‘Lady of Arab Screen’ combined ‘femininity’ with ‘strength’

The mayor of Cairo ended a conference on Sunday about women’s political participation by calling on the audience to join mourners headed to the funeral of iconic Egyptian film star Faten Hamama, who passed away over the weekend.

The Egyptian presidency expressed its “deep sorrow” over the death of Hamama, who died on Sunday at the age of 83 after suffering from a health condition. It praised Hamama, describing her as a “valued creative figure” whose “classy work” influenced many in Egypt and the Arab world.

While the former wife of internationally acclaimed actor Omar al-Sharif is remembered as one of Arab cinema’s most feminine and classy stars, many are dubbing Hamama as a symbol of women’s strength and describing her more than 100 film career as reflecting her advocacy for women’s rights.

“Faten Hamama was not given the title ‘The Lady of Arab Screen’ out of thin air as her work had always symbolized and expressed the plight of women,” the Arabic-language monthly magazine Hia, Arabic for she, said in online article as a tribute to the artist.

“Her work always illuminated on issues that have affected Egyptian and Arab women … at the time when nobody dared to touch these sensitive and thorny subjects,” it added.

One famed actress, who goes by the moniker Sharihan, wrote on her Facebook page that Hamama would remain “the greatest example for women and symbol for Egyptian women,” while Palestinian newspaper Al-Watan Voice described her as “the first who pursued women’s issues.”

Read the full piece, including a look at her films, here