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Downtown, Cairo, Egypt.
Townhouse Gallery: Untitled 3 (WAM) World Agriculture Museum
Over the past two months, Townhouse Gallery of Contemporary Art has been insanely busy with over three exhibitions held simultaneously! The Cairo winter buzz has created the perfect atmosphere for braving the cold to warm up with a little art.
This exhibition in particular has had this reviewer giddy with intrigue as Townhouse artist-in-residence- Asuncion Molinos- finally revealed her months of Cairo-based work to the public. Opening to a full house on December 13th and continuing until January 25th, the exhibition is hosted by Townhouse but is showing off-site at the lower level of CIC's space on Abdel Khaleq Tharwat Street in Downtown Cairo.
Titled ‘Untitled 3 (WAM) World Museum of Agriculture,’ the exhibition was originally inspired by the aesthetics of Cairo’s Agricultural Museum and through that, Molinos put forward an alternative look into the current agricultural situation, on both a local and a global scale.
The space is divided into three main rooms, where Molinos has used the aesthetic principles to create a vista based off an old-school museum design of cabinetry: objects and text play off one another with multiple perspectives, raising curiosity about the processes of food production and the cultural impacts within.
Enabling positions, myths and opinions as well as data and truth to chaotically come together, Molinos has created both a physical and a mental space for viewers to critically engage with the topics at hand. This crafted social arena includes topics ranging from food security to sovereignty and the use of biotechnology.
Particularly astounding when it comes to the genetically-modified foods industry is the Doomsday Seed Vault installation, which explains the lengths to which the industry will go to maintain a safety net of resources if ever survival is sparse.
Not only does this exhibit put forth a wide array of contemporary issues in the agricultural world; but it also provides a look back on the transformation of museums alone. From small, stuffed rooms of wonder to large spaces involving high-end technology, their very essence as a cultural hub has not changed. With one of the key goals in mind to display information, as it pertains to the local society, museums spark thought and discussion while maintaining a sense of collective identity of those engaging with it.
Through Molinos’ exceptionally created instalments and their juncture with the formally mentioned aesthetics, agricultural knowledge is displayed coherently and imaginatively. The artist provides multiple viewpoints on the subject of agriculture, which is often deemed an undeveloped topic when discussed in a modern setting. For Molinos, though; it couldn’t be more applicable.
Don’t miss this exciting exhibition and its enlightening experience!
Eyes are the windows to the soul; an old saying that was perfectly demonstrated in Zamalek Art Gallery’s current exhibition, ‘The Magic Thread’.
‘The Magic Thread’ features a collection of unique, childlike and somewhat eerie figurative paintings by Syrian artist, Souad Mardam Bey, who, through her artistic talent and devotion, conveys intense feelings through the eyes of each painting.
Each painting portrays a different character; only it seems that the same captivating element in each one of them is the eyes, which seem to be filled with some sort of sadness or longing that can be further understood differently.
One particular painting shows a female figure –a child most likely— with her head titled to the side, smelling a white-petal flower with large longing eyes which seem to be gazing right out of the canvas. Everything about this painting is simple and bland; except the eyes, which are much more detailed and slightly bigger than one would expect which draws the viewer in even further.
The background of Bey’s paintings are simple and exist purely of one flat colour; which is why more attention is drawn to the innocent childish figures painted on top portraying a 2D style, similar to the one you find in children’s books.
Another painting that stood out depicts a young girl figure or doll, dressed up in a floral pink dress and make-up, looking into a mirror with large sad eyes, a common element in many of Bey’s artwork.
‘The Magic Thread’ is a title that not only draws on the childlike theme in this exhibition, but also evokes the idea of children’s toys and dolls coming to life, especially through their expressive eyes—which seemed to be the central point of this exhibition.
With its ray of unique large portraits and simple childlike style, Bey’s exhibition is without a doubt captivating one and it succeeded to attract a large crowd among art connoisseurs in Cairo.