While the island of Zamalek is full of various art galleries, bookstores and coffee shops, it’s the perfect hangout for anyone dying for a little aesthetic pleasure or perusing of the intellect. Situated across from Diwan and behind Aboul Sid is the Behler’s Mansion, home to Al Masar Gallery.

Founded and directed by Waleed Abdul Khalek, his twenty years of experience in promoting modern and contemporary Egyptian art are clearly visible from the moment you walk through the gallery’s door. To commemorate Al Masar’s second year of dedication to its use as a multifunctional exhibition space, they are currently holding a collective exhibit entitled Contemporary Views III: Masters of Yesterday, Landmarks of Today and Stars of Tomorrow.

The exhibit covers a broad range of styles in addition to schools of contemporary and modern art, with the majority of the artists hailing from Egypt . At the time of our visit, the curator on site was more than welcoming and gave us our space to wander from room to room. From the gallery’s dark wooden flooring to its sporadic bookshelves and seating areas, the cosy yet aesthetically refined environment will have you feeling at home in no time.

The works of art range from sprawling, oil and acrylic pieces to smaller bronze sculptures. A large portion of the pieces follows the theme of the female body through various forms and forte, we couldn’t help but wonder what the message is behind these pieces. One eye-catching piece was a polished chrome bronze piece by Essam Darwich. 35x35cm in size and minimal with detail yet highly stylised, the piece consists of nine panels brought together by fine lines and hammered insets, and can be interpreted as a delicate expression of emotion and human touch.

You’ll find a few George Bahgoury pieces scattered throughout the rooms, while one of his large oil and acrylic paintings was displayed: well-composed and filled with bright hues and abstract design as well as small details throughout; it takes awhile to soak the painting in.

In the back room that serves as an office-and-seating area, there are two phenomenal still-life oil paintings by Sameh Aboul Ezim that you won’t want to miss. With a precise amount of detail given, you’d have to give a second look to ensure they aren’t photographs. While one painting depicts three rugged leather suitcases waiting near a shore as a storm approaches, the other at its side portrays a young woman solemnly waiting on the very same shore. Not only do the paintings work inexplicably well together; but with colours and texture so rich, you’re left nearly feeling the materials and atmosphere; evoking a relationship of travel and lost love.

While you’re there, be sure to also check out the latest works by Hany Rashed and Haytham Nawwar. The gallery is a great getaway on a hot summer’s day; so stop by and enjoy the exhibit; maybe it will get your own creative juices flowing.