- Title: Cairo shop adds modern twist to Ramadan lanterns
- Date: 21st May 2017
- Summary: CAIRO, EGYPT (RECENT) (REUTERS) LANTERNS SHOP LANTERN WITH PORTRAIT OF PRESIDENT ABDEL FATTAH AL-SISI PRINTED ON IT LANTERNS SHOP VARIOUS OF MOHAMED GAMAL MAKING LANTERNS (SOUNDBITE) (Arabic) SHOP OWNER, MOHAMED GAMAL, SAYING: "I've worked in lanterns for the past 10 years, and during that time, wooden lanterns have always been the most popular, but I wanted to do something new -- everyone always wanted to put their portraits on the wooden lanterns, which I didn't think was very creative, so I decided to use acrylic and produce the lanterns so that they look more like crystal awards, to give them more value." VARIOUS OF LANTERNS WITH PORTRAITS ON THEM (SOUNDBITE) (Arabic) SHOP OWNER, MOHAMED GAMAL, SAYING: "All the lanterns found in the market now are, of course made in China, and my ambition, or my dream is for us not to import lanterns anymore. My dream is to import lanterns to China." VARIOUS OF PORTRAITS ON LANTERNS GAMAL WALKING INTO PRINT SHOP GAMAL SEATED NEXT TO TECHNICIAN
- Embargoed: 4th June 2017 15:46
- Keywords: Ramadan Cairo Egypt Lantern
- Location: CAIRO, EGYPT
- City: CAIRO, EGYPT
- Country: Egypt
- Topics: Arts / Culture / Entertainment
- Reuters ID: LVA0016HS67O5
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text: An Egyptian maker of traditional lanterns which adorn streets across the Middle East during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan believes he has found a way to stop a flood of Chinese replicas from extinguishing his ancient craft.
Mohamed Gamal, from Cairo's impoverished Imbaba neighbourhood, affixes to lanterns, known locally as "Fanous", acrylic portraits of Egyptian footballers and pop stars, a modern spin on the more traditional wooden lamps which are being undercut by Chinese imports.
"I've worked with lanterns for 10 years and wooden lanterns have been the most popular during this time. I wanted to do something different," said Gamal.
Chinese products have for years flooded Middle East markets and are becoming increasingly popular in Egypt where ordinary Egyptians and businesses like Gamal's are struggling amid rising prices brought on by inflation.
But the arrival last year in Cairo's shops of plastic Chinese-made lanterns touched a nerve among Egyptians who view the tinted-glass lamps of nickel and carved wood as a symbol of national pride.
Following an outcry last year on social media about the dying handicraft, Egypt's Ministry of Industry and Trade issued a decree banning imports of Chinese-made lanterns.
But flashing in the windows of shops near Gamal's workshop are rows of the battery-powered Chinese knock-offs.
"All of the lanterns in the market are, of course, made in China so my dream is for us to stop importing them," said Gamal. "In fact my dream is for us to export our lanterns to China!"
In the run up to Ramadan, nothing is more traditional than a lantern but with Gamal's twist on it, Cairo's modern lanterns could bring the economic boost the city needs.
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