How can a piece of stone say so much? It’s just a random faceless rock. Add human imagination and creativity: it cries, laughs, inspires, scares and amuses. With their magic minds and hands, sculpters make the stones speak. The process is not very glamorous; it’s hard, dirty, dangerous and takes a long time. But the results last for, seemingly, ever! Carved stone tell stories to future generations. That’s how we learnt the stories of our ancestors; they made the stone speak. Our human desire for eternity, our wish to live forever, our attempt to grasp the ungraspable. It’s all carved in stone. The stories, hopes, fears, symbols, beauty, love, Nature, demons… it’s all encoded and recorded for whoever wants to decipher.
The Aswan International Sculpture Symposium (http://www.aiss.gov.eg/) is an open air museum featuring award winning sculptures from all over the world. It’s awe inspiring in many ways. Beautiful pieces of art are scattered around the large piece of land in a seemingly random, yet cleverly choreographed fashion. The ground is uneven and has several levels. Wherever your gaze lands, you see art. Even though it’s made of rocks, it’s a living museum. Because it’s an open air exhibition with no artificial lights, it looks different depending on the time of day, weather patterns and the sun and moon cycles. The exhibits also change periodically.
I didn’t know such a treasure existed until I was lucky enough to stay at “Fekra”, an ecovillage south of Aswan, across the Nile from the symposium (people here call it “symposium” سيمبوزيوم in Arabic too even though it’s not an Arabic word). That was such a great gift from living in the flow. Discovering and experiencing Fekra and its community was yet another awesome gift that I will talk about another time.
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