Animals in Downtown: On D-CAF’s 2017 Concept

If you were roaming the streets of Cairo Downtown and Zamalek streets over the past few days, you must have seen those colourful, lifelike posters of animals walking freely and carelessly in the midst of Downtown streets. News headlined “Something big is coming Downtown” and “Downtown is about to get wild real soon” and despite the too much anticipation, no one could ever guess it was the city’s own Downtown Contemporary Arts Festival taking it to the streets once again for the 6th year.

The concept behind D-CAF 2017 animal posters is to familiarize what might people perceive as odd, which, in relation to arts, is what contemporary art is all about. According to Ahmed El Attar, D-CAF Artistic Director, the idea is to “blend the familiar and the unfamiliar into one,” and that’s what contemporary art attempts to achieve; change our perception about the things we see, walk past by and take for granted everyday.

The giraffe poster is a great example to what D-CAF 2017 is aiming to manifest. Downtowners or not, we walk past by the female Syrian-Russian graffiti artist Dina Saadi’s stellar piece “Unlock Your Passion” in Mohamed Mahmoud street almost everyday on our way to work or to meet a friend, but little do we acknowledge its significance, let alone take a moment to ponder its artistic worth.

Now inserting a wild animal like a giraffe which is unlikely to be seen in a city like Cairo, it gives rise to our perception of art and what we might have felt as familiar for long is now blended with something that we usually not find familiar. This is precisely is what D-CAF’s animal concept is targeted to highlight.


So as to sink deeper into how the idea of the animal concept came to life, Enas Abdel Hamid, D-CAF’s Senior Graphic Designer, explains that it was merely something Attar came up with during a staff meeting and everyone made fun of. But she liked the idea being it something crazy and was never done before, so they decided to make it happen.

The team compiled a list of suggested animals to invade Downtown streets and suggested places in which animals could be virtually placed. The initial plan included various giant, wild animals and public places very characteristic of Downtown. For example, a bear would be coming out of the subway doors in Saddat Metro Station and a gorilla would be standing on Qasr El-Nil bridge.

The following step for the D-CAF team now was to hire someone to take live photos of the suggested Downtown places, and who could do that better than Egypt’s own Taimour Othman, who’s very well known for launching This Is Egypt and Roam Egypt?

Taimour chose to be part of this experience because, similar to his personal photography work, D-CAF aims to shed light on something the people don’t know exist, provide opportunities and spread awareness. Accompanied by his camera, he headed Downtown and started shooting photographs of spots intended to be on D-CAF 2017 posters.  

“It was really challenging for Taimour to take the photos thanks to Cairo’s volatile weather, especially in the winter,” says Enas. “the first attempt didn’t go so well; it was a cloudy, rainy day and photos turned out to be quite dark and the colours weren’t the best. We were concerned that it might take Taimour long before he was able to do the work. However, he went out on the following day and took the photos agreed upon. There was plenty of sun.”



The photos were ready, and it was about time D-CAF’s marketing team ventured into the new concept. Enas, with the help of her team, was on the lookout for basic animal photos that could easily be inserted into the photographs.

It was a long run for the team; trying to find free animal photos to use, selecting the proper animals for the overall festival concept, selecting the proper positioning of the animal figures into the photos, selecting the proper colouring for both the figures and the photos to suit the festival’s theme, and so on.


As Enas was about to finish, the rest of the team reviewed the results, and not all of which was satisfactory. Some of the photos included seals in Adly street, some others had a gorilla carrying her baby over Qasr El-Nil bridge, while some others had elephants dancing and playing in a public square and, in their opinion, these photos didn’t much relate to the concept they had in mind.


After many meetings and discussions, the team agreed to only put out the posters with a giraffe, a zebra and a rhino. The photos covered everything produced by D-CAF, brochures, festival calendars, bookmarks, notebooks, mugs and bags. You can find the festival brochures and calendars in cultural centers, bookstores and many places within Cairo. You can also buy the D-CAF notebooks, mugs and bags at any of the events. 

D-CAF17 Open Call for Volunteers

النسخه السادسه لدي-كاف على الابواب. شكرا لانتظاركم و الان حان الوقت لفتح فرصة التقديم  على برنامج المتطوعين لدي-كاف١٧ لتكونوا جزء من اكبر مهرجان عالمياً صادر من القاهره لبرامج الفنون المعاصرة المتعددة والتفاعلية للفنون المسرحية وروح المدينة والأحداث الخاصة والأفلام    والموسيقى والفنون البصرية

اذا كنت من مُحبي الفنون و متحمس لتكون ضمن فريق دي-كاف١٧، الرجاء إرسال سبب رغبتك في الإنضمام لبرنامج المتطوعين للمهرجان و ارسال معلومات الإتصال بك على و

هذا البرنامج جزء من مشروع مينا و هذه الفعاليات بدعم من الإتحاد الآوروبي

We are very excited to announce the Volunteers call for the sixth edition of D-CAF. It doesn’t matter if you are a student, a part-timer, or a full-timer. If you are a dedicated person who is passionate about the arts and cultural scene, keen to gain and learn more about it, join D-CAF17 team and be part of the movement.

Send your contact info and letter of motivation to & 

This program is part of MINNA project and this activity is co-funded by the  European Union.

Open Call for Contemporary Dancers

   دي-كاف يعلن عن دعوة مفتوحة لراقصين معاصرين لعرضين جُدد. عرض  لشركة ستوب جاب و عرض للفنانه يوب أونك ليكونوا جزء من نسخة ٢٠١٧ للمهرجان

لمعرفه المزيد عن عرض ستوب جاب و التقديم،  الرجاء فتح هذا الرابط

   لمعرفه المزيد عن عرض مكعبات للفنانه يوب أونك و التقديم،  الرجاء فتح هذا الرابط

أخر ميعاد للتقديم هو١٥ مارس ٢٠١٧

هذه الورشه جزء من مشروع مينا و هذه الفعاليه بدعم من الإتحاد الآوروبي

D-CAF17 is announcing an Open call for contemporary dancers to be part of  two new performances by StopGap Dance company  and by the artist Joop Oonk.

To know more about StopGap performance and apply as a dancer, please Click here

To Know more about Blocks performance and apply as a dancer, please Click here

Deadline for applying is the 15th of March

This workshop is part of MINNA project and the activity is co-funded by the  European Union.




D-CAF17 is looking for Female Dancers

تبحث الفنانه تارا بانديل على مؤديات وراقصات معاصرات  بتقنيات رقص معاصر قوية وخبرة جيدة في الأداء ليكونوا جزء من عملها الفني الجديد الذي سيكون جزء من دي-كاف ١٧ 

للمزيد من الفاصيل و التقديم الرجاء فتح هذا الرابط

The artist, dancer and performer Tara Brandel is looking for two female Contemporary dancers to be part of a new performance in D-CAF17.

To know more about the performance and  the applying process, please click here


  .دي-كاف يبحث عن مؤديين لحركات مستمرة العرض للفنان مانويل بلماس

  ثمان عارضين رقص، فنانين ، و طلاب فنون من القاهره سيأخذون مساحه في وسط البلد لتئدية العرض. اذا كنت فنان معاصر و راقصا أو فنان ومن  طلاب الفنون و وتمتلك فضول لتاريخ و حاضر توضيحات الفن و المتاحف،  الرجاء فتح هذا الرابط لمعرفة المزيد

أخر موعد لارسال الاستماره هو ١٢ فبراير ٢٠١٧

D-CAF17 is looking for performers participation in a performative ongoing action by Manuel Pelmus.

Eight performers, artists and art students from Cairo will take over an empty space in Downtown to enact a new museum. Contemporary dancers and performers or artists and art students, with a strong interest in the history and present manifestation of art and museums are welcome to apply.

For Performance’s details and applying please Click Here

Deadline of application is 12th of February 2017


D-CAF is looking for a Press Officer with University degree in journalism, media, PR, mass communication or a related field, particularly in the arts and humanities. S/He must be Fluent in English and good Arabic with Excellent English & Arabic writing and editing skills & Good teamwork skills.

For The Detailed Job Description and Applying Please Click Here

Deadline for Application is 26th of January 2017


D-CAF is looking for Information officer with Keen interest in either journalism/ writing and/or the arts.

S/he will be responsible for managing all content for the marketing and press departments of the festival, and also writing and/or editing texts for marketing and press materials, including all press releases.

For more information and For Applying click here

Deadline for Application is 26th of January 2017

Arab Arts Focus Edinburgh – Artists Open Call

The Arab Arts Focus is coming to Edinburgh Festival Fringe 2017 from the 4th till the 28th of August)!

The Arab Arts Focus is a showcase of new Arab work. It was first presented in 2014 as part of the Downtown Contemporary Arts Festival in Cairo (D-CAF).

The AAF is co-produced by D-CAF Festival (Cairo) & Northern Stage (Newcastle) in collaboration with Tamasi collective for Performing Arts.

We are looking for the most exciting Arab performance artists, companies, or collectives that have new work to present to the international stage. This is an open call to find the most engaging, thought-provoking and creative contemporary work Arab artists have to offer.

Interested applicants should download the application and fill out then send it along with a CV to by Tuesday 24th of January 2017 at midnight Cairo local time.

For any enquiries or additional information please write to Miss Sara Shaarawi, the AAFE coordinator, at stating your name and including the word “Enquiry” in the header of the email.

Open Call:
Click here for the full open call in Arabic.
Click here for the full open call in English.

For works in production:
Click here to download the application form in Arabic
Click here to download the application form in English.

For fully produced works:
Click here to download the application form in Arabic
Click here to download the application form in English.


يسرنا ان نعلن عن انعقاد ملتقى الفنون العربية لأول مرة في النسخة السبعين لمهرجان ادنبرة فرينج في ٢٠١٧

ملتقى الفنون العربية هو برنامج يُعرض به اعمال فنبة معاصرة عربية، لقد تم تقديمه لأول مرة فى ٢٠١٤ ضمن مهرجان دي-كاف للفنون المعاصرة الملتقى من انتاج دي-كاف (القاهرة) و نورثرن ستايج (نيوكاسل) بالتعاون مع تماسي

انها دعوة مفتوحة للفنانون والفرق والتجمعات الفنية العربية الأكثر حرفية الجديدة على المسارح الدولية، للبحث عن الأعمال العربية المعاصرة الأكثر ارتباطً بالواقع وإثارة الفكر

للتقديم، يُرجى ملئ استمارة التقديم، مصحوبة بسيرة ذاتية، وإرسالهما إلى في موعد أقصاه الثلاثاء الموافق ٢٤ يناير ٢٠١٧ منتصف الليل بتوقيت القاهرة المحلي

للمزيد من الاستفسارات أو المعلومات الإضافية، برجاء التواصل مع سارة شعراوي، منسقة ملتقى الفنون العربية، على، مع ذكر اسمك وكتابة كلمة ““Enquiry أو “استفسار” في عنوان الإيميل

الدعوة المفتوحة

الاستمارة للاعمال الجاهزة للعرض

الاستمارة للاعمال في مرحلة التطوير

D-CAF is in Urgent call for an Arabic/French Assistant Director

URGENT call for an Arabic/French Assistant Director.

Have the chance to work with the renowned French theatre director and playwright Pascal Rambert on “CLÔTURE DE L’AMOUR (LOVE’S END)” for the coming D-CAF edition in 2017.

5 more days for the Final Deadline: 6th of December

For more information on the job description, click here