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Paris : Arab divas unveil themselves

From today until September 26, and to celebrate the reopening of museums in Paris, the Arab World Institute opens its doors to let the divas shine and pay a unique tribute to the greatest female artists of Arab music and cinema of the 20th century. An exhibition event not to be missed…

From the iconic star Dalida to Umm Kalthoum, from Asmahan to Fayrouz to Laila Mourad to Samia Gamal, through Souad Hosni, the Arab World Institute has one goal during these few months: to honor the Arab women who have participated in the writing of the Eastern cultural world

With this in mind, the organizers of the Divas exhibition have decided to draw up astonishing and unusual portraits of various stars of the musical and literary world of the twentieth century through a journey abundantly nourished by period photographs, film excerpts or mythical concerts, film posters with glamorous graphics, beautiful stage dresses, personal objects and rare interviews …

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This event is a fabulous journey into the lives and art of these legendary singers and actresses, but also an exploration of the profound changes they have brought about.

Four acts to highlight their social history 

The exhibition also wishes to highlight, through these divas, the social history of Arab women and the birth of feminism within these patriarchal societies, their participation in the independence struggles but above all, their central role in the various artistic fields. 

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To achieve this, the exhibition takes place in four acts: 

Starting with Cairo in the 1920s, it is women such as Hoda Chaaraoui (1879-1947) or Ceza Nabaraoui (1897-1985) who will be highlighted for the creation, in 1923, of the Egyptian Feminist Union for the defense of women’s rights.

It is then the turn of the great music divas to be presented to the world. This second part of the exhibition is dedicated to the “golden voices” of Arab music. Visitors will be able to enter the intimate and public life of four exceptional singers: Umm Kalthoum, Warda al-Djazaïria, Asmahan and Fayrouz.

The third part of the exhibition entitled “The Golden Age of Hollywood Stars on the Nile“, dedicated to “Nilwood” and musicals, highlights these divas actresses, singers and/or dancers, with their fascinating glamour: Laila Mourad, Souad Hosni, Sabah, Tahiyya Carioca, Samia Gamal, Hind Rostom, Dalida…

Historically, the Egyptian film industry had its golden age from the mid-1940s to totally dominate the Arab film market, with productions broadcast in all countries of the Maghreb and the Middle East. During this period of prosperity, between 50 and 60 films were made per year!

Finally, the last part of the exhibition highlights the views of today’s artists on these divas, whose legacy is a profound source of inspiration for a whole new generation!

A feminine tribute in the heart of Paris not to be missed!

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Published on 19 May 2021

#art gallery