While many like to readily discuss what a great history Egypt has with the arts, this particular line of reminiscence often comes at the expense of the contemporary arts scene – mankind rarely appreciates the 'now'. That in itself is a great shame to Egyptian arts and culture in 2016, which, when you step back and look at the wider picture, is more eclectic, encompassing and accessible than it has ever been – something that has always laid at the heart of international, interfaith art NGO, CARAVAN, and its upcoming exhibition, The Key.
Supported by SODIC for a third consecutive year in Egypt, the 2016 edition of CARAVAN's travelling exhibition is set to kick off on Tuesday 15th of March at Nile Art Gallery in Zamalek, where it will remain on show for a month, before moving to London and New York.
The exhibition aims to bridge east and west – a gap that is strained now more than ever, socially, politically and culturally. But the way in which CARAVAN approaches what on paper seems an impossible task is much simpler, showing art to be a unique and forbearing realm where east and west can share common ground.
This year's theme is built on one of the most recognisable, iconic and ancient symbols in Egyptian history – the Ankh, or the Key of Life. It's a fitting symbol for CARAVAN, with organisers holding it as giving "a message of hope for a harmonious, peaceful and tolerant world" – a message that defines CARAVAN to a tee. It also ties in nicely into SODIC's own commitment to the initiative, whose contributions aim to enrich local communities.
With 40 established and up-and-coming artists from around the world participating in The Key, the use of the Ankh is sure to produce a diverse and colourful exhibition, with a percentage of the proceeds set to be donated to Educate Me, which helps support the education of underprivileged children in Egypt.
While CARAVAN has its own ambitions and goals, it's presence on the local arts and culture scene has contributed to the continuing growth of the field. As more and more local artists find new platforms for their talent, they're also finding a renewed shared experience locally, regionally and internationally as part of a grander community – which can only serve to further to enrich art in Egypt.