Friday, August 24, 2012

Amal Kenawy (1974-2012): RIP

The Egyptian artist, Amal Kenawy, died last Sunday of leukemia. She was 38.

One of the continent's really compelling contemporary artists, and a leading voice in the thriving Cairo art scene, her work captured the simmering individual and collective anxieties in Egypt and anticipated the 2011 revolt at Tahrir Square. 

A most wonderful human being, Amal was diagnosed last year and few months ago was informed that her cancer was too advanced for any treatment. Her untimely transition is one good reason the Igbo say that death is stupid!
*  *  *  * 

For Amal

It does not matter
If the Nile weeps blood
Or the Aswan disgorges
Broken limbs of pharaohs
And Egypt drowns in flood

But there is calm
In the precincts of Tahrir
And the howls of Spring
And the din of cavalry
Tug our memory's wing

It does not matter now
That a crowd of elders
Hulls our child into the abyss
At the rite of renewal
At the rite of coming
.................and going 

© Chika Okeke-Agulu

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