God is beautiful and He loves beauty

Article written  in Al-Ahram Weekly on the 29th July, 2004


Generous gestures
Sir-- Zahi Hawass is not just a brilliant archaeologist (and a fellow Penn graduate) he is also a most generous man and he was generous indeed in his most recent column Dig Days: Hall of Fame (22-28 July) in his description of our (AUC) exhibition last Fall "Creswell's Cairo". What he didn't mention was that he not only provided the introduction for the superb exhibition catalogue that we published on the occasion, and took the lead as speaker at a press conference held on campus just prior to the opening, but it was thanks to Zahi that the necessary permits were provided the team of photographers who tracked down and took contemporary shots of Cairo's Islamic monuments in colour that exactly matched the same perspective for Creswell's own black and white pictures taken 50 or more years ago.

But I must note that the photography team of Chemane Arias and Jenny Marquez was provided by the Islamic Art Network (IAN) not AUC.

IAN manages an extraordinary website -- www.islamic-art.org -- and collaborated with AUC in putting together this great exhibit which as Zahi notes was curated by Noha Abu Khatwa, who is the director of IAN. Part of the confusion is that I wear two hats -- as an AUC faculty member and director of the Sony Gallery which was one of the two participating galleries and I serve as academic liaison officer for IAN and The Thesaurus Islamicus Foundation which sustains IAN and Ms Abu Khatwa is a recent graduate of AUC's Islamic Art Master's degree programme.

Indeed the Islamic Arts Network has reproduced all of the material -- both text and visual -- connected with this show and it is pleased to have the personal support of Zahi Hawas who is a member of our International Advisory Board (now under formation) as well as the opportunity since the exhibition is to work closely with the Supreme Council of Antiquities on other projects of mutual interest.

S Abdallah Schleifer
Director, The Adham Center for Television Journalism
American University in Cairo