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

Dream City Exhibition at Gypsum Gallery

Gypsum Gallery: Dream City Exhibition

reviewed by
Katie Dryden
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Gypsum Gallery: Dream City Exhibition

Founded in 2013 by Aleya Hamza, Gypsum Gallery quickly grew to become a curator of contemporary arts. The intended purpose was to introduce potential patrons and contemporary Artists into Cairo’s limelight demonstrating to the people of Cairo a true revelation of what contemporary art is. 

Celebrating their new branch in Garden City, the building itself with its grand entrance and immaculate space is perfectly suited for its new purpose.  To celebrate its arrival, currently on display within this vast, spacious studio is an exquisitely, elegant exhibition by Farida El Gazzar, titled ‘Dream City.’

Upon entering the gallery we were met by a series of exceedingly small-scale drawings and paintings, as small as one’s hand, each displayed in a tiny golden frame, attached to the white walls.  The frames themselves were elegant which emphasise the notion of wealth and class, yet also quite old-fashioned and would look more at home displayed in an traditional home perhaps on a mantel-piece or a woman’s dressing table—this implies that the exhibition are of a personal nature. 

The highly intricate pencil drawings inside the frames were of elegant women; sometimes a single woman and other times accompanied by children or a gentleman.  Their style of clothes—posh dresses and smart suits topped with classic hairstyles suggest that these are moments from the past, whilst implying a sense of class, wealth and an idealistic home-environment.

‘Dream City’ is based upon El Gazzar’s own family photos and therefore exists as a visual memoir of her past though it is clear that she picks out specific details from them whilst eliminating others.  The paintings in particular were so delicate and precious that from a distance they resembled small, jewel-like objects which portray the importance and personal value of these objects and memories.

One particular painting, which was done using acrylic paints, features only a vase filled with flowers and is just inches tall which forces the viewer to inspect the image closely.  The fine brush strokes and intricate details are impeccable and show great care to the creation of each object.  El Gazzar clearly has a beautiful talent and emphasises the notion that immense beauty can be found in the smallest of things.

Farida El Gazzar is an Egyptian-Greek artist, born in Alexandria in 1975 though living and working between Greece and Egypt.  After graduating from Athens’ school of Art and Design, she went on to earn her Bachelors in Art from London’s Kingston University and then a Masters Degree from the Royal College of Art.  Farida El Gazzar was also the co-founder of the creative group: WARDA.

A welcomed additional touch to the exhibition was the fact that a small booklet was available to take free of charge containing information on the artist, plus a postcard baring a photo of her work.  Overall ‘Dream City’ was a delightful exhibition offering a diverse insight into contemporary art.

Best Bit

The new premises of Gypsum Gallery is amongst the peaceful, greenery of Garden City.

Worst Bit

We only wished that there was more of Farida El Gazzar’s artwork being displayed within the exhibition.

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