Monthly Archives: March 2013
Cycling race, that was launched from Albaladia street at 8:30 am in front of the Madras agency Travel and Tourism until communications tower and then through the Nile Street until the end of the race in front of the offices of the secretariat of the state government of Khartoum at 10:00 am and will be held on Saturday, 30/3/2013
New America Media, News Feature, Hana Baba, Posted: Mar 29, 2013
above photo caption: Painting by Bakri Bilal
Sudan’s rich contemporary arts history is seldom referred to amidst all the headlines about war, poverty, and famine that make it to the global media. After World War II, when graduates of Khartoum’s Gordon Memorial College School of Design formed the movement known as the Khartoum School, artists like the father of Sudanese modernism, Ibrahim Elsalahi, calligrapher Osman Wagialla, and Ahmed Shibrain pioneered a unique fine arts movement that reflected a confluence of African, Arab, and Islamic influences. The next generation of artists emerging in the 1970s including painters like Bakri Bilal and Rashid Diab, who focused on painting and color. Sudan was a center for the Afro-Arab art experience.
However, in a developing country like Sudan, with its history of political instability, rigid military rule, and socio-economic struggles, art has been on the country’s backburner for decades since that time. Most Khartoum School artists were able to flourish abroad, and make a name for themselves and Sudan while living outside of it.
So when I visited Khartoum in December 2012, it was exciting to witness a change in attitude, a renewed appreciation of art. It was a renaissance; Sudanese artists re-claiming their space.
As you drive down Nile Avenue on Saturday afternoon, you see, with the glistening Nile River as their backdrop, at least 10-15 painters showing their works. They can’t afford to hold exhibits, so the Nile banks are their galleries. Portraits, close-ups, abstracts, nature; all lined up against the huge century-old Mahogany trees that line the street. Admirers walk through the paintings, chatting with the artists. This scene is a new to this country. These artists are pioneering a movement of art appreciation among the lower-middle income population, breeding the notion that despite the economic situation, art is to be created, appreciated, and supported.
That philosophy is shared by Rashid Diab- a painter who took it upon himself to help revolutionize the Sudanese arts scene. The Spanish and American-educated PhD holder created the country’s first arts and culture center that houses artists in-residence from around the world. The Rashid Diab Arts and Culture Center in the Gireif neighborhood in the east of Khartoum is, in itself, a work of art. Diab joined 5 villas, painted and decorated them each inspired by a geographical part of Sudan; there’s the Nubian villa with its ancient Nubian wall carvings, there’s the Western villa with its Darfur and Kordofan- inspired art. And everything, he says, is Made in Sudan. Diab is passionate about supporting and flaunting local, home-grown products, art, and is a huge DIY-er. The center is filled with art made from everyday items that Diab found in Khartoum’s many junkyards- toothbrushes, steel cups, broken glass from perfume bottles are set into cement creating the floor. Everything glimmers in the sun.
Every Sunday, Diab holds a cultural event where he invites artists, thinkers, poets, and authors to a panel discussion on a topic- from where art is going in Sudan, to traditional wedding songs, and there’s always live music at the end. All free of charge. Again, a first in the arts-thirsty Sudan. Diab says the government doesn’t stand in his way, but it doesn’t help either- especially not through any kind of funding. So, he reached deep into his own pockets to make the center happen, and turned to corporate sponsorship through companies like the Kuwaiti Zain, one of the premier telecommunications companies with a Sudanese presence, that is big on sponsoring arts and culture events. This concept of corporate sponsorship is also new to Sudan, and seems is only available due to the immense budgets of foreign companies like Zain and Samsung.
Samsung Sudan is also playing a part in the artistic revolution happening in Khartoum. However, its focus is on the younger set. The company sponsors a new magazine called “In the City”. Issued in both English and Arabic, a space for young artists and poets to express themselves, also listing the many cultural happenings around Khartoum. This in itself is new- and played a role in fostering a burgeoning English-speaking youth spoken word and poetry scene that was created by the editor of “In the City”, Mustafa Khogali. Khogali was raised in Kuwait, educated in the US, and moved back to Sudan, he says, “to make creative spaces for young people”, who are often forgotten and neglected in most of Sudan’s cultural sphere.
As English-speaking, Western-minded children returned with their families from the US, Canada, and the UK in the mid 2000s following the economic oil boom of the time, that led to a population of kids, teens and young adults who found themselves in a largely non-child-focused and teen wary environment suspicious of their Westernness. A place that lacked avenues for entertainment as they know it. Many found themselves in one of boredom’s most predictable ending spots – mischief.
That’s where Khogali came in. His magazine, with the sponsorship of Samsung, created a radio show by the same name. Then, another one, especially for young poets, rappers, and singers to showcase their talents. Soon, both the magazine and radio show grew and Khogali began to partner with places like the British Council to hold live Open Mic events, and talent shows where young musicians, painters, poets, singers, and comedians can find an audience. There’s one rule: no politics. Perhaps that is one of the main reasons this formula worked. The youth quickly caught on, and Khartoum, now affectionately dubbed “K-town,” is a happening, lively place for these youngsters to blossom. Perhaps this generation will be the one that helps Sudan re-emerge as the hub of Afro-Arab art that it was in the past.
To view more photos from the Diab Arts and Culture Center, click here.
Hana Baba is a Sudanese-American reporter and co-host of Crosscurrents, the evening newsmagazine on KALW Public Radio 91.7FM in San Francisco
KHARTOUM (SUDANOW.info)—Tourism is one of the important sectors that support economies of many countries of the world. The Sudan has recently begun to concentrate on this sector, paying attention to the tourist attractions, building infrastructure, discovery and restoration of the Sudanese antiquities and seeking local and foreign investors. SUDANOW discussed this issue with Sayyed Ali Mahjoub Atta al-Mannan, the Under-Secretary of the Ministry of Tourism, Antiquities and Wildlife.
SUDANOW: Could you brief us on your role for upgrading the tourism industry in the Sudan?
Under-Secretary: The tourism resources are tremendous and offer a quick remedy for addressing the economic concerns and boosting the economy. Tourism constitutes the main source of revenue in some countries; for instance, it fetches 11 billion US dollars for Egypt, 7 Billion dollars for Tunisia, 72 billion dollars for France and 90 billion dollars for the United States each year. The Sudan comes among the world’s 11 richest countries in the tourist attractions and we seek to develop these attractions by building infrastructures and promoting for them internally and externally. We also plan to exploit the tourist resources like the hotels, the Nile cornice, the Khartoum tourist complex, Dindir Park and Jebel Daer.
Q: The Sudan possesses tourist regions that still remain unexploited. Why?
A: It is true that the country possesses numerous tourist areas in all of the states such as Erkweit tourist summer resort, Dindir Park, Jebel Daer and Sawakin Port. The Ministry of Tourism has a number of plans for encouraging internal tourism like “My Vacation is Sudanese” project which is aimed at creating social interaction among the different parts of the country.
Q: How does tourism contribute to achieving economic stability to the people?
A: It is a general knowledge that every tourist project is developed to contribute to creating job opportunities for the people of the region. These projects also provide such services as education, health and infrastructure in addition to stimulating the economies of the region and the state
Q: How do you address the issue of tourism free of negative effects?
A: This year’s celebration is organized under the theme “tourism under sustainable energy, sustainable development” which is aimed at freeing the atmosphere from adverse effects on the environment while making use of the energy and
minimizing the negative effects that impair tourism.
Q: Which obstacles do you face in the development of tourism?
A: There are several challenges that confront this important sector, including the way in which it is developed and exploitation of the available resources. Attention is currently being paid to the Red Sea coast the modernization of which is progressing satisfactorily. Work is going on in building the required infrastructure and rehabilitation of hotels to accommodate tourists. There are also plans for modernization of Kassala city by establishing resorts and parks. Joint efforts are required for boosting this sector.
Q: How much does tourism contribute to the general treasury and what is the estimated number of the tourists visiting the Sudan?
A: The tourism fetched 671.9 million US dollars while the number of tourists entering the Sudan ranged between 536,400 in 2010 and 495,161 tourists in 2011.
Q: What projects have implemented for upgrading this industry?
A: The implemented projects include those of roads, electricity and water while there is a project for rehabilitation of Sinkat city in collaboration with the Turkish international cooperation organization which is expected to be completed by the end of this year. The private sector entered the field of investment by building hotels and retreats and establishing green grounds of tennis, basketball and volleyball.
Q: Agreements have been concluded with several countries, including Qatar, for the development of tourism in Sudan. Can you brief us on the agreement with Qatar, in particular?
A: Yes, an agreement has been concluded with Qatar for rediscovery and overhauling the Sudanese antiquities. This project is funded by Qatar and will last five years and international archeological missions from Britain, Germany, Canada and Poland in addition to other countries taking part in rehabilitation of the Sudanese archeological sites and rediscovery of other sites in the River Nile and Northern states.
Q: What efforts you are making for mobilizing local and international investors for revitalizing tourism?
A: The Ministry is exerting tremendous efforts for finding local and international investors for this purpose. There are more than 160 local and foreign companies, including Italian,
German and Spanish firms.
In The City – Sudan is a creative enterprise that serves over several media and has become a multi functional household brand starting as a guide to the city of Khartoum. Since its inception in 2007, its audience has increased to beyond 30,000 readers per edition in Khartoum while growing in demographic relevance from being expat driven to being driven by English speaking Sudanese looking for a new experience in Khartoum. In the City Sudan focuses on reflecting a positive image of Khartoum and the major cities of Sudan while highlighting the city’s heritage, culture, arts and exposing the Sudanese and international audiences to alternative things to do, experience, learn, and develop in Sudan by keeping its followers up to date on sports and cultural activities, tourism opportunities and promoting the various arts, culture and non-profit initiatives as well as focusing on locally relevant content.
in The City brand has spread and established itself across the following media:
• In The City Khartoum – English magazine • In The City Arabic – Arabic magazine • In The City Radio Show • In The City Events • In The City Online
The launch of the first global Sudan exhibition for Tourist and shopping in Khartoum on the eighth of April and will lasts for five days, with the participation of European countries and Asian and Arab and countries from all over the glob.
The minister at a news conference in Khartoum early this month said The main objective of this exhibition is to establish the presence of Sudan in the global tourist market and increased foreign tourist coming the country’s , and to highlight the enormous potential of tourism in Sudan, and attract Arab and foreign investments.
And the number of countries announced their engagement so far, are France, Germany, Russia, Spain, Italy and the Czech Republic, next to South Africa, Ethiopia and Eritrea the and Mauritius, next to Arab countries such as Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Egypt, Jordan and Djibouti.
The minister Abdul Karim added that the exhibition will contain events that reflect the diversity of the Sudan and the richness of Nile cruises and offers popular and folk and jockeys, horses, boats, and shows the states and art exhibitions. Contests and prizes honoring the pioneers in the field of tourist and others related fields.
and he Acknowledged many obstacles, obstacles that intersections with the work of Tourist, said they seek to remove them, “We are at the beginning of the road”, noting that visas to Sudan throughout the day of the show and before will be easy and free of any delay or routine procedures.