but at p. 236 in the 1984 edition I have consulted. 35. See the arts page of al-Ahram, December 25, 1953, p. 12. For a discussion of the Shell Oil strike by workers in the canal in 1947, see, Joel Beinin and Zachary Lockman, Workers on the Nile: Nationalism, Communism, Islam and the Egyptian Working Class 1882–1954. (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1987), pp. 384–5. 36. See the reproduction of As’ad Madhar’s Suwaq al-Iqta‘, in Muhammad Mustapha, Thawrat al-Fann al-Tashkili. (Revolution of the Plastic Art), Cairo: Dar al-qawm. p. 103. 37. Testimony before the Revolutionary Council inquest, as reported in al-Ahram, December 30, 1953, p. 12. 38. That al-Gazzar was referring to the death of Mustafa Khamis and Muhammad al-Baqari, for their involvement in the strikes at the non-unionized textile plants at Kafr al-Dawwar, see the discussion on this strike in Joel Beinin, Workers on the Nile Nationalism, Communism, Islam and the Egyptian Working Class, 1882–1954. Princeton, 1987, pp. 421–6. 39. Similarly, the direction of Hamed Uweis’ art, including his 1953 Factory Work, continued a directly sympathetic scene of a mass of workers leaving the factory. 40. The story of Adham al-Sharqawi, was enhanced as an oral epic inferring those who were killed and executed at Dinshaway. That the legend of Adham al-Sharqawi was manipulated and that it played against the rebellion of two women activists who murdered British soldiers has been taken up in the critical study of the role of the popular nationalist hero Adham al-Sharqawi, by Salah Eisa, Rijal Rayya wa Sakina (Raya and Sekina’s Men). More recently, the legend of Ibn ‘Arus, as a peasant poet of lore and legend, was the chosen name for a publisher of ‘ammiya poetry, and a play. 41. ‘Ashmawi, Ibid., p. 102, citing Sayyid Qutb’s article, ‘al-Dinshaway al-Jadid,’ al-Liwa’a , (The Banner) July 17, 1951, Issue no. 14, p. 7. 42. See, ‘Ashmawi, Ibid., (2000) p. 54. 43. As noted by Jacques Berque, Egypt: Imperialism and Revolution. (New York, 1972), pp. 237–8. 4 4. See Chapter Two, supra, for a reproduction and translation of this poem, and Roussillon, Ibid., pp. 192–3. 45. On an official tone to literary realism see Samah Selim, The Divided Subject, p. 135, and Edward al-Kharrat’s ‘The Mashriq,’ in Modern Literature in the Near and Middle East, ed. Robin Ostle, (New York, 1991), pp. 186–7. 46. See Ahmad Fu’ad Nigm, Suwar min al-Hayat wa-l-Sign, (Cairo, The Supreme Council of Arts and Literature, 1964), ff. pp. 25–6. 47. ‘Izz al-Din Najib, Fannanun wa-Shuhada: al-Fann al-Tashkili wa-Huquq al-Insan. (Artists and Martyrs: the Plastic Arts and Human Rights) (Cairo: Markaz al-Qahira li-dirasat huquq al-insan, 2000), p. 156. 48. See, Najib Surur, al-Trajidiyya al-Insaniyya: Shi‘r Najib Surur, 1952–1959, (The Human Tragedy: Poetry of Najib Surur, 1952–1959), (Cairo: Dar al-Katib al-‘Arabi li-Tiba‘a wa-l-Nashr. 1967). 49. For a comment on students of al-Sagini who continued to develop the tortured political prisoner theme, including Hasan Khalifah, see ‘Izz al-Din

Notes

50. 51. 52. 53.

54. 55. 56. 57. 58. 59. 60. 61.

62.

6 3. 64.

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Najib, Fannanun wa-Shuhada’: al-Fann al-Tashkili wa-Huquq al-Insan. (Cairo: Markaz al-Qahira li-dirasat huquq al-insan, 2000), pp. 235–42. A study of Surur’s translation of The Cherry Orchard, would offer insight into his negotiation between Chekov’s emphasis of directness and subtlety, as opposed to a Stanislavsky gloss of constant action and maneuvering of actors. See, Pierre Cachia, ‘Folk Themes in the Works of Najib Surur’, Arabic and Middle Eastern Literature Vol. 3, No. 2, (2000), pp. 195–204. See, Vladimir Nabokov, tr. Alexander Pushkin, Eugene Onegin: A Novel in Verse, Volume II, Commentary and Index, (Princeton, 1991), p. 234. These ellipsed references to censorship in Yasin and Bahiyya are at Scene XI, (p. 110), lines 18–20; p. 111, line 25 (parenthetical) and (p. 112), lines 6–8. Similarly a study of the rhyming patterns in Surur’s prologue may be made with Pushkin. See the biographical introduction on No‘man ‘Ashur, in Mahmoud El Lozy, tr. of No‘man Ashur, Give us our Money Back. Around this time, the storyteller was also a subject of a painting by ‘Abd al-Salam al-Sharif ’. See, Pierre Cachia, ‘Folk Themes in the Works of Najib Surur’, Arabic and Middle Eastern Literature Vol. 3, No. 2, (2000), pp. 195–204. On the emphatic inclusion and references to Upper Egyptian themes and culture, see, Isam Abu al-‘Ula, Masrah Najib Surur: al-Tawzif al-Dirami. (Theatre of Nagib Surur) (Cairo: Maktaba Madbouli, 1989), pp. 86–96. Kamal al-Din Husayn in his al-Masrah: wa-l-Taghyir al-Ijtima‘ i fi Misr, (The Theatre: and Social Change in Egypt), (Cairo: al-Dar al-Misriya al-Lubnaniya, 1992), p. 118. Sayyid Ali Isma’il. Athar al-Turath al-‘Arabi fi-l-Masrah al-Mu‘asir, (Influences of Arabic Heritage on Contemporary Theatre), (Cairo: Dar Qiba, 2000), p. 268. This same Upper Egyptian theme is recognized in Khayri Shabli’s al-Sha‘ ir Nagib Surur: Masrah al-Azma. (The Poet Nagib Surur: Theatre of the Crisis), (Cairo: al-Hay’a al-Misriyya al-‘Amma lil-Kitab, 1989), p. 46. Surur’s use of ajir,, synonymous with day laborer, or a piece worker, compares against the rise of new terms for migrant labor, which appeared by the early 1960s, notably tarawahin and tarahil. Ajir has a connotation of a casual, unskilled and highly exploited worker of servitude in the undermarket. My thanks to Professor Dirgham Sbait for his discussions with me on these distinctions. On the tarawahin, see the study by James Toth, Rural Labor Movements in Egypt and their Impact on the State, 1961–1992, (Gainesville, (1999). The quatrain of these four lines comprise an ‘ataba, a genre of sung folkpoetry, usually consisting of from four to eight lines, in which in this example, the first, second and third lines end in words of a similar form, but which vary in meaning. On the meaning and interpretation of this genre, my thanks to Prof. Dirgham Sbait and his dissertation, The Improvised-Sung Folk Poetry of the Palestinians. Ph.D. Dissertation. University of Washington, 1982, pp. 59–120. See, ‘Ashmawi, (2000) p. 120. Yasin wa Bahiyya, opening of Scene 8.

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65. My thanks to Professor Dirgham Sbait for pointing out the development and role of the gypsy in Palestinian literature of the late nineteenth and early twentieth century, as discussed in Tariq Abu Rajib, ‘al-Ghajar fi Falastin: Hadara wa Athara’ (The Gypsy in Palestine: Presence and Influence) part two, al-Mawakib, No. 5, 6, 1998, pp. 25–34. 66. A revered sufi saint, whose shrine at Tanta, in the Nile Delta is a great center of pilgrimage in Egypt, and an important center of festival and decorative arts. 67. Compare the lines reprinted in ‘Ashmawi, Ibid., p. 55, and Surur, Yasin and Bahiyya, Scene Four. 68. See al-Ahram, January 31, 1951, p. 6. 69. See the news coverage and photographs of Shahinda Maqlad’s organizing of protests against the delays of the inquest into her husband’s death, in al-Ahram, May 5, 1967. 70. On the use of arson by both sides, see ‘Ashmawi, Ibid., p. 165. 71. ‘Ashmawi, Ibid., p. 165. 72. ‘Ashmawi, Ibid., p. 191. 73. See, the article, ‘Wifa’at Rajul wa Tadmir Thalathun Manzilan fi Hariq bi-Balad Kum ‘Ali bi-l-Gharbiyya’ (Man dies and 30 residences destroyed in fire at village of Kum ‘Ali in Gharbiyya), in al-Ahram, January 1, 1951, p. 8. 74. I have relied here on James Toth, Rural Labor Movements in Egypt and their Impact on the State, 1961–1992. Gainesville: University Press of Florida, 1999. 75. ‘Isam al-Din Abu al-‘Ula, Masrah Najib Surur, (Theatre of Najib Surur) Cairo, Maktabat Madbuli, 1989, p. 99. 76. Ah Ya Qamar Ya Layl, pp. 59–60. 77. Act Three, p. 114. 78. Ibid., pp. 126–8. Surur inserts a contemporary criticism of the scandals from the 1960s of the American use of DDT in Vietnam and as exports of pesticide through the world. 79. Some of the genealogy of this political folk song is developed in ‘Ashmawi, Ibid., pp. 54–5. 80. ‘Abd al-Hakim Qasim, Ayyam al-Insan al-Sab‘a (The Seven Days of Man). Cairo: Dar al-Katib al-‘Arabi, n.d. 81. Kamal al-Mallakh, Gamal Es-Seguini, (Cairo, General Book Organization, 1985) p. 29. 82. It is noteworthy that Yunan’s emphasis on the Sultan Hassan mosque in his essay of 1966, evoked the earlier commentary of his Surrealist colleague, Kamal al-Tilmisani, who had similarly cited the form and splendor of its internal open square in his recollection of his first art exhibition at the 1937 Friedman salon. This had the effect of overturning the Orientalist model by reexamining the local arts as a source of a historical Egyptian Renaissance in late medieval or early modern Cairene architecture that rivaled that of Florence or Venice. See the reprint of the article, by al-Tilmisani in Samir Gharib, al-Surrialiyya fi Misr, (Cairo, 1986), pp 119–22. 83. Ramsis Yunan, ‘al-Yamin wa-l-Yasar fi-l-Fann,’ (The Right and the Left in the Art), al-Fikr al-Mu‘asir (Cairo) No. 13, March 1966, 32–8, p. 33.

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84. Yunan, Ibid., In another essay soon after this, Yunan continued his argument in a follow-up essay, ‘al-Haraka al-Fanniyya bayna al-Mahalliyya wa-l‘Alamiyya’ (The artistic movement between provincialism and globalism) al-Fikr al-Mu‘asir, (Cairo), no. 16, July 1966, 46–51. 85. See, Najib Surur, Ubirit Malik al-Shahatin, (Opera of the King of the Beggars) (originally produced in 1971), in, al-A‘mal al-Kamila, (The Complete Works), (Cairo, General Book Organization, 1995). 86. See Kamal Abdel-Malek, A Study of the Vernacular Poetry of Ahmad Fu’ad Nigm. (Leiden, 1990), pp. 32–3. 87. In 1964, Yunan wrote of the hidden context of Mahmud Sa‘id’s art. Ramsis Yunan, ‘al-Sura al-Usturiyya fi Mahmud Said,’ in Dirasat fi-l-Fann, pp. 178–9. 6  CONFLICTS IN THE ARTS OVER UPPER EGYPT: ‘ABD AL-HADI AL-GAZZAR AND HIS CONTEMPORARIES 1. ‘Atiyah, one of the lead characters in the third play of Surur’s Yasin and Bahiyya trilogy, loses his arm in an accident on the dam. See Nagib Surur, Qulu li-‘Ayn al-Shams (Tell the Eye of the Sun), (Cairo, 1973). pp. 66, 69. [Translation of excerpt by author] 2. Roel Meijer, Ibid., 2002). 3. On corporatism in Egypt as a strategy, see, Beinin and Lockman, (1987), pp. 431–7. 4. In an address on the role of the art museum, Muhammad Nagi lamented what he called the ‘shackled development of the education of the masses.’ See Muhammad Nagi, ‘Modern Art and the Paths of its Expression,’ circa 1950, reprinted in Naghi et al., Ibid., pp. 47–9. 5. See the publicity of the visit of the President to Hungary to an exhibition of paintings of the High Dam in the al-Ahram newspaper, February 10, 1966, p. 1, and the visit of peasants to the Museum of Art in Muhammad Salah, ‘Luhat wa Tamathil al-Fananin al-Kubar Tataharraku ila al-Fallahin,’ (Paintings and Sculptures of the Great Artists are Moving to the Peasants), al-Ahram, October 9, 1966. In a famous visit to Cairo in 1967, Jean Paul Sartre, was photographed viewing al-Gazzar’s The High Dam. 6. See, Gadamer (2003) p. 308. I use Gadamer here and note his critical reception by contemporary Egyptian writers, including Muhsin Muhammad ‘Atiya, Ghayat al-Fann: Dirsasat Falsafiyya wa Naqdiyya’, (The Aim of Art: Philosophical and Critical Studies), (1991). 7. Indeed, for Americans, the response of Egyptian artists and the state to agrarian labor conditions bears a resemblance to the positioning of the arts by the Farm Security Administration’s projects for documentary of farm and migrant labor in the 1930s, when migrancy caused by the Great Depression forced the state to respond to its crisis by hiring artists and photographers to create documentaries supporting the state’s management of labor camps. 8. On the recession, see James Toth, Rural Labor Movements in Egypt and their Impact on the State, 1961–1992. (Gainesville, Fla., 1999), p. 23. 9. On the recession of 1965, see Toth, Ibid., pp. 160–1.

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10. For a discussion of Kamshish, see Hamied Ansari, Egypt the Stalled Society, (Albany: State University of New York Press, 1986), pp. 19–56 and Appendix C, therein. 11. On the genre of the Egyptian village novel, see Selim, Ibid. 12. See, Toth, Ibid., pp. 39–46. 13. See Toth, Ibid., pp. 104–5, 117–21. 14. See James Toth, Ibid., p. 114. 15. On the planned use of migrant labor by the government, see the pamphlet issued by the United Arab Republic and Maslahat al-Isti‘lamat, Ithnayn Malyun Faddan (Two Million Feddans) Cairo, 1965. 16. Toth, Ibid., pp. 39–46. 17. On the state’s organization of Egyptian migrant workers, see ‘Atiya Sayrafi, ‘Ummal al-Tarahil. (The Migrant Workers), (Cairo: Dar al-thaqafa al-jadida, 1975). Originally written in 1964. Also see, Ruqayya Muhammad Murshidi Barakat, Mujtama‘ ‘Ummal al-Tarahil: Dirasa Taqyimiyya li-Mashru‘at al-Tanmiyya al-Ijtima‘ iyya. (The Organization of the Migrant Workers: An Evaluational Study for the Projects of Social Growth), Alexandria: Dar al-Ma‘rifa al-Jami‘iyya (1980). 18. The collection of these photographs is housed in the Kelsey Museum of Archaeology, at the University of Michigan. A catalogue is at http://www. umich.edu/~kelseydb/Exhibits/AncientNubia/PhotoIntro.html (accessed June 30, 2005). 19. See W. Willcocks, The Sudd Reservoir or Nature’s Provision of Perennial Irrigation and Flood Protection for the Whole of the Nile Valley, (Cairo, 1919), and as cited and interpreted by Tignor, Ibid., p. 194. 20. See Robert Tignor, ‘Nationalism, Economic Planning, and Development Projects in Interwar Egypt.’ The International Journal of African Historical Studies, Vol. 10, No. 2 (1977), pp. 185–208. See also Egypt, Ministry of Public Works, Nile Control, (Cairo, 1920). 21. See, Robert L. Tignor, Ibid., (1977), pp. 185–208. 22. Tignor, Ibid., (1977) pp. 185–208. 23. See Tignor, Ibid., (1977). 24. On the petition of the elders in Buhut in the late 1940s, see Sayyid, ‘Ashmawi, (2000). The marketing of water pumps by Shell Oil Company in advertisements on the arts page of al-Ahram in 1953, is also indicative of the link of a private capitalist control of the distribution of water pumps after the 1952 coup. The continuing threat of fire and shortage of fire fighting resources is notable in widespread occurrences of major fires at other towns, see, the report of the fire at Kum ‘Ali, near Tanta, ‘Wifa’at Rajul wa Tadmir Thalathun Manzilan fi Hariq bi-Balad Kum ‘Ali bi-l-Gharbiyya’ (Man dies and 30 residences destroyed in fire at village of Kum ‘Ali in Gharbiyya), in al-Ahram, January 1, 1951, p. 8. 25. The decision to explore the possibility of building the High Dam, took place on October 8, 1952 at a meeting of the National Revolution Council. See the introduction in the booklet of the Aswan High Dam Authority, Aswan High Dam: Diversion of the Nile, Cairo, (May 1964), no page number. 26. The original Old Aswan Dam, completed between 1898 and 1902, was built of granite rubble masonry and an ashlar masonry facing. The dam was heightened

Notes

27. 28. 29. 30.

31.

3 2. 33. 34. 35. 36. 37. 38. 39. 40.

41.

219

twice in 1931 and 1954. During this final extension, a survey revealed the porous weakening of the dam, which resulted in the engineering fix in 1959 of a vertical grout curtain along the entire length of the dam from its foundation upwards. In the 1980s a technical study of the seismic condition of the old dam, is found in Vladimir Novokshchenov, ‘Old Aswan Dam: Standing the Test of Time,’ Civil Engineering, October 1997: Vol. 67, No. 10, pp. 77–9. See al-Ahram, December 18, 1953 . See, Fathy Ahmad, Egyptian Graphic Art, (1985), p. 227. Indeed it is possible Ahmad’s The Construction, is a tribute to Aflatun, who had been imprisoned for political reasons at about the time Fathy was completing this print. Ahmad (b. 1939) enjoyed considerable prestige as one of Egypt’s foremost graphic artists. The teaching of graphic arts as an adjunct to the expansive publishing industry in Egypt had been instituted through the founding of the College of Printing in 1909, and had been introduced at the School of Fine Arts in 1934, by the European artist Bernard Rhys. After Ahmad graduated in 1964, he became a professor at the graphic arts department at the School of Fine Arts. Ahmad’s book, Egyptian Graphic Art, acknowledged the place of numerous graphics artists from the 1930s and 1940s who preceded him, notably Husayn Fawzi and Nahmia Sa‘ad. Ahmad’s shift to what he called his symbolist phase after 1964, arose during the period in the arts when the use of the subversive and the symbolic were increasingly developed by artists critical of the state. The best source on Fathi Ahmad’s career is his own book, Egyptian Graphic Art, (Cairo, 1985), in Arabic, Fann al-Jirafik al-Misri, which includes a brief chapter on his own works, including his 1963, linocut of the Aswan Dam construction, al-bina’. al-Ahram, October 12, 1963. On the manipulation of figurative speech in historical discourse, see Hayden White, Tropics of Discourse: Essays in Cultural Criticism, (Baltimore, 1978), p. 105. ‘See al-Ahram, October 12, 1963. Dated circa early 1960s. See, Karnouk, (1995) p. 32. See, Karnouk, (1995) pp. 66–8. See Karnouk (1988) p. 56. Naef, (1996) p. 95. In part this view of al-Gazzar arose from his receipt of the government’s art prize in 1964. Iskandar et al., Thamanun Sana min al-Fann, (Eighty Years of Art), Cairo: al-Hay’a al-Misriyya al-’Amma li-l-Kitab, 1991, p. 187. On the pedagogic layout of the Modern Museum of Art see the reported dialogue of a group of peasants being shown the works of great artists, like Mahmud Sa‘id, and Salah ‘Abd al-Karim, at the Museum of Modern Art in Cairo, in the article by Muhammad Salah, Luhat wa Tamathil al-Fananin al-Kubar, in al-Ahram, October 9, 1966. See Roussillon, (1990), pp. 79–80. Roussillon adhered to 1952 as a starting point for the arts, and underemphasized the considerable dissent among avant-garde artists of 1939–40s against the elites including Mahmud Khalil, president of the Art Connoisseurs Society.

220 4 2. 43. 4 4. 45.

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Roussillon, (1990), pp. 78–9. See, Amira El-Azhary Sonbol, The New Mamluks. (Syracuse, 2000), 149–50. See Figure 37, Jathabiyya Sirry, Motherhood, 1952 al-Gazzar’s references to the genuflected workers in Bruegel’s Tower of Babel, seems appropriate here. 46. See the insightful observations by Sonbol, Ibid., p. 150. 47. Sonbol, Ibid. 48. See also Sonbol, Ibid., p. 150. 49. See Figure 36, Gamal al-Sagini, The Tree of Life (1962) 50. See the photographic essay and representation of tarahil migrant encampments along the banks of the irrigation canals near Qena in Upper Egypt, in al-Ahram, January 12, 1966, p. 7. 51. Al-Gazzar borrowed from Muhammad Nagi’s historical compositions as a solution of arrangement in presenting an allegory of state and society. This compositional influence is also reflected in al-Gazzar’s 1964 painting The Peace, in which he liberally copied the compositional and symbolic references of Muhammad Nagi’s, monumental mural painting, School of Alexandria (1952). 52. On the reemergence of the boll weevil as a crisis in May of 1961, see Toth (1999) p. 110. 53. Toth (1999) pp. 104–5, 117–21. 54. Toth (1999) 111–12. 55. This same theme is explored and implied in another of al-Gazzar’s paintings from 1964, The Search for the Unknown, and alternately entitled The Tower. With its structure of towering interlinking chains it explores the theme of alienation between men and women and the machineries of capitalism and the state. The alternate title, The Tower has been interpreted as the product of people who have constructed a Tower of Babel out of their instruments of machinery, in which they are left searching for the unknown or the missing. We see an elaborate edifice or tower of chains drawn tightly upon itself, encasing or entombing one or more of the figures, in a most disconcerting and upsetting scene. Interestingly, Sharuni’s suggests this as a metaphor of The Tower of Babel, (1563). See Subhi Sharuni, (1964), p. 132. 56. al-Ahram March 9, 1966 57. al-Ahram, February 10, 1966, p. 1. 58. See the report of proceedings, ‘Financing of Aswan High Dam in Egypt,’ Hearing before the Committee on Appropriations, United States Senate, Eighty-fourth Congress, second session. January 26, 1956. 59. Public Relations Dept., al-Mu’assasa al-Misriyya al-‘Amma li-l-Istislah al-’Ardiyya (Egyptian Institute for Land Reform), Replies to United Nations questionnaire on agrarian reform in the Egyptian Region. Cairo, 1961. 60. Ministry of Information, Assouan: La Ville des Nouvelles Réalisations Plus Grandioses que les Obélisques et les Pyramides. Cairo, 1961. 61. Ministry of Information, Assouan. pp 6–7. 62. See the pamphlet of Ministry of Information, Aswan: Governate of Work and Struggle., Cairo, 1964. A similar pamphlet was issued by the Aswan High Dam Authority, Aswan High Dam: Diversion of the Nile. Cairo. May 1964. 63. See the reproduction of this work and brief biography of Sabra Sulayman Higazi, in Fathy Ahmad’s Fann al-Jirafik al-Misri (Egyptian Graphic Art),

Notes

6 4. 65.

6 6. 67. 68. 69. 7 0. 71.

72.

73.

74.

75. 76. 7 7. 78. 79.

221

(Cairo, 1985), pp. 267–9. In the periodization of works presented in Ahmad’s book, this particular print appears to date from the mid-1960s. See James Toth, Ibid., (1999), p. 116, citing to al-Ahram, January 12, 1963. See, the article ‘With Those Who Work Day and Night to Transform the Basin Land into Perennial Irrigation,’ and photographs of the tent encampments of tarahil migrants working on canal building for land reclamation projects in al-Ahram, January 12, 1966, p. 7. This is a central point raised and explained by James Toth, Ibid., (1999). al-Ahram, January 12, 1966. Surur also used the ants metaphor for the experience of workers on the Aswan dam in his play, Tell the Eye of the Sun. al-Ahram, January 12, 1966. On this contrarian role of ‘ammiyya or dialect poetry set against the classicism of the palaces, see the critical essay at the back of Jahin’s collection of poems, Min al-Qamar wa-l-Tin. (Of the Moon and the Earth), (Cairo, 1961), p. 163. Salah Jahin, (1961) p 130. The consequences for those arrested was provided in the memoirs of ‘Atiyat al-Abnudi, a stage actress and documentary film producer, and reveals the milieu of social connection and political commitment of those incarcerated by the state. On the Kamshish affair, see Sayyid ‘Ashmawi, Ibid., (2000), and the documentary film by Rached, Tahani. Four Women of Egypt. National Film Board of Canada 1997 for its interview of Shahinda Maqlad, Salah Husayn’s widow. The appendix of documents of government surveillance on Salah Husayn is in Hamed Ansari’s Egypt: The Stalled Society. (Albany, State University of New York Press, 1986). The memorial for Husayn was delayed until the following after the killing, and was covered by al-Ahram, May 5, 1966. The trial of the al-Fiqri family was delayed for over a year. On the labor strike at Kafr al-Dawwar see, Beinin and Lockman, (1987). See the insightful article comparing the relation of the two texts to each other by Céza Kassem-Draz, ‘Opaque and Transparent Discourse: A Contrastive Analysis of the “Star of August” and “The Man of the High Dam”’ by Sun’allah Ibrahim,’ Alif: Journal of Comparative Poetics, No. 2, (Spring, 1982), pp. 32–50. The inclusion of ‘Abd al-Rahman al-Abnudi’s Song to the High Dam, in a work published in January of 1967, followed his release from imprisonment with Fu’ad during the fall of 1966. His first volume of poems in 1964, The Land and the Children, illustrated by Nabil Tag, had been censored and delayed in its publication. The lines from al-Abnudi’s poem, ‘I feel that the arm of dam needs some of my blood,’ were adapted by Surur in his third play of his trilogy, Tell the Eye of the Sun, whose character Atiya loses his arm in an accident on the dam. Ibrahim, Sun’allah, Kamal al-Qilish, and Ra’uf Mas’ud, Insan al-Sadd al-‘Ali, (The Man of the High Dam). (Cairo, 1967), p. 8. It is interesting to note the controversy surrounding Yusuf Chahin’s delayed short film on the Aswan Dam, which had apparently inferred a homosexual relationship between an Egyptian worker and a Russian manager. Ibrahim, et al., (1967) p. 14. Ibrahim, et al., (1967) p. 15. Ibrahim, Star of August, (1974) p. 72.

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8 0. Ibrahim (1974) p. 69. 81. Ibrahim (1974), p. 67 82. Ibrahim (1974), p. 41. 83. This format copied the structure and layout of the official publications, including Aswan. 84. Ibrahim (1974),pp. 59–60. 85. Kassem-Draz has attributed the publishing date of Ibrahim’s Najma Agustus as 1970, but the first edition which appeared in Damascus in 1974, and on which I have relied, includes an afterword by Ibrahim himself as having completed the novel in January of 1974. Thus the writing took four years longer than has been suggested . This edition, also lacks the alternating bold highlighting on some of the dialogue which apparently, Kassem-Draz’s 1976 edition contains. This is interesting, in that afterward Ibrahim is emphatic that the first text was a collaborative effort of a sponsored trip with other artists to the High Dam. 86. Ibrahim, (1974) pp. 69–73. 87. Ibrahim (1974) pp. 69–73. 88. Ibrahim (1974) p. 75. 89. Ibrahim (1974) p. 73. 90. See Kassem-Draz, p. 48. 91. See, Kassem-Draz, p. 47. The first edition I have relied upon from 1974, printed in Damascus, does not include the use of bolded text to differentiate dialogue as appeared in the edition consulted by Kassem-Draz. 92. Ibrahim, (1974), p. 22. 93. Ibrahim, (1974), pp. 23–4. 94. Photos of these floating cranes appeared in a 1964 pamphlet of the Aswan High Dam Authority. 95. Sun’allah Ibrahim, Najma Agustus (Damascus, 1974), pp. 233–4. (Translation by author) 96. It is unfortunate that the Museum of Modern Art in Cairo permanently displays only one of al-Sagini’s sculptures. Research into the collection’s emphasis and relation of the artist to the state which may have affected this collection may be needed. In the early 1970s al-Sagini moved to Spain where he died in 1976. CONCLUSION 1. See the critique of Anderson in Partha Chatterjee, The Nation and Its Fragments: Colonial and Postcolonial Histories (Princeton, 1993), p. 7. This is the suggested notion of a unison between print-capitalism and education as determinative of anti-colonial nationalist discourse, in Benedict Anderson, Imagined Communities: Reflections on the Origin and Spread of Nationalism (London, 1983). 2. On the Second Nahda in the arts, see ‘Izz al-Din Najib, Ibid., (1997), pp. 85–103. 3. Some, including Kamal al-Mallakh, Thamanun Sana min al-Fann, (80 Years of Art), p. 115., date the death of the sculptor Mahmud Mukhtar in 1934, as the demarcation of the rise of the generation of rebellion in the arts.

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4. Yunan, Ibid., pp. 280–28. 5. Ramsis Yunan, ’Usul al-Naqd fi-l-Fann al-Tashkili (The Sources of Criticism in the Plastic Arts) reprinted in Dirasat fi-l-Fann, pp. 286–96. Originally printed in al-Fikr al-Mu‘asir, December 1966. 6. Yunan, Ibid., p. 286. 7. Yunan, Ibid., p. 286. 8. Yunan, Ibid., p. 294. 9. Yunan, Ibid., p. 294. 10. Yunan, Ibid., pp. 295–6 11. On Zakaria al-Zayni, see, ‘Izz al-Din Najib, Ibid., (2000), pp. 221–7. 12. See the review of Nasr El-Din’s work at http://www.moataznasr.com/ expo/2001/ cairo-biennale/ 13. For a proponent of the global art market as presenting a conflict against the nationalist paradigm, see Winegar, Ibid. A re-emphasis on the art market and a revival of the patronage model of art history was critiqued by Maymanah Farhat in her article on the rise of international art institutions and Gulf art collectors. This resilience and provocation in the arts mitigates against arguments prevalent in post-colonial theories that the art market and globalism delimit the production of art. Maymanah Farhat, ‘Christie’s and the Rush to “Discover” the Arab World: Depoliticizing Arab Art,’ Counterpunch, on-line edition, December 2/3, 2006.

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Index 1967 War, the, 2, 16, 17, 51, 69, 100, 107, 136–7, 147–8, 176 ‘Abd al-Bari, Muhammad, 1, 22–4, 32, 112 ‘Abd al-Hayy, ‘Abd al-Badi‘, 47 ‘Abd al-Karim, Salah, 106–7 ‘Abd al-Majid, Najati, 118 ‘Abd al-Raziq, Mustafa, 10 ‘Abduh, Muhammad, 10 al-Abnudi, ‘Abd al-Rahman, 164–5 al-Abnudi, ‘Attiyat, 98, 116 Academy of Fine Arts, the (Kulliyat al-Funun al-Jamila), 2, 13, 23, 48, 69 Egyptian School of Higher Fine Arts, the (Madrasat al-Funun al-Jamila al-Misriyya), 23 School of the Fine Arts, the (Madrasat al-Funun al-Jamila al-‘Aliya), 26 Royal College for the Fine Arts, the (al-Kulliya al-Malakiyya li-l-Funun al-Jamila), 26, 69 School for Fine Arts, the (al-Madrasa al-‘Aliya li-l-Funun al-Jamila), 69 aesthetics, 1–20, 173–8 Egyptian, 1–3, 10–17 Ottoman, 13, 14 Orientalist, 6–7, 8–9 and politics, 8, 10–15, 173–8 al-‘Afifi, Yusuf, 35–6 Aflatun, Inji, 68, 70, 143–4 Aga-Oglu, Mehmet, 5–6 Ahmad, Fathy, 144–5 Ali, Muhammad, 157 Ali, Wijdan, 12–14 Amin, Husayn Yusuf, 1, 35, 49, 56, 62, 65, 67, 69 al-‘Amrusi, Ahmad Fahmi, 33 Anderson, Benedict, 173 al-Aqqad, ‘Abbas Mahmud, 31, 35, 46, 54 Art and Liberty Group, 57, 58–60, 143 Art Connoisseurs Society, 32, 48 art history, 14, 46 Islamic, 3, 7–8 Orientalist, 6, 8

el-Aswad, el-Sayyed, 83, 95 ‘Ashmawi, Sayyid, xxiv, 48, 116, 173 ‘Ashur, Nu’man, 68, 69–70, 88, 118 Aswan Dam, the, 16, 139–41 colonial phase, 142–3 in Yasin and Bahiyya, 129, 136 Nasser’s project for, 143–8 authoritarianism, 51, 57, 64 Awad, Lewis, 3–4 ‘Ayub, Labib, 36 Azar, Aimé, 15, 56, 59, 61 Bank Misr, 9 Bank of Financial Assistance, 9 al-Banna, Hassan, 37, 62–3, 67, 73 al-Baqari, Muhammad, 123 Baudelaire, Charles, 11, 59 Blair, Sheila, 5 Bloom, Jonathan, 5 Brecht, Bertolt, 127 Breton, André, 56 Breugel, Pieter, 155–6 Buhut, 5, 16, 111–38, 143 Badrawi family, and, 113–14, 116, 117, 130, 132–3 143 conditions of peasant struggles in, 16, 111, 133 inquest into massacre in, 111, 121, 122–3 torching by landowners of, 132 al-Bustawisa, ‘Abd al-‘Al, 117 capitalism, 2, 11, 16, 23, 141, 143, 173–4 critique of, 2–3, 8, 55–6, 60, 74–5, 112, 113, 119, 136, 176 land, 16 Cachia, Pierre, 127 Carter, Howard, 29 Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), 4 Chatterjee, Partha, 174 Chekhov, Anton, 125–6 Cholera, 63-64 Contemporary Art Group, xxv, 1–3, 18–19, 49, 60, 62, 70, 78, 82

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The Politics of Art in Modern Egypt

Sufism, and, 92–4 al-Sagini, and, 108 Committee to Spread the New Culture, 70 communism, 74–5 communists, 2, 22, 62, 70, 117–18 cooperatives, 2, 21, 22–5 corporatism, 2, 15–17, 18–19, 23–5, 163, 171 cosmology, 64, 95 cosmopolitanism, xxiv, 59, 126, 175 Costa, Xavier, 82 Courbet, Gustave, 80 Creswell, K.A.C., 4–5, 89 Croce, Benedetto, 25, 46 Cromer, Earl of, 7, 157 degenerate art, 56–8, 60 Dennison, John, 74 Dinshaway Incident, 122–3, 151 Drama, 4, 125, 126 Duveyrier, Henri, 83 Egyptian Institute for Arts Studies in Rome, the, 33 Egyptian School of Fine Arts, the (Madrasat al-Funun al-Jamila al-Misriyya) see Academy of Fine Arts, the, 7, 26 Elites, xiii-xv, 12, 13, 14, 22, 24, 25, 27, 32, 33–4, 79, 173–4 Essayists, 56 Eurocentrism, 8, 48 Evans-Pritchard, E.F., 87 al-Fajr al-Jadid (New Dawn), 69, 118 Fahmi, ‘Aziz Ahmad, 57–9 Faraj, Mansur, 46, 106 Farhat, Ammar, 9 Faruq (King of Egypt), 4, 32, 51 al-Faruqi, Lois, 5, 6 fascism , 16, 17–18, 22, 25, 32–3, 53–5, 62 Fasi, Mustafa, 9 festivals (mawlids), 80-91, 94, 96–8, 108–9 Freud, Sigmund, 59, 174 Friends of Mukhtar, 47 Fu’ad I (King of Egypt), 4, 32, 51 Fu’ad, Ahmad, 103 Fu’ad, Hasan, 70, 113–14, 120, 125 Gadamer, Hans-Georg, 82 al-Gazzar, ‘Abdullah, 62 al-Gazzar, ‘Abd al-Hadi Buhut massacre, and, 112–16, 121–3

collaboration with Gamal al-Sagini, 104–7 Contemporary Art Group, and, 18-19, 49, 62–9, 136–7, 175–6 development as artist, 15, 36, 62 popular arts, and, 94–9 Hafr Qanat al-Suis (Digging of the Suez Canal), 152–3 al-Mithaq (The Charter), 43, 146–52 obituary of, 155 philosophy and Sufism, and, 74–7, 121, 175–6 poetry, 73–4 al-Sadd al-‘Ali (The High Dam), 154–5, 167–8, 170 scholarship on, 14, 15 The Past, the Present and the Future, 71–2, 121 Upper Egypt, and, 139, 146–9, 151–7, 163–4, 167–71 Gentile, Giovanni, 17, 24–5, 33 Gramsci, Antonio, 19 Gurgi, Habib, 18, 35, 37, 118 Guttuso, Renato, 50 Haddad, Tahar, 9 Haganah corps, 114 Hamam, Yusuf, 55 Hamuda, Muhammad ‘Iz al-Din Mustafa, 99 Haqqi, Mahmud Tahir, 68, 123 Haqqi, Yahya, 68, 137 Harb, Tala‘at., 31 Hasan, Ibrahim, 63, 67 Hasan, Muhammad, 26, 33, 46 Hasan, Zaki Muhammad, 6, 54 Hashami, Taha, 41 Hashem, Mohamed, 177 Haykal, Muhammad Husayn, 34–5 Henein, Georges, xxiv, 49, 56-58, 60, 69, 79 Hijazi, ‘Izzat, 116 Hijazi, Sabri Sulayman, 158 Historical Studies Association,the, 71 Husayn, Ahmad, 33 Husayn, Taha, 24, 37–8 Hussein, Ahmad, 18 Ibrahim, Sun’allah, 17, 20, 140, 162, 164–9 Idris, Yusuf, 159 ‘Inan, Abdullah, 41 Institute of Art Education, the (Ma‘ had al-Tarbiyya al-Fanniyya), 2

Index islamic art, 5–6, islamism, 3, 176 Isma‘il, Sayyid Ali,127 Jahin (aka Chahine), Salah, 98, 116, 161 al-Jawil, Jilal, 155–6 Kamal, Prince Yusuf, 26, 48 Kamil, Anwar, 57–9, 79 Kamil, Fu’ad, 36, 79 Kamil, Yusuf, 26 Kamshish, Egypt, 16, 112, 132 Karnouk, Liliane, 14, 147 Kassem-Draz, Ceza, 162, 165–6 Kefaya (Enough), 177–8 al-Khadim, Sa‘ad, 58, 145–6 Khalifah, Rabi‘ Hamid, 15 Khalil, Mahmud, 17, 22, 32, 45–6, 48, 51–3, 57 Khamis, Muhammad, 123 Koselleck, Reinhard, 14 Kulliyat al-Funun al-Jamila, see Academy of Fine Arts, the al-Kulliya al-Malakiyya li-l-Funun al-Jamila, see Academy of Fine Arts, the Labib, Fakhry, 63 Lacoss, Donald, 57, 174 landlords and landholders, 1, 16, 18, 19, 20, 34, 86, 111–38 Lautréamont, Comte de, 59 Lawrence, T.E., 7 Ma‘dawi, Anwar, 50 Madden, Edward, 5 Madhar, As’ad, 119 al-Madrasa al-‘Aliya li-l-Funun al-Jamila, see Academy of Fine Arts, the Madrasat al-Funun al-Jamila al-‘Aliya, see Academy of Fine Arts, the Madrasat al-Funun al-Jamila al-Misriyya, see Academy of Fine Arts, the Madrasat al-Mu‘allimin al-‘Ulya, see Teachers’ College, the Ma‘ had al-Tarbiyya al-Fanniyya, see Institute of Art Education al-Mallakh, Kamal, 36 Maqlad Salah Husayn, 112, 140, 161 Maqlad, Shahinda, 134 Marx, Karl, 59, 174 Marxism, 3, 18, 60 Mas‘ud, Rauf, 162 Mas‘udah, Ibrahim, 58

245

mawlids, see festivals al-Mazini, Ibrahim ‘Abd al-Qadir, 31 McPherson, J.W., 81–8 Meijer, Roel, xxiv, 171 Michelangelo, 168–9 Millet, Jean-François, 54, 80 Ministry of Education (in Egypt), 22, 24 Ministry of Interior, (in Egypt), 87 Misr al-Fatah (Young Egypt), 22, 54, 55 Misr Spinning and Weaving Company, 177 Modernism, xxiv, 2, 14, 140, 170–1 Monet, Claude, 7, 28 Moore, Henry, 1, 53 Mossadegh, Mohammad, 4 Mukhtar, Mahmud, 13, 28-31, 36, 61, 149, 168 Munch, Edward, 65 Munsi, Rashad, 144 Mursi, Ahmad, 78 Musa, Salama, 70 Museum of Egyptian Modern Art, the, 147 Muslim Brothers, the, 2, 10, 16, 18–19, 22, 24, 62, 65, 73, 123 activism in the Delta, 117–18 al-Gazzar, and, 65, 71, 121 festivals, 81 use of images, 61 Young Men’s Muslim Association, 63, 69 youth organizations, 37 Mussolini, Benito, 33, 57 Nada, Hamid, 14, 36, 62, 67, 71, 78, 93, 95, 103, 123–4 Naef, Sylvie, 13–14, 147 Nagi, ‘Iffat, 64 Nagi, Muhammad, 1, 7, 13, 28, 34 director, as, 17 family, and, 38, 42, 48, 64 philosophy and politics, and, 21–5, 37, 45, 56, 61, 149 aristocratic status, 26–7 diplomat and cultural attaché, as, 38–42, 44 School of Alexandria, and, 43, 49 National Unity, and, 50 Nahda context of, xxiii, 1 counter-modernism, as, 12 interpretations of, 13–14, 22–3, nationalism, and, 61 Second, 2, 173 sculptural representation of, 29–31

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The Politics of Art in Modern Egypt

al-Nahhas, Mustafa, 32, 53 al-Nahhas, Zaynab, 63 Najib, ‘Izz al-Din, 15, 28 Nasser, Gamal ‘Abdel, 15–16, 71, 143–8, 173 Nasr El-Din, Moataz, 176 Nationalism, 16 new intellectuals, the, 2 Nigm, Ahmad Fu’ad, 124–5, 137 Occidentalism, 7 Orientalism, 3 Anglo-American, 3 New/Neo-, 3, 59 Orientalists, 5, 9 Pope, Arthur Upham, 4 Pushkin, Alexander, 126 Qasim, ‘Abd al-Hakim, 85, 136 al-Qilish, Kamal , 162 Qutb, Sayyid, xxiv, 71 Battle of Islam and Capitalism, 8, 112 Buhut massacre, and, d21 philosophy of, 74–5 trial and execution of, 140, 158 Rafi‘, Samir, 91–3 Ra’if, Ahmad Mahir, 93, 124 Rida, Shaykh Muhammad Rashid, 41 Rimbaud, Arthur, 59 Roussillon, Alain, 60, 67, 78, 147 Roussillon, Christine, 78 Royal College for the Fine Arts, the (al-Kulliyya al-Malakiyya li-l-Funun al-Jamila), see Academy of Fine Arts, the Ruthven, Malise, 7–8 Sa‘ad, Nahmia, 9–10, 46 Sabbagh, Amin, 63 Sabry, Ahmad, 26 Sadat, Anwar, 17, 67, 176 Sadawi, Nawal, 70 al-Sagini, Gamal, 14 art after 1952, 46 Contemporary Art Group, and, 19 festivals in art of, 94, 99-109 satire of Mahmud Khalil, and, 51–2 Simple People, 16, 106, 170 Tree of Destiny, 150–2 Sa‘id, Mahmud, 17 al-Zar (The Visitation), 82

aristocratic status of, 26–7 style of, 51, 55 al-Sa‘id, Rifa’at, 116 Sanusiyya, 38 Sawt al-Talib (Vice of the Student), 68 al-Sayyid, Husayn ‘Abdallah, 60 School of Higher Fine Arts, the (Madrasat al-Funun al-Jamila al-‘Aliya), see Academy of Fine Arts, the School for Fine Arts, the (al-Madrasa al-‘Aliya li-l-Funun al-Jamila) see Academy of Fine Arts, the Selassie, Haile, 39–41 Shabout, Nada, 14 al-Shal, ‘Abd al-Ghani al-Nabawi, 83 Sha‘rawi, Huda, 30 al-Sharqawi, ‘Abd al-Rahman, 112–14, 118–19, 124–5, 132 al-Sharqawi, Adham, 121–2, 131 al-Sharuni, Subhi, 49, 67 Shaw, George Bernard, 70 Shawqi, Ahmad, 123 Shell Oil Company, 119–20 Sidqi, ‘Abd al-Rahman, 55 Siraj al-Din, Fu’ad, 117, 121 Smith, Myron, 5 Sonbol, Amina, 148, 171 southern question and Upper Egypt, xxiv, xxvi, 157, 161 Sufis and Sufism, xxiv, 87, 91–6, 175 Sulayman, Shafiq Raziq 35 Surrealism, Egyptian, xxiv, 1–2, 13–14, 34, 47, 49, 59–60, 79–80 al-Gazzar’s relation with, 66 Surur, Nagib, 15 Ah Ya Qamar ya Layl (Oh Night, Oh Moon), 134 King of the Beggars Opera, 136 Qulu li-Ayn Shams (Tell the Eye of the Sun), 136 Yasin and Bahiyya , 20, 111, 114–16, 123–35, 143 Susa, Nasri ‘Ata Allah, 58 tarahil, (migrant workers), 20, 140, 141, 152, 158, 159–60 al-Tatawwur (Development), 58 al-Tilmisani, Kamil , 53, 570 59, 91 al-Tunisi, Bayram, 55 Teachers’ College (Madrasat al-Mu‘allimin al-‘Ulya), 2, 35

Index ‘Uways, Muhammad Hamid, xxv, 69 Wafd Party, the, 29–32, 53–6 Wilber, Donald, 4–5 Yunan, Ramsis, xxv, 1, 3–4, 15 Al-Fann fi-l-‘Asr al-Tharri (Art in the Atomic Age), 12 death of, 137 development as an artist, 36 Dirasat fi-l-Fann (Studies in Art), and, 4 final essays of, 137

247

Ghayat al-Rassam al-‘Asri (The Aim of the Contemporary Artist), 19 Harakat al-Siriyalizm (The Surrealist Movement), 59 philosophy and politics of, 21–2, 24, 44, 49, 51–5, 60, 79, 80, 119, 175 teacher, as a, 37 Yusuf, Kamil, 26, 27, 58, 93, 98 Zaghlul, Sa‘ad, 29, 31–2 al-Zayni, Zakariya, 108, 176 Zu‘luk, Malak, 116