Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Ramez Elias, artist, designer, RIP

It is with deep sorrow that we, the editors of Nka: Journal of Contemporary African Art, mourn the death of Ramez Elias, who passed away on Thursday April 21st, 2016 in Paris, France. Ramez was the designer of Nka for the last 16 years. A remarkably talented artist, Ramez has left an indelible mark on the design of Nka, shaping its character, as not only a leading journal, but also an elegant one in the field of contemporary and African and African diaspora art. Ramez was not just a brilliant designer; he was a dear friend. He was generous, kind hearted, and a very caring human being. Words fail us about our loss and sadness. But here at Nka, we shall continue to build on the design vision you established and which has taken us this far.
          Ramez studied at the American University in Cairo (AUC), before moving to Ithaca where he had lived since 1994. He was a multi-talented and creative individual, who besides being a designer, was also gifted theater actor who performed with groups such as Al Warsha, an experimental theater company based in Cairo, Egypt. Ramez hailed from a prominent Egyptian family which played a pioneering role in the rise of the independent publishing industry in Egypt since the early part of the 20th Century. His grandfather Elias Anton Elias, a well known modernist intellectual and the author of one of the first Arabic-English dictionaries in Egypt, was the founder of the Elias Modern Publishing House in 1913, which has contributed tremendously to publishing in the fields of literature, art and children books.
         Our sincere condolences to our friend Natalie Melas, Ramez’s wife, and to his brother Nadim Elias and his wife Laura Elias, and to his nephews Sammy and Karim, his niece Nada El Omari, and to brother-in-law Majdi El Omari, and the extended family in Egypt. 
Rest in peace Ramez. Your memory and the beauty you brought to our lives will forever stay with us, and guide us to better horizons. 

Okwui Enwezor
Salah M. Hassan
Chika Okeke-Agulu
(Editors, Nka: Journal of Contemporary African Art)

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