The 7th edition of D-CAF poster – D- CAF press office.
CAIRO – 16 March 2018: The 7th D-CAF, which takes place March 9-29, launched the “Arts for All” initiative and the Disability Program, allowing wide segments of the Egyptian society to engage with the festival. Arts for All and the Disability Program are tailored to include all members of society as both audience and performers in the festival’s programs, which include dance, theater, music and films.
For the very first time, Egypt’s only multi-disciplinary, international contemporary arts festival took place outside downtown Cairo, with the opening music concert that took place at Al-Azhar Park. As it began on International Women’s Day, this year’s event has been planned with a special theme dedicated to women, D-CAF founder and artistic director Ahmed el-Attar told Egypt Today.
The initiative will provide 1,000 tickets, allowing more people to join the festival regardless of their socioeconomic status, ethnicity, gender, disability or any other protected characteristic. Arts for All provides marginalized people the opportunity to enjoy world-class arts performances free of charge. Watching such inspiring and challenging performances for the first time will positively affect both their physiological and physical health.
D-CAF Disability Program- D-CAF Press Office
Arts for All managed until now to provide 292 free tickets for the opening concert to marginalized individuals and groups; 73 for the disabled from Al Hassan Foundation; 13 children and youth from Al Darb Al Ahmar Arts School; 55 for female street children from Banati Foundation; and others.
Famed Egyptian artists Sayed Ragab, Yosra ElLozy and Ahmed Malek participated in a video by D-CAF to promote to the initiative, asking everyone who is interested and believes in the idea to support it.
The initiative will continue until the end of the festival, including the upcoming music concerts by Tarek Yamani, Out of Nations, and El Sawareekh on March 16 at the Greek Campus in downtown Cairo. A massive online campaign was also launched to provide the rest of the tickets for everyone who believes art is for all, despite their differences.
Since its 4th edition, D-CAF brings wide attention to arts and disability issues by inviting disabled artists to take part in its regular programming. The 7th edition’s Urban Vision program sheds light on the relation between arts and disability by presenting different forms of art performed by or about disabled people.
The 7th edition presents the Irish film “Sanctuary”, directed by Len Collin. The movie is about Larry and Sophie, who are in love and both have intellectual disabilities. By attempting to be intimate, Larry and Sophie are breaking both the rules and the law. “Sanctuary” truly shows the meaning of heartbreak through the portrayal of two young people who are trying to be together in a world doing everything to keep them apart.
Square One is a street dance show by the Ireland-based dance company Croí Glan, which creates a site-specific trio performance with local Egyptian dancers, one of whom has a physical disability. The performance will be held on March 23 at El Korba Street, Heliopolis and on March 24 at Behlar Passageway in downtown Cairo.
Candoco Dance Company will present a dance performance that talks about human relations experienced throughout life. It is a touching portrayal of female strength, backing and friendship. The performance shows how people come in and out of our lives, how friendships evolve and adapt, and how they can shape who we are. The performance will also be held on March 23 at El Korba Street and on March 24 at Behlar Passageway.
D-CAF will also present various workshops, with a special focus on arts and disability, such as talks and seminars, with representatives from the British Council and UNESCO on March 24 at the Greek Campus.
“What makes this year special,” Attar said, “is that the festival offers free tickets for theater, dance and musical concerts to civil organizations for refugees, disabled people and orphans, giving them a chance to come and see these events.” A massive campaign has been launched to help offer free shows and affordable tickets for D-CAF performances.
From the Arab Arts Focus to the directors forum, disability shows and much more, D-CAF’s unique program is taking place in some of the most spectacular downtown theaters and cinemas, as well as renowned historic and cultural locations in the center of the city, such as the recently restored Maq’ad of Sultan Qaitbay and Al Alfy Bey Street in downtown Cairo. “Performing in streets would enable all Egyptians to see different contemporary art shows, spreading this modern art among them and reviving it,” Attar said.
Aiming to shed light on cutting-edge Arab talents, the festival, once again, features the Arab Arts Focus section, where gifted Egyptian, Moroccan, Lebanese, Syrian and Palestinian actors are invited to present their stories through unique performances by popular celebrities, including Egyptian actor Ramzi Lehner and Syrian actress Nanda Mohammad.
The festival is also hosting, for the fourth time, a four-day Arab Contemporary Art Forum, where international film and theater directors are invited to witness Egyptian and Arab arts, to eventually “market Arab creativity across the world,” Attar recounted.
“When we present in the streets the arts of people with disabilities, to be watched by an interested audience or passersby, we correct the misconceptions in our community about those people by showcasing their talents,” he added.