The Definitive Guide to Living in the Capital , Cairo , Egypt

Arts & Culture
Contemporary Views III at Al Masar Gallery

Al Masar Gallery: Contemporary Views III Exhibit

    reviewed by
    Hannah Cooper
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    Al Masar Gallery: Contemporary Views III Exhibit

    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.

    360 Tip

    Go in the afternoon to take advantage of the natural lighting.

    Best Bit

    Although it may take some time, the collection is vast and rather impressive.

    Worst Bit

    The hard-to-find entrance is not off of 26th of July as the address states; it’s around the corner and behind Abou El Sid restaurant.

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