Best of Arts & Culture in Cairo: A Look Back at 2010 - Arts & Culture Feature - Cairo 360

Best of Arts & Culture in Cairo: A Look Back at 2010
Best of Arts & Culture in Cairo: A Look Back at 2010
Published On: 28/12/2010

Looking back on the past year’s finest events in arts and culture in Cairo leaves us with a strong sense of nostalgia and excitement. Cairo has thrown more opportunities at us than our energy levels could handle, but after hours of tedious deliberation, here’s our list of our favourites:

Best Cultural Festival: Mawaweel Festival

With the help of Cairo Jazz Club and Darb 1718, this musical festival in Ramadan was well-organised and a great success. The festival was filled with activities ranging from pottery classes and art exhibitions to bazaars, dance performances and concerts by both local and international musicians. Ramadan was colourfully celebrated with gusto and magic. Honourable Mentions: 3rd Mediterranean Urban Culture Gathering, Art Beat Festival

Best Community Initiative: Project Yourself

This open mic night is the 2009 brainchild of local designer Mariam El Quessny. Since then, the initiative has exponentially grown, yielding an amazing response! Young people from all around Cairo attended the series of open mic nights to catch the latest amateur talent and perform a little something of their own. Promoting self-expression in a welcoming, friendly environment, Project Yourself enjoyed a packed house every night. Read about their recent award here! Honourable Mentions: CIC's Open Content/Source Reading Group

Best Cultural Venue: Makan

Located in Mounira, this arts and music venue has an inexplicable charm to it its intimate and relaxed living room-like ambience. The venue’s aim is to preserve and promote the heritage of traditional Egyptian music, while also promoting fresh ideas through various events such as used book sales and open mic nights. Appropriate for all ages, Makan is a humble little abode. Honourable Mentions: Al Ghouri Complex, Darb 17 18

Best New Gallery: Ayyam Gallery

With branches in Beirut, Dubai and Damascus, Ayyam Gallery has built a reputation for sophistication and quality contemporary art work; and their recently opened gallery in Zamalek is no exception. The gallery’s mission is to ensure that Arab artists receive the international recognition and appreciation that they deserve. Well-lit with predominantly white walls, the gallery is designed so that each art piece is given the space and attention that it deserves. Honourable Mentions: Al Kahila Art Gallery

Best Artistic Projects: Townhouse Gallery of Contemporary Art:

Through their unconventional approach to experiencing and accessing art in Cairo, Townhouse Gallery of Contemporary Art always has a new project going on, whether it’s an artist talk, dance workshop, or a photography project with the surrounding mechanic’s community. Focusing more on showcasing intriguing and inspiring art than on just selling work, the gallery’s energy and enthusiasm are endless. Honourable Mentions: CIC

Most Interactive Exhibition: ‘Paper Trail!’ Exhibition

The Contemporary Image Collective’s artist-in-residence Francesc Ruiz set viewers up for an exciting journey through Downtown Cairo by using comic books as a guide. Viewers explored the interplay of visuals and the written word, as a vice for both communication and dissemination of information in the modern day. The exhibition skilfully created a fun and insightful viewing experience. Honourable Mentions: Townhouse Gallery’s ‘Bidoun Library’

Most Fascinating Exhibition: ‘Exhumation of Egyptian Surrealist Movement

Few art enthusiasts in Cairo knew about the existence of an Egyptian Surrealist movement until this special exhibition by Townhouse Gallery’s artists-in-residence Adam Broomberg and Oliver Chanarin. As the exhibition continued, the displays changed every day, allowing the viewer to experience its organic construction while learning about a long forgotten movement in Cairo’s contemporary art scene. Honourable Mentions: Viennoise Hotel’s ‘Cairo Documenta’, Mashrabeya Gallery’s ‘Local Star’, Gezira Art Centre’s ‘Dolls’

Most Interesting Museum: Egyptian Textile Museum

Turning the Egyptian Museum on its head, this lesser known museum in Islamic Cairo is superbly maintained and preserved. Situated in the middle of Muezz El Din Street, this museum takes a peculiar yet fascinating spin on Egypt’s history through the use of textiles. The aesthetics of the building alone are enough to have any design geek drooling; and all for just a few Egyptian pounds. Honourable Mentions: The Museum of Islamic Art

Best Cultural Landmark: Gayer-Anderson Museum

Located in El Sayeda Zeinab, this unique ancient house is one of Cairo’s lesser known treasures. The house’s mashrabeya design is beautiful and well-preserved, and its expansive rooftop has a must-see view of Islamic Cairo from above. The relationship of Egypt’s art with its history, and urbanism unfolds throughout the collected pieces on display. Navigation is key to exploring this two-building structure and the wealth within. Honourable Mentions: Ahmed Shawki Museum, Beit El Suheimi



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