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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

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
3rd Mediterranean Urban Culture Gathering, Art Beat Festival

Best Community
: Project

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
CIC’s Open Content/Source Reading Group

Best Cultural
: 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
Al Ghouri Complex, Darb 17 18

Best New

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
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

Most Interactive
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
Townhouse Gallery’s ‘Bidoun Library’

Most Fascinating
: ‘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
Viennoise Hotel’s ‘Cairo Documenta’, Mashrabeya Gallery’s ‘Local Star’, Gezira
Art Centre’s ‘Dolls’

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
The Museum of Islamic Art

Best Cultural
: Gayer-Anderson

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
Ahmed Shawki Museum, Beit El Suheimi