Exhibition dedicated to Russian Poet and Traveler Nikolay Gumilev opens in Cairo

During the opening ceremony

By Ashraf Aboul-Yazid
President of Asia Journalists Association

CAIRO: Three months ago in Istanbul, amidst of the activities of the Eurasian Literary Festival, I had a real opportunity to approach a distinguished poet and an active cultural figure, describing her as an organic intellectual, who carries a concern beyond writing to serve the literary community and humanity as a whole. She is Olga Medved – President of the Gumilev Society, a cultural expert, candidate for educational sciences, and a member of the Russian Writers Union.


Event Poster

This society promotes and keeps the memory of Nikolay Stepanovich Gumilyov (Nikolay Gumilev) who was an influential Russian poet, literary critic, traveler, and military officer. He was a cofounder of the Acmeist movement. He was the husband of Anna Akhmatova and the father of Lev Gumilev. Nikolay Gumilev was arrested and executed by the Cheka, the secret Soviet police force, in 1921.


From the exhibition

I was pleased when the iconic diplomat, Mr. Marat Gatin, director of the Russian cultural houses in Egypt, announced that the February program for the Russian House in Cairo will celebrate the late poet by exhibiting art works inspired by his life and works, painted by Russian artists from Moscow and Saint Petersburg.


From the exhibition

On February 5, 2022 at 7 pm, the Russian House in Cairo, launched its celebration of the 135th anniversary of the birth of the famous Silver Age poet, playwright, translator and traveler Nikolay Gumilev with the exhibition “Gumilev Artists”.

The Russian House in Cairo Director Mr. Marat Gatin (Right) and art critic Mr. Yuri Shgulkov

Russian House in Cairo Director Mr. Marat Gatin (Right) and art critic Mr. Yuri Shgulkov

The Russian House in Cairo hosted the exhibition along with a lecture entitled “Gumilev through the eyes of artists”.   Mr. Yuri Shgulkov (Юрий Щегольков), Director of the Fund for the Development of Historic Small Towns – a non-profit organization – spoke about a project entitled “The Gumilev Road”.


Ashrad Aboul-Yazid with Olga Medved

A Zoom symposium was also held, in which poetess Olga Medved, President of the Gumilev Society, Ms. Irina Rudenko, supervisor of the “Masterskaya 18” Society of Plastic Artists, and Ms. Natalia Petrova, Director of the Tsarskoye Selo Museum of History and Literature participated. The attendees expressed their gratitude to the organizers of the exhibition for giving them the opportunity to know about the life of the great poet. They also thanked the officials of the Russian House in Cairo for providing the fund with paintings and books about Gumilev.


Admiring the exhibition

Each painting, according to the curator of the art project Irina Rudenko (Ириной Руденко), is  dedicated to the 135th anniversary of the founder of the school of Acmeist in poetry, playwright, prose writer, translator, ethnographer, traveler and the 100th anniversary of his death.

Holding an exhibition of paintings dedicated to Gumilev in Cairo is not accidental. It was he who was one of the first to discover Africa for Russians at the beginning of the 20th century. The poet’s travel routes ran through Egypt, Ethiopia, Eritrea, Djibouti and Somalia. Many of the artifacts he brought back in his time are stored in the Gumilev House Museum.


One of the exhibits

It is not clear how many times Gumilev the traveler was in Egypt, – only five officially -, but he left behind several poems dedicated to the Land of the Pyramids, its spirit, the Nile, the Cairo quarters.


The Zoom meeting in progress

The exhibition will continue in the northern capital of Egypt, Alexandria, where the poet visited more than a hundred years ago. In the future, the organizers plan to bring the paintings to France, Italy and Turkey.

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