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Arts & Culture

Best of Arts & Culture in Cairo: A Look Back at 2010

Best of Arts & Culture in Cairo: A Look Back at 2010
    written by
    Cairo 360

    Looking back on the past year’s finest events in arts and culture in
    Cairo leaves us with a strong sense of nostalgia and excitement. Cairo has
    thrown more opportunities at us than our energy levels could handle, but after
    hours of tedious deliberation, here’s our list of our favourites:

    Best Cultural Festival: Mawaweel
    Festival

    With the help of Cairo Jazz Club and Darb 1718, this musical festival in
    Ramadan was well-organised and a great success. The festival was
    filled with activities ranging from pottery classes and art exhibitions to
    bazaars, dance performances and concerts by both local and international
    musicians. Ramadan was colourfully celebrated with gusto and magic. Honourable
    Mentions:
    3rd Mediterranean Urban Culture Gathering, Art Beat Festival

    Best Community
    Initiative
    : Project
    Yourself

    This open mic night is the 2009 brainchild of local
    designer Mariam El Quessny. Since then, the initiative has exponentially grown,
    yielding an amazing response! Young people from all around Cairo attended the
    series of open mic nights to catch the latest amateur talent and perform a
    little something of their own. Promoting self-expression in a welcoming,
    friendly environment, Project Yourself enjoyed a packed house every night. Read
    about their recent award here! Honourable
    Mentions:
    CIC’s Open Content/Source Reading Group

    Best Cultural
    Venue
    : Makan

    Located in Mounira, this arts and music venue has an inexplicable charm to
    it its intimate and relaxed living room-like ambience. The venue’s aim is to preserve
    and promote the heritage of traditional Egyptian music, while also promoting fresh
    ideas through various events such as used book sales and open mic nights. Appropriate
    for all ages, Makan is a humble little abode. Honourable
    Mentions:
    Al Ghouri Complex, Darb 17 18

    Best New
    Gallery:
    Ayyam
    Gallery

    With branches in Beirut, Dubai and Damascus, Ayyam Gallery has built a
    reputation for sophistication and quality contemporary art work; and their
    recently opened gallery in Zamalek is no exception. The gallery’s mission is to
    ensure that Arab artists receive the international recognition and appreciation
    that they deserve. Well-lit with predominantly white walls, the gallery is
    designed so that each art piece is given the space and attention that it
    deserves. Honourable
    Mentions:
    Al Kahila Art Gallery

    Best Artistic Projects: Townhouse
    Gallery of Contemporary Art
    :

    Through their unconventional approach to experiencing and accessing art
    in Cairo, Townhouse Gallery of Contemporary Art always has a new project going
    on, whether it’s an artist talk, dance workshop, or a photography project with
    the surrounding mechanic’s community. Focusing more on showcasing intriguing
    and inspiring art than on just selling work, the gallery’s energy and
    enthusiasm are endless. Honourable
    Mentions:
    CIC

    Most Interactive
    Exhibition
    :Paper
    Trail!’ Exhibition

    The Contemporary Image
    Collective’s artist-in-residence Francesc Ruiz set viewers up for an exciting
    journey through Downtown Cairo by using comic books as a guide. Viewers explored
    the interplay of visuals and the written word, as a vice for both communication
    and dissemination of information in the modern day. The exhibition skilfully created
    a fun and insightful viewing experience. Honourable
    Mentions:
    Townhouse Gallery’s ‘Bidoun Library’

    Most Fascinating
    Exhibition
    : ‘Exhumation
    of Egyptian Surrealist Movement

    Few art enthusiasts in Cairo knew about the existence of an Egyptian Surrealist
    movement until this special exhibition by Townhouse Gallery’s artists-in-residence
    Adam Broomberg and Oliver Chanarin. As the exhibition continued, the displays
    changed every day, allowing the viewer to experience its organic construction
    while learning about a long forgotten movement in Cairo’s contemporary art
    scene. Honourable
    Mentions:
    Viennoise Hotel’s ‘Cairo Documenta’, Mashrabeya Gallery’s ‘Local Star’, Gezira
    Art Centre’s ‘Dolls’

    Most
    Interesting Museum
    : Egyptian
    Textile Museum

    Turning the Egyptian Museum on its head, this lesser known museum in
    Islamic Cairo is superbly maintained and preserved. Situated in the middle of Muezz
    El Din Street
    , this museum takes a peculiar yet fascinating spin on Egypt’s
    history through the use of textiles. The aesthetics of the building alone are
    enough to have any design geek drooling; and all for just a few Egyptian pounds. Honourable
    Mentions:
    The Museum of Islamic Art

    Best Cultural
    Landmark
    : Gayer-Anderson
    Museum

    Located in El Sayeda Zeinab, this
    unique ancient house is one of Cairo’s lesser known treasures. The house’s
    mashrabeya design is beautiful and well-preserved, and its expansive rooftop has
    a must-see view of Islamic Cairo from above. The relationship of Egypt’s art
    with its history, and urbanism unfolds throughout the collected pieces on
    display. Navigation is key to exploring this two-building structure and the
    wealth within. Honourable
    Mentions:
    Ahmed Shawki Museum, Beit El Suheimi

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