CAIRO: Philipp Spalek, a 25-year old student from Germany, won the Delegation of the European Commission’s photography competition “Egypt: Land of Contrast.
The first place award is worth ?1,000.
Ali Hassan, a development manager, won the award for the second place, receiving an SLR digital camera. Amina Ali Wafik Ismail Ali, a student at MSA University, received the jury’s special mention.
This is the second year that the contest is held, and the Delegation intends to make it an annual event. The contest is aimed at promoting amateur photography in Egypt.
The photos were evaluated by a seven-member jury consisting of six artists and a representative from the EC Delegation: Mohamed Khan, Alaa El-Aswany, Mohamed Abla, Chris Bouroncle, Mohamed Gabr, Randa Shaath and Javier Mendez.
The organizers received around 370 photos this year. The best 25 were selected for a special catalogue and an exhibition at the Townhouse Gallery of Contemporary Art. The best 12 will be included in a calendar to be published by the Delegation.
“The debate on the photos was interesting, and we spent almost four hours on it, said Mendez, the Delegation representative in the jury and the First Secretary for Social and Cultural Affairs. “In the end, our opinions were quite homogeneous, and there was sort of a consensus on the photos that won.
The photo contest is part of the general program of the Delegation of the European Commission in Cairo to promote culture and cultural development. The Delegation organizes an annual call for cultural project proposals that receive funding from the EU. This year, ?250,000 will be distributed to six projects from Egypt with local and national focus. The Delegation is also partnering with the Bibliotheca Alexandrina to expand its support for culture beyond the confines of the Cairo area.
Additionally, the European Commission has granted ?7 million this year to the Anna Lindh Euro-Mediterranean Foundation for the Dialogue between Cultures, based in Alexandria. The organization receives support from 40 countries in the Euro-Mediterranean region to promote cultural dialogue and respect of diversity in the region.
“We firmly believe that culture is an essential way to create bridges between different people, between Europe and this region, concluded Mendez.
The Delegation of the European Commission to Egypt was established in 1978. It promotes the political and economic agenda of the EU in its relations with the Egyptian government, and is responsible for a ?1 billion development cooperation portfolio in Egypt.