Define your generation here. Generation What
Tips from the culture desk: 2 film festivals, 2 art openings, 1 midday album launch
Courtesy: Setareh Shahbazi

To celebrate its 140th birthday, Al-Ahram exhibits part of its massive art collection at the bottom of its downtown Cairo headquarters on Galaa Street. It’s unclear how long the show will be on display for, but it opens on April 16 at 7 pm. It’s called Visual Memory and is said to include works by big names of older and bygone generations, like Mahmoud Said, Ragheb Ayad, Salah Taher, Gazbia Sirry and Inji Aflatoun.

After that, you could head over to the Geneina Theater in Al-Azhar Park for the much-anticipated Alif concert.

On Wednesday, perhaps after going to the exhibition openings at Gypsum Gallery and the Contemporary Image Collective, do come to our Playlist Wednesday if you feel like it. Indie rock musician Omar Foda is orchestrating the playlist, and from 8-10 it’s buy-one-get-one-free on anything local. On Thursday at 6 pm, novelist Bahaa Abdelmegid (Temple Bar) talks about how his travel experiences in Europe have influenced his writing at the Netherlands-Flemish Institute in Cairo (free).

Rencontres de l’image (starts Monday) and Ismailia Film Festival (starts Wednesday)

We’re lucky to have two very respectable film festivals happening in one week.

The 12th edition of the French Institute’s film festival Rencontres de l’image takes place this week at the institute in Mounira, featuring 32 Egyptian films in competition, in addition to talks, panels and other screenings. As usual, they’ve chosen a strong and interesting jury: film scholar and Mada writer Nour El-Safoury, director Ahmad Abdalla and director Mohamed Shawky Hassan.

Find the screening program here and the panel discussion program here.

The 18th Ismailia Film Festival for short and documentary films kicks off this week as a joint initiative between the Culture Ministry, the National Film Center and Ismailia governorate. The festival is a local favorite among filmmakers, with many film enthusiasts flocking to the canal city to enjoy the screenings and take in the atmosphere.

See the website here (though it doesn’t yet have the program).

Abdallah Miniawy album launch – Tuesday

Talented young musician Abdallah Miniawy, who hails from Fayoum and is known for his spritual-sounding poetry, trumpet-playing and slow chant-like vocals, is launching his new album Attempts of the Middle: A Riot, a Fall and a Shrine in a most unconventional way. He’s hosting the launch event at Zawya cinema in the middle of the day. The event promises an audio-visual experience devised by Miniawy, and the album itself promises an atmospheric mix of jazz, hip-hop, slamming and chant.

3 pm, April 19 at Zawya, behind Cinema Odeon, downtown Cairo.

Setarah Shahbazi’s Binary is a False Idol – opens Wednesday

Gypsum Gallery launched in November 2013 with a solo show by Setarah Shahbazi, and now she’s back for her second exhibition after a busy interim period for both the artist and the space. Binary is a False Idol continues Shahbazi’s tender manipulations of the digital image: found and created photographic images are Photoshopped according to a rigorous system to produce colorful prints in which figurative elements float above grids and checkerboards. The results are bold, stylish and sometimes nostagically haunted.

Opens 7 pm, April 20, runs through May 24. Free entry. See Facebook event here. 5 Ibrahim Naguib St., Ground Floor, Apt. 2, Garden City, Cairo.

Chronic: On psychological exhaustion as a public state – opens Wednesday

The six-week program titled Chronic is the second part of If Not For That Wall, CIC’s long-term project on forms of imprisonment, after last year’s exhibition Greetings to Those Who Asked About Me. An exhibition, film program, talks and book readings question the power of differentiation between the “sane” and the “pathological,” using psychological exhaustion as an entry point to examine our sociopolitical realities and engage with the trauma and haunting caused by conflict and forced exclusion. It visits historical blind spots through the suffering of people exposed to violence, occupation and imprisonment, arguing that the exclusion and deprivation of personal rights in the history of psychiatric institutions are echoed in families, schools and workplaces.

The exhibition includes works by the late Italian experimental filmmaker Alberto Grifi, artist Dora Garcia (who has represented Spain at the Venice Biennale), Egyptian filmmaker Mohammad Shawky Hassan, Swiss artist Uriel Orlow (who has a long history of working with CIC) and a mysterious group called The Abbasseya Outsiders.

Opens at 7 pm on April 20, runs through June 4, open 12 – 9 pm daily except Friday. Free entry. See Facebook event here, where updates about the program will be posted.

The last week of D-CAF highlights

Cairo’s Downtown Contemporary Arts Festival ends on Friday. Where Can I Find Someone Like You Ali? plays at 6 pm on Saturday and 8 pm on Sunday at The GrEEK Campus Gym. Directed by Lina Abyad and written and performed by Raeda Taha, it received great acclaim in Lebanon last year (reserve by emailing ​It’s the last week to catch Tania al-Khoury’s Gardens Speak, an interactive sound installation collecting oral histories of people buried by family and friends in Syrian gardens during the ongoing war. On your way, pop by the visual arts exhibition, Sounds As If, which Ismail Fayed reviews here (5-9 pm daily), if you haven’t already.

For the full program and ticket prices visit the website here, and for our summary see here.