Cairo Arts & Culture Guide - Arts & Culture reviews in Egypt

Cairo Arts & Culture

Freedom: Amina Salim's Latest Exhibition at Picasso Art Gallery
Published On: 04/11/2016

Believing that the future of the art scene in Egypt lies in the crafty hands of the country's young artists, Picasso Art Gallery in Zamalek is currently hosting another exhibition by Amina Salim. Two years after the success of her exhibition Impressions, new collection Freedom sees Salim use mixed media collage and Arabic calligraphy across over 35 paintings that dwell on the idea of women being an icon of beauty in the broad sense of the word. Not merely limited to the outer beauty of her muse, Salim depicts other aspects of the beauty of women in her paintings. For example, despite looking dazzling in their red dresses, the two women at the centre of a circular painting are surrounded by a rich background of patterns and a line saying "if it weren't for dreams, reality would've suffocated us," which delivers the message that there is more than meets the eye. Unlike the first painting, 'Free Your Mind' shines a light on how the world is blinded by a certain set of criteria regarding the physical beauty of women. Seated next to each other while dressed in their traditional attire, the artist celebrates the beauty of two African women through the colourful patterns of their garments, making them the centre of attention by toning down the details of the background. But the background in some paintings can tell the whole story. For example, from the upper torso of a woman painted in sky blue and gold in one piece is the outline of a ballerina, which is emboldened by the colourful background of fuchsia, green and a collage of book pages. This painting shows the artist's ability to boldly blend various elements and colours to form a whole solid structure. Speaking of bold, the most powerful painting of the exhibition is one that speaks about the amount of freedom women have in our society. Hidden behind a newspaper with a headline that reads "Egypt is the cornerstone of freedom in the Middle East," we see a cross-legged woman dressed in a short dress. The painting captures the ironic situation of women still fighting for their freedom in a country that strongly supports other nations' freedom. The plight of women in Egypt has been subject to many artistic interpretations, particularly in the last five years. But what Salim has done with Freedom is frame a subject that is often politicised in a way that communicates it on a much more visceral, human level. Salim doesn't present her subjects as victims, instead framing them as a source of strength and pride that hasn't been tapped into.


Art is My Life: Zamalek Art Gallery Pays Tribute to Pioneering Artist Gazbia Sirry
Published On: 30/10/2016

Celebrating the life of Gazbia Sirry, Zamalek Art Gallery is hosting a retrospective exhibition for the Egyptian artist, who commenced her artistic journey after her graduation from Art School in 1948, before becoming a pioneer in the field. Encompassing the fruits of such a long journey of exploration and experimentation, the first hall of the gallery hosts her early work through to the 80's, saving her most recent work to be displayed in the second. One of her early Pieces named 'Portrait of my Mother', which was painted in 1951, showed early signs of her passion for vibrant colours, although the rigidity of the academic method is highly visible in this painting; shyly emerging through the bright blue dress of her mother, her prominent use of vibrant colours is still overshadowed by the dark firm outline of the realistic setting of the scene. Slightly adrift from the academic influence, Gazbia Sirry's realistic settings started to take a more decorative form in the 60s. While the portrait of a Nubian family (1962) still shows her reverence to realism through the defined figures of the family, the decoratively-oriented Nubian culture seemed to have ignited her yearning to experiment different shapes and colours – which is evident through the Nubian Symbols drawn in the background of the painting. Though Sirry's love for bright colours seemed to have been on hold in the 70s, the 'desert' period witnessed more freedom of form. For example, though earthy colours dominated the painting but for a strike or two of bright blue and magenta in a painting called 'The Desert', the movements of the brush are freer. Giving life to the desert scenery, such freedom forms a sea of crashing waves of sand out of what we usually perceive as naturally static. This liberty of form was followed by an outburst of colours in the 80s, and that's when Sirry's distinctive artistic character took its prominent shape. Unlike the realistic human figures we saw in the Nubian family, the figures we see in a 1984 painting of a man and woman were effortlessly shaped by the brush, with different tones of brick red and green to give them detail. But the full growth of Gazbia Sirry is obvious in her most recent work, which is on display in the second hall of the gallery. Named 'Time and Space', the artist's 2013 collection showed her real passion for colours. In this collection, shapes and forms became of minor importance next to the vibrant primary colours, which solidly take the lead, dominating the viewer even without dominating the whole canvas. All in all, though Gazbia Sirry's journey to find her place in the world of art is enchanting and inspirational on its own, Zamalek Art Gallery has managed to get a hold of it and beautifully narrate it.


Cairo Jazz Festival 2016: Five Acts Not to Miss
Published On: 17/10/2016

This month, Cairo Jazz Festival is bringing the groove back to the grounds of The Greek Campus in Downtown Cairo (as well as Cairo Jazz Club) with a colourful spectrum of musicians from all over the world; from Bahrain, Portugal and Holland to Czech, Germany and even Panama. Kicking off on Thursday 21stof October and lasting till Saturday 22nd of October, the 8th edition of Cairo Jazz Festival is brimming with more than 15 acts that will jazz up the upcoming weekend. Until then, here's a glimpse of some of the acts you can't miss this year: Alaa Ghawas & Likwid When? 7:00PM, Thursday 20th of October Where? Main Stage It all began in 2011, when singer/songwriter Ala Ghawas joined forces with composer Mohammed Haddad and his band 'Likwid' to record his debut LP 'Armour'. Promoting the album; the partners made a round of gigs in Bahrain and the Gulf region, before recording their latest album 'Live from Allston' in 2015. With their incredibly smooth, effortless Indie/folk rock vibes, Alaa Ghawas & Likwid shattered the idea that the Gulf area has nothing but 'Khaleedji' music to offer. Check them out in action here. Also playing on the same stage that day: Cameron Souza & Theo Pascal Trio (9.30PM) Saori Yano Trio When? 5:30PM, Friday 21st of October Where? Main Stage Straight from the land of the rising sun comes the alto saxophonist Saori Yano with her fast tempo, eccentric bepop sounds. Inspired by jazz legends like Billie Holiday and Charlie Parker, the Japanese musician started her career at the age of 14, before signing with one of the biggest jazz record labels 'Savoy' two years later. Saori Yano, who played with giants like Slide Hampton and James moody, will be playing a second gig in Cairo Jazz Club as part of Jazz Beyond the Stage. Listen to here here. Also playing on the same stage that day: Andromeda Mega Express Orchestra (8PM), H.O.H (10PM) H.O.H When? 10PM, Friday 21st of October Where? Main Stage Though this year's lineup has a bouquet of some of the world's most unique artists, we still can't miss one of Egypt's most popular acts – H.O.H. The front men of three of the most successful bands in Egypt – Hany Adel from Wust El Balad, Ousso Lotfy from Nagham Masry and Hany El Dakkak from Masar Egbari – came together in 2015 for a one-off gig to perform acoustic versions of their bands' songs. The gig made such a huge impact, that H.O.H became an ongoing project with a long legion of fans. Get to know Egypt's first supergroup here. Also playing on the same stage that day: Saori Yano Trio (5.30PM), Andromeda Mega Express Orchestra (8PM) Tara Fuki When? 6:45PM, Friday 21st of October Where? The Library Besides earning two awards from the Czech Academy for Music, Tara Fuki has also made a name for themselves in Europe and Central America. With their mystically haunting vocals, along with their melodies, which comprise a rich blend of different musical flavours, the Czech violoncello duo captured the essence of its East European background, but with a minimal approach. In addition to taking to the stage at the Greek Campus, Tara Fuki will be performing at Cairo Jazz Club in Jazz Beyond Stage. Listen to their music here. Also playing on the same stage that day: Jazzinino (12.30PM), Shady El Qaseer Group (4.30PM) Atom String Quartet When? 6.45PM, Saturday 22nd of October Where? The Library, The Greek Campus Though the fusion of jazz can classical is an ever-present in contemporary music, award-winning group, Atom String Quartet, also draw on the folk music of their native Poland in creating a unique sound. With several albums under their belt, the four-man chamber ensemble also has several awards to their name. Made up of two violinists and violist and a cellist, what seems on the surface to be a simple set-up produces some of the most unique and densely layered music in Europe today. Also playing on the same stage that day: Noha Fekry & Amro Salah Trio (4.30PM), Jazzical Trio (9PM) Keep up to date with this year's Cairo Jazz Festival on Facebook.


Five Reasons Mawaweel is the Best Thing About Ramadan
Published On: 15/06/2016

While many bemoan the lack of things to do outside of the usual sohour-and-tent show during Ramadan, a closer look will reveal that, actually, cultural events boom during the holy month. Granted, there's not quite as much live music, exhibitions and other events, but one particular intiative continues to set the standard for a contemporary Ramadan entertainment – Mawaweel. This year, Cairo Jazz Club Agency has teamed up with Darb 1718 once more for the 'Alternative Ramadan Experience', and its shaping up to be even bigger and better, cementing itself as the best event-come-festival-come-carnival-of-all-things-fun – and here's why. It always has an eclectic music line-up…. The words 'eclectic' and 'variety' are thrown around all too easily, but few have as assorted a musical line-up as Mawaweel. This year, the first night will see Nass Makan open proceedings. Made up of the regular performers at unique Downtown cultural venue, Makan, the group brings together gypsy, zar and Arabic music styles for one of the unique sounds around. After an intermission of sorts that will feature a dizzying and colourful tannoura performance, things take a turn musically, as the increasingly popular Sharmoofers then take to the stage – it doesn't get more 'eclectic' than that, especially when you consider the performers set to take to the stage on night two (June 23) – Mazaher and Massar Egabri. You can shop for some unique items… When it comes to Mawaweel, Cairenes come for the music and stay for the bazaar – one that, over the years, has featured some of the best local brands, designers and craftsman in Egypt. This year, the bazaar is set to be even bigger, with everything from accessories and handicrafts, to food and drink at the Mawaweel pop-up food-court. Mawaweel X El Sat7… Despite an already impressive music line-up, Cairo Jazz Club Agency and Darb 1718 have found a way to host even more live music, bu fusing Mawaweel and the cultural centre's recently launched rooftop live music series, Mazzika X El Sat7. Having already kicked off last weekend with Ahmed Omar and AfriCairo, this new element of the festival is set to welcome quirky brass band, El Nafikha (June 18), and enduring Oriental-pop group, Eftekasat (June 25). Art, Art, Art… This year's resident Mawaweel exhibition, Bread II, brings together the work of a whole host of local artists – you can apply the word 'eclectic' here, too – alongside several interactive art instillations. As one of the more under-appreciated elements of Mawaweel, the annual exhibitions that are held pays testament to the 'variety' – there's that word again – to the event. It gives you an excuse to go to Darb 1718… As one of the most unique cultural centres of its kind in Cairo, nay Egypt, Darb 1718 is also one of the most important. While Cairo's arts and culture scene continues to ride a wave of recently sparked prosperity, Darb 1718's contributions have been invaluable in both developing and supporting the local arts sector and bringing some truly unique one-of-a-kind events to Cairenes. On a more superficial level, it's just a very cool place to be. Mawaweel is set to open its doors at 8.30PM on Thursday 16 June. Tickets are 80LE; children under 12 enter for free. For more information, click here.


The Cairo 360 Editors' Choice Awards 2016: Arts & Culture Award Winners
Published On: 19/05/2016

With the fate of Townhouse Gallery this year, many fear of what could become of art and its espression. But despite, this Egypt has a long and storied history with the arts and, in the last few years, the local arts and culture scene has become bigger, more eclectic and, most significantly, more encompassing of wider participation, as well as more accessible to the masses. One can speculate as to what has caused this; many will point to the January 25th Revolution empowering more and more artists to emerge under a newfound sense of expression. That, in many cases, is true, but the 2016 Cairo 360 Editors' Choice Award winners in this category also be credited with providing a platform for emerging artists and, generally, aiding the development of what is a burgeoning and evolving scene at an exciting time for arts in Egypt. 3elbt Alwan Though initially functioning as a cafe-come-art-space, 3elbt Alwan's consistent stream of top live music events has earned the Zamalek venue's first ECA, particularly in its efforts to host more obscure and underground artists as part of what is usually an eclectic schedule. Al Kahila Art Gallery Though it's one of the lesser recognised galleries in Cairo, Al Kahila Art Gallery continues to break Zamalek and Downtown Cairo's hold on being the centres of the art communities. With a wide range of exhibitions adorning their walls at any one time, the gallery has brought a touch of culture to Mohandiseen. Al Masar Gallery There's something of the old-school about Al Masar; the Zamalek gallery takes p a unique space in the stunning Baehler Mansion and often hosts the works of some of the pioneers of contemporary Egyptian art – something that has educated newer generations on the country's history in art. Art Talks Under the leadership of art consultant and collector, Faten Mostafa, Art Talks embodies the concept of the contemporary gallery, while also offering regular educational seminars that cover both art history and art theory. It has also come to pride itself on putting the spotlight on some of the best young artists in the country. Arts-Mart Occupying a gigantic space in the most unlikely of places, Arts-Mart started life as an online platform for artists to showcase and sell their work. Now a physical space on the Cairo-Ale Desert road, there are few as unique spaces in Cairo, which it uses to hold some remarkable group exhibitions. Contemporary Art Collective Founded in 20014 as an independent art initative, Downtown's CIC has become an important and influential institution in the world of photography, in holding exhibitions, screenings and a host of educational programs, courses and lessons. Darb 1718 A giant on the local arts and culture scene, Darb 1718 is possibly the most diverse and versatile venue of its kind. From live music and galleries, to workshops and festivals, this most important of cultural centres backs up its stunning location with a real drive to contribute to local communities, while exposing its visitors to some truly unique events and programs. El Genaina Theatre Located inside the Al Azhar Park, El Genaina is one of the few functioning traditional theatres in Cairo today. However, it's the theatre's summer programs that put them head and shoulders abve the rest, with a program that knows no limits in terms of genre. El Sawy Culurewheel Though public opinion on El Sawy Culturewheel is split, there's no doubting its importance on the local arts and culture scene – the fact that no other venue hosts as many events is testemant to its influence and popularity. With several halls and spaces, live music and theatre are the most frequent occurrence, but El Sawy also offers plenty of cultural events. Falaki Theatre As one of the premiere cultural venues in Downtown Cairo, Falaki Theatre plays host to varied and distinct events – be it student organised plays, or Downtown Contemprary Arts Festival events. Theatre largely goes unnoticed by the mainstream, but Falaki does a great job of bringing it to the forefront. Gallery Misr One of the more demure art venues in Zamalek, Gallery Misr has only been around for five years, but is amongst the best in what is a competitive area, thanks to its willingness to embrace more out-of-left-field art, while championing local talent. Gypsum Gallery Established in 2014, Garden City's Gyspum Gallery takes a more international approach and has consistently brought the works of foreign artists to Cairo. It's reach is owed in part to eight artists living between Alexandria, Cairo, Amman, Basel, Beirut and Tehran, as well as seasoned independent curator, Aleya Hamza. Magnolia As one of the newer cultural cubs in Zamalek, Magnolia Leaves of Art is almost one of the most unique, where most cultural pursuits can be enjoyed. Boasting a library, several film screening programs and the occasional live performance, Magnolia is set to become a valuable member of the scene. Photopia Heliopolis isn't as rich in arts and culture as more central area of Cairo, but Photopia stands as one of the best specialised cultural centres in the city. Catering the field of photography, Photopia hosts workshops, talks by leading industry figures, exhibitions and even the odd photography competition – all of which continue to capture the imagination of local photographers. Picasso Gallery Picasso Gallery's regularly rotating exhibitions in its well-conceived space has proven to be a gallery for the more experimental and abstract art you can see in Cairo – an critical role that is made all the more notable considering traditional local resistance to the untried ROOM Art Space In the last year, after finding its footing, ROOM Art Space has become a go-to for live music fans. The Garden City venue's eclectic entertainment schedules, which at one point even included a weekly drum circle, invites a huge range of different performers – something that has gained it plenty of fans. Safar Kahn Art Gallery It's small and it's intimate, but what Safar Khan lacks in space, it more than makes up for with its eclectic exhibitions and its commitment to showcasing, highlighting and celebrating local art, be it of more seasoned or emerging artists. Zamalek Art Gallery Now boasting two halls in which they often host two different, concurrent exhibitions, Zamalek Art Gallery is one of the most popular and most frequented galleries in Cairo and there are few glleries that host as many exhibitions in any given year. Zawya While a cinema doesn't have an obvious place on the local arts and culture scene, Zawya is no ordinary cinema. The modest Downtown venue brings film lovers in Egypt some of the best, and often most obscure, films from across the world and occupies a unique position on the scene. For more on the 2016 Cairo 360 Editors' Choice Awards, click here, where you can also see all of this year's winners.


Pick a Street: Hassan Ramzy & Local Musicians Take to the Streets of Cairo for Charitable Cause
Published On: 26/04/2016

The concept of street performances have existed for thousands of years and, when you think about it objectively, it's an incredibly effective way of communicating art – the stage is public space. However, street performers have become 'buskers' and the idea has come to frame street performers as beggars with a talent. But the initiative we're about to tell you about takes advantage of the grand stage that is public space with a cause in mind. Believing that music can change the society, Egyptian singer-songwriter, Hassan Ramzy, founded Pick a Street - an initiative designed to spread awareness of underprivileged people with hearing disabilities and collecting donations for them to undergo a Cochlear Implant operations through street music performances. "The aim of Pick a Street is to make music, spread positive energy in the country and help make a difference in our society. I am a musician and I wanted to use my talent to do what I can," Ramzy told us, adding that even if he inspires someone who is able to do much more, he has achieved part of his goal. In collaboration with Waslet Kheir, a subsidiary of El Orman Charity Foundation and the first charity specialising in cochlear implants, Pick a Street organises street performances every Thursday, Friday and Saturday in three different streets – announced through the Pick a Street Facebook page – where people can enjoy music and maybe even contribute to potentially changing someone's life. Representatives of Waslet Kheir attend Pick a Street events across Cairo, where they collect donations through 'Kart el Kheir' - a card that attendees can buy and contribute any amount of money they can for the cause. "People by nature want to do good things, but sometimes life gets in the way. Pick a Street is bringing charity closer to people all while enjoying some good music," Ramzy said. Pick a Street's first wave of performance were held between March 31st to April 15th, with performances Ramzy being joined by local bands, Karkadan and the No-Talents, as well as fellow acoustic ace, Shady Ahmed. The performances were a remarkable success, and collected an impressive 5,000LE of donations. "Most people were extremely welcoming to the initiative as a whole and positively interacting with the street performances, though there has been a small minority that has rejected the idea," Ramzy revealed. "But I've learned not to give attention to negativity." As a prominent and popular member of Cairo's underground music scene, approaching musicians to perform at Pick a Street hasn't been a problem for Ramzy, but he's also been reaching out to social media influencers and celebrities to attend the street performances, who according to him, have been extremely welcoming and willing to help with the initiative. Pick a Street is more than just a flash-in-the pan fad, though – it's the real deal, as Ramzy is keen to point out. "We are 100% legal and the NGO itself is registered with the Ministry of Social Solidarity, so we are eligible and certified to collect donations," he explained. April saw the last of the Pick a Street performances take place before the initiative goes on hiatus for spring break and return afterwards with Pick A Street Volume 2, which will include more artists and more than just street music. "I want to encourage street performances in general and I want people to treat street art as a normal phenomenon instead of something frowned upon," Ramzy argued as he went on to explain that he has much bigger plans for Pick a Street, outside of Egypt and dreams of having different performances happening at the same time all over the world. It's an ambitious future that Ramzy envisages, but one that is based on a very simple sentiment. "I am trying to target social problems and I really want to help." Ramzy concluded. Find out more on the official Pick a Street Facebook page.


The Key: ‘Ankh’ at the Heart of 2016 Edition of CARAVAN’s Travelling Exhibition
Published On: 11/03/2016

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. A reception will be held on Tuesday at 7PM at neighbouring venue, Riverside, before the exhibition is officially launched at Nile Art Gallery. For more information, click here.


Zamalek Art Gallery: 'An Introduction to Voidness' by Nathan Doss
Published On: 19/02/2016

Currently showcased at Zamalek Art Gallery's Venue II, An Introduction to Voidness is an exhibition featuring a collection of exquisite bronze sculptures by Nathan Doss. Doss' unique sculpture pieces stand out inside the spacious gallery, with his style evokinga sense of the mystical, particularly when it comes to the lean stick-figures he has created, which appear to be stretching and reaching out for something. Perhaps the most interesting aspect in those pieces is that though they feature both an object and a figure; the artist incorporates the two in such a way that they appear as one. In fact, in several of Doss's sculptures, the viewer needs to apply much more focus in order to single out the figure entwined with the object. One particular piece demonstrating that approach features a tall, lean figure thrusting a shovel into the ground. Both the man and the shovel are similar when it comes to their long, wiry shapes which have been merged together as though they are one. A second sculpture depicts a man entangled within a kind of webbed-frame, though he doesn't appear stuck or imprisoned by it, but rather part of it. This presents us with an entirely new object. The title An Introduction to Voidness may be a reference to Doss's style, which evokes many pieces containing holes similar to the ones we see in a honeycomb or a sheet of wire mesh. An Introduction to Voidness can also indicate a different kind of emptiness; one that exists inside a human being. Born in Mallawy, in 1971, Doss earned a Bachelor's degree in Fine Arts in 1993. His subject matter varies within his sculptures,though most of his work is quite figurative and there is a small number which is more difficult to interpret due to a more abstract style. With an intriguing collection of small scenery, birds and people all created from bronze and incorporated into one dazzling display; An Introduction to Voidness is a highly recommended exhibition with so much to offer; especially when it comes to some insights into Doss' interesting sculpting approach.


Ubuntu Art Gallery: Halim Yacoub Exhibition
Published On: 08/02/2016

For ten days only, Ubuntu Art Gallery is displaying a collection of sculptures by renowned artist, Halim Yacoub, who is both an acclaimed sculptor and talented painter. This exhibition features some of his most intriguing pieces of work cast from bronze and the material alone fills the gallery space with a glorious glow. From the moment we entered Ubuntu's glass doors, we could see that the gallery is filled with a ray of figurative monuments ranging from a height of approximately one-to-two feet tall and each presented on a marble plinth. The general concept seems to be around animals and humans with shape and form being an important feature. Then there's the material itself; Yacoub takes full advantage of bronze an ideal material when making sculptures, filling his pieces with the finest details, with the reflective qualities adding richness. The first piece to catch our attention was the one of a duck-like figure; it's only from the shape of the beak that one can associate it with a duck rather than a chicken or other bird, though the one leg that is visible is long and thin like that of a flamingo. The body itself is made up of bold curves resulting in a plump shape, though it does lack detail and should this sculpture be turned on its side or positioned at a different angle, it might be impossible to associate it with a bird at all. Another sculpture portrays a horse, though it seems to show it in a more grotesque form than traditional arts have presented the animal historically. The legs are thick like tree trunks, it has a large upper body which suggests the horse is masculine, as does the strong face and the mane consists of sharp triangle shapes. However, despite the bizarre portrayal of the horse in terms of shape and form, the way the bronze material captures the light still bestows it a certain sense of honour, pride or position. Born in 1937, Yacoub graduated with a degree in Interior Design in 1960 and then, in 1967, went on to achieve a Diploma from Zurich Academy of Fine and Applied Arts. He has since been widely recognised for his sculpture work and this exhibition is a true portrayal of the artist's talent and ability in creating eye-catching works of art, showing familiar things, in an unfamiliar way.


Zamalek Art Gallery: 'The Magic Thread' by Souad Mardam Bey
Published On: 05/02/2016

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.


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Five Ways the New Emaar Egypt Community App Makes Life a Whole Lot Easier

The digital age, as they call it, has brought everything – and we mean everything – a touch away through that small little thing we have come to take for granted: the smartphone. There's an app for pretty much everything these days and one of the latest to shake up the way we do things day to da