Chinese ceramic artist Li Hongliang (R) exchanges opinions with an Egyptian counterpart on a ceramic work at at Foustat Traditional Crafts Center in Cairo, Egypt, Aug. 9, 2017. China's ceramic craftsmanship has aroused strong interests of Egyptian counterparts as they are learning ceramic arts techniques with heart and soul in a workshop in Cairo. (Xinhua/Meng Tao)
by Mahmoud Fouly
CAIRO, Aug. 9 (Xinhua) -- China's ceramic craftsmanship has aroused strong interests of Egyptian counterparts as they are learning ceramic arts techniques with heart and soul in a workshop in Cairo.
A Chinese artist, together with a dozen of Egyptian counterparts, amateurs and professionals, is busy doing different works of ceramic arts during a joint workshop promoting Chinese art among Egyptians as a powerful means of cultural exchange.
They have been using plaster molds, boards and paper templates of fishes and other shapes and designs during the two-week cultural, artistic event organized by the Chinese Cultural Center and held at Foustat Traditional Crafts Center in Cairo, a building with several short, multi-dome premises that belongs to the Egyptian Ministry of Culture.
Chinese ceramic artist Li Hong Liang, who has already given nine classes out of the total 11 in the workshop, said that the Egyptian artists showed very good response to the workshop and some of them are already qualified enough to join world competitions in ceramic art.
"I hope to maintain further interaction and communication with Egyptian ceramic artists through this workshop that cement ties between the Chinese and the Egyptian peoples as two nations of great ancient civilizations," Li told Xinhua.
Ebtisam Zaki, an amateur artist in her late 50s, said that when she heard about the workshop, she was so interested to join because she lived in China for a while and she was fascinated by Chinese arts, especially those of pottery and ceramics.
"I have seen in China a lot of old and modern ceramic works with blue and white as main colors and they really looked like our Islamic ceramic art, which shows the close resemblance between our two cultures," the lady told Xinhua, emphasizing that China is so advanced in this art and the quality of the material used there is so high.
Ancient pottery can be seen in the antiquities of both the Egyptian and the Chinese civilizations in their different stages, indicating the originality and uniqueness of pottery art and artists in the two cultures throughout history.
Ahmed Eid, a ceramic artist attending the workshop, hailed the project as an important step for the employment of art in cultural interaction and people to people exchange, stressing that art brings people closer and deepens their mutual respect and understanding.
"Cooperation between Egypt and China is as old as history, as they exchanged their strong cultural heritage through the ancient trade Silk Road that connected China with the Arab world including Egypt," Eid said, hoping for more of suchlike joint workshops in larger scales to exchange knowledge about our cultures.
Some 30 minutes away from the center lies the two-story building of Talaat Harb Cultural Center, where over 30 children gathered at a large round table in a small room with light green walls, while painting white dozens of small size figures of clay animals during the fifth session of clay formation art given by a Chinese artist.
"The Egyptian children are smarter and more responsive and cooperative than I thought. They made all these animal figures by themselves and they are painting them in white now to prepare them for final coloring," Chinese clay formation artist Du Shaoyun told Xinhua, happy with the kindness, hospitality and generosity of the Egyptian people.
Mariam Mohamed, 10, was painting her little clay panda, saying that she joined this art course out of curiosity about what clay formation could be.
"When I joined, I really learned a lot of things. I learned how to shape a panda, a rabbit and many other animals with clay. We also made a figurine of the Sphinx, the ancient hawk, etc," said the little girl with an innocent smile on her face.
The event proved tremendous success. It drew the interest of both parents and kids so much that over 30 kids were attending the session, while the capacity was set at only 10 or maximum 15.
"The workshop is about formation of clay coming from Upper Egypt's Aswan, and we're happy with the presence of Chinese artist Du Shaoyun with us," Karima Ahmed, director of Talaat Harb Cultural Center, told Xinhua.
"This is a new art and culture to teach to our children, which is very good for cultural exchange between Egypt and China," said the center's chief.