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Art will Take the Lead

by Hassan Fayeq

Hassan Fayeq

Egypt has thus moved to take its right. Since we have all agreed that we will either die or drive away the colonizer …, what is expected from us, as artists, is to take the lead. During times of peace art is to teach, in times of war, it is to lead.

Egyptian artists are of different kinds: they either work for fame, money or for art’s sake. Today, they will work, prior to anything else, for the sake of their country and its welfare.

We have had enough of “enthusiastic” songs with repeated words and imitated rhymes. What we need now is living songs emerging from the spirit of the people and rhymes coming out of their anger and revolution. We have had enough of myths and imaginative stories; we want real plays of struggle …

In 1919, we Egyptian artists did our best. I believe today’s artists, after half a century of continuous progress, have better tools than ours and are more capable of serving our country … Or do we want people to say that the “national spirit” of artists in 1919 was stronger and that their belief in their cause was greater?

El Kawakeb. Issue 25. December 1951.