Aswan International Sculpture Symposium kicks off Sunday
Sculptures from Aswan's 2012 Scupture Symposium, photo courtesy of the Symposium Facebook page

CAIRO: The 20th round of the Aswan International Sculpture Symposium (AISS), an annual gathering of sculptors illustrating their art on granite, will kick off Sunday, said Mohamed Abu Seada, the head of the Cultural Development Fund.

The symposium is scheduled to be held from Jan. 18 to Mar. 8.

“It is Egypt’s largest open-air museum held on a 33 acres plateau overlooking the Nile nearby Aswan Dam. This year’s session will witness the participation of scores of artists and sculptors from all over the world to express different schools and styles in taming granite and to revive the ancient Egyptian art of molding granite,” Abu Saeda said in a news conference held at the Cairo Opera House Thursday ahead of the symposium inauguration.

During the past 19 years, the symposium has hosted more than 138 sculptors from 44 countries. They have accomplished hundreds of pieces, 200 of which are currently on display at the plateau, he added.

“The session this year will honor Egyptian artist Adam Henien in recognition of his outstanding efforts during the past 19 sessions,” said Abu Saeda, adding that several artworks that were accomplished during the symposium’s previous 19 sessions are currently on display at some squares across Egypt.

Aswan, 900 kilometers south of Cairo, is known for its immense granite quarries which were used by ancient Egyptians in building obelisks, statues and sarcophagi.

Much of the red granite blocks, seen nowadays in the Valley Temple nearby the second pyramid at Giza were taken from Aswan granite quarry.

The blocks were loaded on sailing boats and sent downstream to Giza.

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