US State Secretary, Egypt FM discuss bloodshed in Gaza, stress strategic partnership    Egypt's Al-Sisi in Paris for Sudan Transition Conference    Sundance Institute names 20 fellows across upcoming summer labs    Grand Egyptian Museum opening to be as impressive as Royal Mummies Parade: El-Anani    Egypt to soon complete COVID-19 vaccination of tourism workers in Red Sea, South Sinai    EGP 308.3bn allocated to Egypt economic authorities to support services, development projects    Chief of Egypt's Financial Regulator elected as committee head at IOSCO    Washington calls for resumption of GERD talks    Egypt, Saudi Arabia aim to restore calm in Palestinian territories    Comedy actress Nadia Al-Iraqia passes away from COVID-19    Egypt's Health Ministry launches awareness campaigns against COVID-19    Sudan pledges to investigate killing of 2 protestors during peaceful sit-in    Egypt scales up readiness of hospitals nationwide for Eid Al-Fitr holidays    Egyptian hospitals in Sinai on alert amid Israeli aggression on Gaza    Egypt announces Thursday 1st day of Eid Al-Fitr    Nuweiba: Egypt's paradise of serenity    Egypt's trade deficit down 1.2% to $3.34bn in February 2021: CAPMAS    Global economic recovery to improve debt service coverage ratios: Moody's    Egypt's current account deficit jumps to $7.6 bln in 1H of FY2020/21: CBE    India signs an agreement to buy 300,000 doses of Remdesivir from Eva Pharma    Egypt will locally manufacture first 2m Sinovac vaccine doses by June-end    Turkey seeks to restore 'historic unity' with Egyptian people: Erdogan    Elneny's Arsenal targets 'remontada' in Europa League semi-finals    Zamalek eye return to victories at expense of Smouha in Egyptian Premier League    Al Ahly face injuries as they take on Al Ittihad Alexandria    Egypt buys 30 Rafale fighter jets from France    Direct flights between Russia and Egypt will resume in June, Ambassador    Egypt's Ahly is establishing a new stadium, expected to be 'sports complex'    Blinken presses Ethiopia's Abiy to ensure full withdrawal of Eritrean troops from Tigray    Forces opposed to Somali president control parts of Mogadishu    Nine people executed in Egypt over Kerdasa police killings in 2013    UEFA investigating Ibrahimovic's alleged ties to betting company    61 doctors died from coronavirus since start of April: Egypt's medical syndicate    Egypt targets 5.6% inflation rate in FY2020/21, 6% in FY2021/22    Egypt allocates EGP 132 bln to modernise railway system: Transport minister    Real Madrid not thinking about any Super League sanctions: Zidane    Total declares force majeure on Mozambique LNG after attacks    All the winners at the 93rd Academy Awards    Egypt's Ahly granted approval to build new stadium on Cairo outskirts    Aswan Int'l Women's Film Festival dedicates 5th edition to Kawthar Heikal    BREAKING: Egypt's information minister Osama Heikal resigns amid parliamentary criticism    'War was not Egypt's aim, but peace was the ultimate goal,' Sisi says on Sinai Liberation Day anniversary    Factbox: Key nominations for the 2021 Academy Awards    Old Cairo's Al-Fustat will be revamped on Egyptian President's directives    Veteran Egyptian journalist Makram Mohamed Ahmed passes away at 86    Allianz Egypt partners with IGNITE to equip brand ambassadors for 2021 Olympics    Hassan Allam consortium wins contract to manage, operate Grand Egyptian Museum    Seasoned Egyptian screenwriter Wahid Hamed dies at 76    







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Man of letters
Published in Ahram Online on 23 - 03 - 2021

Last Thursday, 18 March, the Egyptian cultural scene was shocked and saddened to hear of the death of former minister of culture Shakir Abdel-Hamid. Abdel-Hamid was 69 when he died a week after he was admitted to a hospital in Giza suffering from Covid-19 complications. Within minutes of the news breaking, social media filled with the fondest and warmest words and memories. They came from students, fellow scholars, intellectuals, critics and friends who paid condolences to each other, often recalling moments of courage or reminiscing about books he wrote or translated. They all stressed his long journey through and huge contribution to the cultural sphere.
Abdel-Hamid was born on 20 June 1952 in Assiut, Upper Egypt. He studied psychology at Cairo University, graduating in 1974, and he embarked on his academic journey by earning a Masters and PhD in the psychology of creativity, also from Cairo University where he went on to teach, in 1980 and 1984, respectively. Later, he became a professor of the psychology of creativity at the Egyptian Arts Academy and was appointed Dean of the Higher Institute of Art Criticism at the Academy of Arts. He was also the Vice-President of the Arts Academy (2003-2005), a professor at the Faculty of Graduate Studies and the Director of Gifted Students Programme at the University of the Arabian Gulf-Bahrain. Creativity was always the focus of his research. He also worked as Secretary General of the Supreme Council of Culture and he was appointed Minister of Culture within the Kamal Al-Ganzouri cabinet in December 2011.
In spite of Abdel-Hamid's relentless efforts and constant work in academia, he was also always present as an active force in Egyptian cultural life, sharing the efforts and responsibilities of Arab cultural life. One of Abdel-Hamid's greatest contributions was an extensive and extended research project on the short story in Egypt lasting three years, which went beyond his Masters' thesis, resulting in a number of books. In this project he took on over 50 authors from Egypt, assessing and analysing their works and their contribution to the art of the short story, delving into the secrets of the genre and how it operates and coming up against a scholarly void.
Abdel-Hamid's research produced books like Al-Amaliya Al-Ebdaaiya fi Fann Al-Tasweer (The Creative Process in the Art of Photography, 1987), Al-Adab wal Junoun (Literature and Insanity, 1993), Al-Osous Al-Nafsiya Lel Ebdaa Al-Adabi Fi Al-Qessa Al-Qassira (The Principles of Psychological Creativity in the Short Story, 1993), Al-Hulm wal Ramz wal Ostoura (The Dream, the Symbol and the Legend, 1998), Al-Fokaha wal Dahik (Humor and Laughter, 2003) and others. He made numerous other contributions including journal and conference papers on the psychology of creativity.
Among his last publications were Al-Fann wa Tatawor Al-Thaqafa Al-Insaniya (Art and the Development of Human Culture, 2015), published by Merit Publishing House, Al-Tafsir Al-Nafsi Lel Tatarof wal Erhab (The Psychological Explanation for Extremism and Terrorism, 2017), published by the Bibliotheca Alexandrina, Madkhal Ela Al-Derrasa Al-Nafsiya Lel Adab (Introduction to the Psychological Study of Art, 2017), published by the Egyptian-Lebanese Publishing House, and his last book, Al-Hulm wal Kimyaa wal Ketaba (Dream, Chemistry and Writing), published by Batana for Publishing and Distribution.
Abdel-Hamid received many awards like the Shoman Prize for Young Arab Scientists in the Humanities in 1990 as well as the State Award for Excellence in Social Sciences in 2003. In 2012, he received the Sheikh Zayed Book Award in the Arts for his book Al-Fann wal Gharaba (Art and Strangeness) in Abu Dhabi. The book presents an academic critical study of eccentrics in arts and literature, combining theories that tackles topics and interactions with real life and the imagination.

*A version of this article appears in print in the 25 March, 2021 edition of Al-Ahram Weekly


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