Egyptian Artist Gives Gift of Art to North Adams

By Jack GuerinoiBerkshires Staff
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Egyptian artist Alaa Awad takes a break from working vigorously to complete his mural on Center Street in North Adams before its official unveiling Thursday night during Down Street Art.

NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — Egyptian artist Alaa Awad is giving a gift to the city of North Adams: an original, nearly 60-foot-long mural on the base of the Route 2 overpass.

Awad has painted street art in Asia and Denmark and has had exhibitions and murals in Germany and throughout Egypt. This North Adams piece, though, marks his first commissioned work in the United States.

“It’s a gift for North Adams; it’s a fabulous city,” Awad said. “Everything is very nice and the people are very nice and I decided to make something that will speak to the city.”

Awad’s work draws from historical Egyptian tomb paintings, and his mural is covered in stylized figures of ancient gods, chimeric beasts and people.

Awad looks to celebrate humankind and bring Egyptian heritage back to the surface as a source of pride for Egyptians and instill ideas such as “peace, mercy, justice and balance.”

Awad is a graduate and a faculty member of the Luxor Faculty of Fine Arts and Egypt, and he teamed up with fellow artist to use art to protest censorship, social injustice, and civilian life lost during the revolution in Tahrir Square in 2011.

Awad’s mural will be unveiled June 26, along with his “Thebes” exhibit in Gallery 51, as part of the Berkshire Cultural Resource Center’s Down Street Art Initiative, which aims to bring more public art to downtown North Adams. Down Street Art runs from 5 to 9 p.m. at locations throughout downtown North Adams.

The general theme of the new North Adams mural is “Justice.” Awad said the piece is designed to point people toward the past so they can learn from it and be better equipped to make a peaceful and brighter future.

“I believe absolutely you can never make the past again, but I think we can learn from our past and refocus the positive values and principles form the past,” he said. "The past is something to learn from, and we can see…what is negative and what is positive and we must focus on things like peace and mercy.”

 

 

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Letter: Vote Bond for Mayor

Letter to the Editor

To the Editor:

I am proud to support Lynette Bond for mayor of the City of North Adams. Lynette has the knowledge and ability to succeed, the spirit and open-mindedness to collaborate and build consensus, the integrity and strength of character to make tough choices with clarity and compassion, and a love for North Adams that will make her a powerful and effective advocate and champion for our city and everyone who lives, learns, and works here.

When I taught in the North Adams Public Schools I assigned "To Kill a Mockingbird" to many of my 8th grade English classes. I've read the book dozens of times and a line that always has stuck with me is "You never really understand a person until you consider things from [their] point of view." It's a lesson in understanding and inclusion I emphasized with my students, and my children. This quality of empathy and consideration — this style of leadership — is something I have seen Lynette l demonstrate, personally and in her campaign. Lynette builds relationships, listens to people's concerns, and truly cares about every person in North Adams, our history, and our potential. She also is pragmatic and won't make promises she can't keep.

Lynette knows that education is a priority. As a former North Adams Public School teacher, I admire the leadership and tenacity that Lynette demonstrated as a champion for the Colegrove Park Elementary School project. I know she will bring the same energy and commitment to serving all North Adams students and educators as mayor and School Committee chair.

Lynette Bond is the right choice for the future of North Adams. She will be a caring, effective, successful mayor for everyone in our city. I encourage you to get to know Lynette, and to support her with your vote in the preliminary election on Sept. 21 and the general election on Nov. 2. Then, when Lynette is sworn in as the first woman mayor of North Adams, you will know we have a leader of whom we all can be proud.

Jane Bernard
North Adams, Mass.

 

 

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