From the Cairo/Alex Desert Road to the winding alleyways of Downtown, various independent and institutionalized art spaces in Cairo provide us with numerous ways to both experience and enjoy our city’s contemporary art scene.
While concepts and programs differ from one gallery to another, knowing which venues to visit for what can be a bit tricky. Below is a list that will help you manage a day of gallery hopping around this adventurous city.
Zamalek: Located behind Maison Thomas off of 26th of July Street, Al Masar Gallery is known for their exhibits by prominent artists such as Hany Rashed and Georges Baghory. The space is expansive and makes for a great break from daytime errands in the neighbourhood. Safar Khan is situated on Brazil Street, providing an intimate viewing experience with its tiny two-floor space. Down the road, Zamalek Art Gallery boasts a homey yet well-established atmosphere, where the artwork is sometimes displayed in a harried and disorganised way. Located on the first floor of a residential building across from Hana and Moon Flower, Picasso Gallery is hit-and-miss but makes for a quick run through when you’re on Hassan Assem Street.
Downtown/Garden City: Providing a more alternative cultural experience as opposed to the mainstream refinement of the Zamalek galleries, the Downtown art scene continues to flourish from the streets to the interior spaces. The independence of the well-established Townhouse Gallery of Contemporary Art makes it a successful venue for both accessibility and experience. Not only does the gallery continuously manage projects; but they’ve also got a great library space to peruse at your disposal. The surrounding neighbourhood also includes the Mashrabia Gallery, which is a smaller space with less of a following. A visit to Espace Karim Francis Gallery on El Sherifein Street is great to pair with a shisha and fresh juice from the open-air ahwa below. Contemporary Image Collective (CIC) has been re-opened for almost a year now and is continuing to present many exciting opportunities for involvement, including workshops and darkroom access. If you’re looking to invest in an affordable piece of art, head to Duroub Gallery in Garden City.
Dokki/Mohandiseen/Giza: El Kahila Art Gallery is simply designed and tucked away on El Batal Ahmed Street. The outdoor gardens provide a peaceful setting while the staff give you your space but are always available to answer any questions. Small display cabinets showcase jewellery pieces by local designers.
Coptic Cairo: Surrounded by historical beauty is the ever-growing Darb 17 18. As the home to workshops and performances and a big patron of the local community through artistic endeavours; Darb 17 18 also hosts art exhibits on a regular basis. The area of El Fustat makes for a great trip, where you can expand your horizon of art in Cairo while soaking in some deep history while you’re at it.
Maadi: Easel and Camera Gallery on Nasr Street provides the perfect opportunity to catch a little art and coffee. Surrounded by local and international coffee chains, Easel and Camera often goes under the radar, and its exhibits aren’t as regular as other galleries around.Cairo/Alex Desert Road: For those up for a little consumption, head to Designopolis on the Cairo/Alex Desert Road where you can enjoy some art while shopping from the upscale home design shops in the mall. Tache Gallery is a newly opened space; its first exhibit showcased twenty years of work by acclaimed local artist Huda Lutfi. With big ambitions, who knows what this gallery is up to next.