While some may perceive there to be dark clouds hanging over Sinai, artists in Dahab are currently doing their best to show the colours of happy life in Dahab and South Sinai.
“Coloured Dahab” is an initiative that began earlier this year under the encouragement and support of the current town’s Mayor Mr Emad Elwan and he again offers his full support for this second project. He initially announced a meeting where artists could apply to reserve a section of wall along Dahab’s auspiciously named Peace Road. Each artist is allocated a fortuitously paneled section of approximately two and a half by three metres to paint their masterpiece. Popular Local artist, Khaled ‘Dahab’ was commissioned to paint a twenty metre wall closer to the Bridge area and he will again do a longer section.
This year 2015, the scheme has again proved even popular with the initially assigned sections reserved so quickly another twenty five panels have been prepared by the council. Previous artists are also encouraged to repair and seal their walls from the ravages of wind and sun prevalent for desert weather conditions. The council generously provides most materials for the new artworks and for repairs free of charge.
This year’s themes are desert nature, marine life and Bedouins (no politics, nudes, or religion) and artists begin by submitting a sketch for approval. In the words of local organiser Sherihan El Gammal , “Bright and happy colors are very recommended. The target of the whole project is to have Dahab as the city with most artistically painted walls in Egypt! There are enough walls for everybody.” Maybe these walls will rival the beautifully painted buildings by the Nubian people of Aswan in southern Egypt.
Many artists are well established residents of Dahab, while others are relatively new to both Dahab and to public art. Talking to some of the artists I discovered that they find the whole project exciting and a wonderful way to show how they feel about living in South Sinai.
One panel is being painted by students of Futures School Dahab where a group has collaborated to produce a scene of swirling fish and a dreamy human, reflecting both dynamic movement yet tranquility at the same time. Another by established artist Anja Makulik uses bold colours for purple camels attended by a traditionally dressed Bedouin under a blazing sun. She has chosen to paint the sand in metallic gold which reflects and glistens at night.
Alia Negem has produced a work of boldly coloured abstract forms from ever increasing circular shapes also incorporating cut mirror and recycled materials while Nienke Lemmen has chosen a brilliant sunset sky over silhouetted Sinai mountains. Ursula Rohde has vermillion goats staring boldly out of strong blocks of colour and Ana Farid, another established successful artist depicts joyous life in the sand and sea with her paintings. Ali a local Bedouin has painted a scene of fish and corals reflecting what he has grown up with all his life in beautiful Dahab. More scenes will be finished in the coming days.
It is hoped that most of the paintings will be completed by mid December however there is still time for artists to join this popular project. Anybody seeking more information to join the activity can contact the local Dahab council or Sherihan El Gamal. If you don’t think your skills are up to painting a wall, show your support for art and Dahab by posing for a photo in front of these great artistic assets.
Peace and goodwill to all.