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Farewell to great actor Salim Kallas

Syrian people bade farewell today to great Syrian actor Salim Kallas who passed away yesterday at his house aged 77. The late actor’s body will be laid to rest in Bab al-Saghir cemetery following noon prayers. His death is a grave loss to Syrian TV drama as he was one of the pioneers who played different roles successfully since the early beginning of Syrian TV.

As a pioneer of Syrian TV drama, Kallas played roles in scores of TV series that reflected his prodigious skill in playing various characters skilfully. The most famous among these series is Maraya (mirrors), a social drama that started in the early 1980s and continued until the present. In cooperation with famous comedian Yasser al-Azmeh, Kallas was able to address a number of important social problems and other issues related to people’s livelihood in comic panels that gave the duet a wide popularity not only in Syria but throughout the Arab world.

The late actor was also famed for playing roles in the series that cast light on the history of Damascus and Syria. These include “The Nights of al-Salehia” and Damascene Days which shed light on the city of Damascus at the end of the 19th century and the beginning of the 20th century and the struggle of the Syrian people against the Ottoman and the French occupation. He appeared as the polygamist barber highlighting the distinctive features of this character and his pivotal role in the Damascene society.

Another important role for Kallas was in Hammam al-Qishani, (al-Qishani Public Bathhouse) which documents the modern history of Syria focusing on the post independence period and the social and political changes that took place in the country in the 1950s and the 1960s.

His great success pushed TV drama directors to make him play parts in most of Syrian TV series which included Bab al-Hara, (The Gate of the Alley),Tahoun al-Shar, (The Grind of Evil) and Bait Jaddi (My Grandfather’s House).

Theatre has a share in Kallas’s eventful career. While a university student, Kallas played roles at the stage of the University Theatre. He excelled at playing roles in Shakespearean plays, especially The Merchant of Venice and Macbeth.

In radio, he was an active participant in “The Rule of Justice”, a weekly TV programme that is based on cases taken from the criminal courts. The programme has been broadcast on Damascus Radio since the late 1970s.

In cinema, the late actor played parts in four feature films; the most famous was Naji al-Ali along with the Egyptian movie star Noor al-Sharif. The film sheds light on the biography of famous Palestinian cartoonist Naji al-Ali who was assassinated in London in 1987 by the Israeli Mossad because of his daring cartoons that disclosed the occupation racist practices and the treacherous stands of some Palestinian and Arab leaderships.


Top-notch Syrian Actor SaleemKallas Passes Away

DAMASCUS, (ST) – After a long battle with the disease, the Syrian Actor,  SaleemKallas passed away on Monday at his residence.

SaleemKallas, 77-year old, born inDamasucus on Jan. 13, 1936. He graduated from  Damascus university with Bachelor of Commerce degree. The deceased has five daughters and one son.

He debuted his artistic career through participation with  university students  in performing  plays on the stage. He worked at the national theater and later moved to the Syrian TV one year after it was established. His first participation was a movie called "Asha'a al-Wada'a" (Farewell Dinner).

Kallas' artistic career consequently expanded on the stage, TV, cinema and radio. He performed at famous plays such as the Merchant of Venice and Macbeth.

In Radio's activities, he was a recurring performer in the popular radio series "Hokm al-Adala."

His participation in cinema was through short movies  such as" GhawiMashakel,"  " Lael al-Rejal,'    "Naji al-Ali," in addition to his funny movie "Short &Fanilla and cap."

He also participated in T.V series as "Maraya,"  'ashtar,"  al-Khawali,"Bab al-Hara."

May he rest in peace. Kallas' body was laid to rest in QaberAtqueh  cemetery on Tuesday following noon prayers in Musaab Bin Omair Mosque in al-Baramka area.


Syrian Artists Express Will of Life

 Art is the language of life and people. The cultural life is continuous despite the terrorist acts. Representing the will of life in the Syrians' mind, two hundred artists have participated in the Annual Autumn Exhibition recently held in the Cultural Centre of Art in Damascus.

The exhibition depicted paintings which are diverse in terms of techniques used ranging from murals to small sized pictures in addition to carving and sculpturing works.

Minister of Culture Dr. Lubana Mushaweh said in a press statement" this year's exhibition is a distinguished and important one as it surpassed the past two years' participation in terms of quantity, quality and diversity".

She clarified that the exhibition in the years 2011 and 2012 witnessed a slim participation due to the difficult circumstances and the vicious conspiracy against Syria.

"Nevertheless, this year's exhibition constitutes a qualitative stride as it has restored its brightness", Mushaweh added.

She highlighted the Syrian artists who presented their works to assert that the Syrian innovation and originality are incessant despite all the severe circumstances and barbaric acts.

Mushaweh pointed out that the Ministry will pick remarkable and distinguished works from the exhibition to be included among the Ministry' collectibles and memorabilia.

She made it clear that when the crisis in Syria is over, the Ministry will establish a museum of modern art to delineate the Ministry's collectibles among which are the current ones. 

Chairman of the Syrian Plastic Artists' Federation Haider Yazaji said that this year's exhibition is of paramount importance when compared to the past two years' exhibition, as two hundred paintings are being displayed.

He stressed that artists embody, during their participation, the continuation of cultural life in Syria despite the terrorist acts because Syrians are no longer defending themselves but also their cultural existence too.

The participating artists indicated that every Syrian citizen is combating terrorism in his own way and life will continue as Syria is the cradle of culture and civilization.

They reiterated that Syria will remain a beacon in the entire world and an impregnable fortress to all enemies.

Rawaa Ghanam

Actor Rafik Sbei Honored

The Arab Writers' Union offered the actor Rafik Sbei a memorial shield and a certificate of appreciation where the honored artist offered the Union a statuette embodying 'Abu Sayah' character.

"I Congratulate the Syrian people  for the this stage where the Artist and actor receive their rights in being honored by their generous country.  This indicates that in Syria we hit a high level of  art and culture that  qualify us to be paralleled by civilized countries."

"This day is my red letter day and  one of the happiest days of my life to be honored by the Arab Writers Union.  I am overwhelmingly elated  for the coming generations that they will be handsomely  honored also for their catching art".

 On Monday, the Prominent actor Rafik Sbei spoke  at the Arab Culture Center in Abu Rumaneh where Arab Writers Union Honored him with the participation of artists, intellectuals, writers  who in their turn delivered speeches in the lauding  this talented  actor.

In speech delivered at the Arab writers Union,  Nizar Bani  Marja said:" it is not strange to honor  a dramatic character which has been  acting since the fifties of the last century.  

" He gave a brief explanation about the performance of the artist saying that the actor Rafik is a talented one  , he is able to play all roles . In the national theater he played complicated roles using the formal Arabic Language before he  became  director of the national theatre.

Actress Huda Sharawi highlighted the experience of Rafik Sbei in Arabic cinema, especially the Lebanese and Egyptian cinema where he played the protagonist roles in films along with famous singers and actors such as Fairuz and Samira Tawfik .

Director Hasan Henawi talked about the artist skills in Radio since 60 years. Beside acting, he worked as a director at the Syrian Radio after coming back from Cairo where he studied direction there .Henawi also concentrated on the singing capability of the famous actor saying that the actor sang more than 400 songs.

 The actor vividly lived all the crises in Syria especially the ongoing one since two years. He presented patriotic songs , in which he called for dialogue ,  laying down arms , and coming  back home.

'Rafik Sbei is a versatile actor, monologist ,  poet , singer , director, and brilliant. His experience in Egypt enriched his talent. He is famous in the Arab world as  the popular character " Abu Sayah" ". Actor Ahmad Khalifa in his  presentation said.

Sbei was born in 1930 in al-Bzoriyeh neighborhood in old Damascus and is considered as one of the well-renowned actors in Syria and the Arab world.

By: N.H.Khider

Venezuela Hosts Syrian "Land, Love and Resistance" Exhibition

Under the title "Land, Love and Resistance" a Syrian plastic art exhibition was opened at a number of places in Venezuela including the Federal Legislative Palace, the headquarters of the Venezuelan foreign Ministry, the Yellow House and Caracas Museum.

 Representatives of various accredited diplomatic missions attended the opening ceremony.

Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro asserted on his Twitter page that the exhibition, which includes more than 50 paintings, embodies the deep-rooted Syrian culture, expressing his amicable welcome of hosting such an event in Venezuela.

For her part, Deputy Chairwoman of the Yellow House considered the exhibition as a good opportunity to get familiar with the profuse culture of the Syrian people with whom we are bound by deep and strong friendship relations for years.

She added that this exhibition doesn't only bear the message of the Syrian art but also expresses the Venezuelan people's solidarity with the Syrian people in confronting the ongoing crisis Syria has been facing during this historic period.

Director of Caracas Museum  said" it is a great honor for the museum  to host such Syrian art activities, not only to express high appreciation of the Syrian art value, but also to affirm the Venezuelan stances of solidarity with Syria".

The Syrian Ambassador to Caracas, Ghassan Abass, highlighted that the exhibited paintings reflect the Syrian people's hope and carry a message of peace to the world.

He highly appreciated the Venezuelan government's supportive stance towards Syria's current crisis in combating the heinous war waged on Syria by the foreign-backed terrorist groups.

The exhibition screened a documentary showing the Syrian families' sufferings and the huge and hostile damage caused by the armed terrorist groups which are supported by Arab and foreign governments.

The event also included folkloric dance and poetry extracts. It is noteworthy that the exhibition's revenue will be allocated to the Syrian families affected by terrorist acts.

The Syrian artists participating in the exhibition stressed their allegiance to their home-land Syria, rejection to bow to terrorism and their readiness to sacrifice everything in defense of their homeland, Syria.

Rawaa Ghanam