by Mahmoud Fouly
NEW ALAMEIN, Egypt, July 24 (Xinhua) -- In an industrial district close to Egypt's northern coast, colored lights and nine massive luminous artworks made of factory waste materials by seven recycling artists brightened the night.
The artworks, mostly made of scraps of iron, plastic and wood, are installed and exhibited at the first edition of the Alamein Art Festival, which is being held at an industrial park of Industrial Development Group (IDG) in the Mediterranean resort city of New Alamein and organized by Art D'Egypte, an Egyptian platform for art and heritage.
The one-month festival, which kicked off on July 21, seeks to promote the concept of environmental sustainability through art, said Nadine Abdel-Ghaffar, founder of Art D'Egypte and chief organizer of the festival.
"Through their eco-friendly art installations, Egyptian contemporary artists call on people to be aware of conserving the environment and the climate," she told Xinhua, adding the event could be seen as a prelude to the 27th session of the United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP27) that will be held in Egypt in November.
One of the artworks on display features two large leaves standing side by side inside two opposing metal frames, resembling two pages of an open book. One of the two leaves has a mauve frame and is painted in red, while the other has a red frame and is painted in mauve.
"I connected the two panels of a scrap iron fence to form a shape of a page, sketched a shape of a leaf inside each page and chopped off the surplus materials," veteran Egyptian sculptor Omar Tossoun explained how he created his sculpture "A Leaf."
"It sends a message to factories that the materials they deem scraps can be used for good purposes by artists in creating artworks, which can make a place more beautiful," said Tossoun.
In the center of the open-air exhibition area, visitors' attention is drawn to a colorful six-meter-tall shining object that resembles a jellyfish.
It took a month for Marwa Magdy, an artist and assistant professor at the Faculty of Art Education, Helwan University, to finish the artwork called "Jellyfish," which took half a tonne of wasted iron.
"I use a jellyfish as a symbol for marine life and other organisms living in oceans, as they suffer a lot from environmental pollution. I think we need to recycle all waste in an eco-friendly way and be aware of other organisms' living conditions," Magdy told Xinhua.
The waste materials for the artworks of Magdy and other artists were collected by them during trips to several factories one month before the opening of the festival. The trips were organized by industrial developer IDG.
Visitors are impressed by the concept of recycling waste materials into artworks.
"If you look around, the artists have really done very nice works. It is such a brilliant idea to use something that should be discarded and make it into a beautiful piece of art," said Yehia Hamad, one of the visitors. ■