Thursday, October 06, 2005

Prince Claus Award goes to Mezzo

The Prince Claus Fund 's awards set outstanding quality as an essential condition for the Fund's award. The most important consideration of the jury is the positive effect of a laureate’s work on a wider cultural or social field. The Prince Claus Fund interprets culture in a broad sense to encompass all kinds of artistic and intellectual disciplines, science, media and education.

Among 2005 laureates is Egyptian writer Lenin El –Ramly. He is a comic dramatist who audaciously questions the social conventions, hypocrisies and bigotries of both Egyptian society and the Arab world.

El-Ramly's best known play internationally is the 1991 Bel Arabi al-Faseeh (In Plain Arabic), a devastating satire of the time-honoured cultural and political project of Pan-Arabism. Although originally written in the early 1970s, the play mounted the stage only few months after the first Gulf War.

As film writer, El-Ramly received media attention, both at home and abroad, for his attack on Islamist militants in the 1994 Al-Erhabi (The Terrorist).

El-Ramly's most recent play Ekhla'o el-Aqne'a (Masks Off!) was presented on the fringe of the 2005 Cairo International Festival for Experimental Theatre, directed by El-Ramly himself. Set in a mythical Arab city right off The Thousand and One Nights, the play makes a subtle symbolic reference to the rise of religious conservatism in Egypt, thanks in large part to the return of Egyptian expatriates (predominantly middle-class) from their long work stint in oil-rich, ultra-conservative, and consumerist-oriented Arab Gulf states.

To congratulate, visit his website.


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