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

Arts & Culture
Damon Kowarsky at Mashrabia Gallery

Mashrabia Gallery: Damon Kowarsky

reviewed by
Anne de Groot
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Mashrabia Gallery: Damon Kowarsky

For the first time in history, more than half of the
world’s population lives in cities. We live in the city because we are seeking
the thrill of the city life or simply because it is the only place where one
can find a job and a decent living.

by cities around the world such as Cairo, Australian artist Damon Kowarsky created
32 paintings, prints and drawings of international cities. Though he started out drawing only images of
traditional mud-brick and stone houses, Kowarsky shifted steadily towards the
modern aspect of the city. However, depicting this part of the city took him a
lot of practice. According to Kowarsky, ‘the modern city is complicated and
requires patience and drawing skills.’ His exhibition ‘In Visible Cities’ is currently
showing at Mashrabiya Gallery in Downtown Cairo.

‘In Visible Cities’ is the result of Kowarsky’s time
in Cairo, as well as his travels around the world, including places such as
Syria, the USA and his native Australia. Besides Cairo, he also made drawings of
Chicago, Istanbul, Damascus and New York as well as his hometown of Melbourne.

Kowarsky’s work can be described as modern, simple and
dark. He mainly works with charcoal, which gives his work the element of
darkness and shadows. He also uses the technique of etching, which leads a lot
of his works to have a 3D effect. His paintings are very much a juxtaposition of
old and new; for example, his painting Nubar Street shows Cairo’s old rooftops
filled with new satellite dishes. Nubar Street is the most expensive piece in
the collection; selling for 25,000LE. Despite having an overdose of grey, the
painting doesn’t necessarily portray a depressing or melancholy scene. Even though rooftops
and satellites dominate the painting, it is a quite intriguing piece that
captivates your attention for a while. It is also the biggest piece in the

Most of Kowarsky’s work is small in size, whereas Nubar Street
easily covers up a wall. It is a three-piece painting, something that seems to
be a favourite technique of Kowarsky, which he uses often in this exhibition. His
works on Damascus are impressive too, showing the old parts of Damascus in faded grays and dark blues.

You can purchase Damon Kowarsky’s work at Mashrabia
Gallery’s exhibition. Prices for his 32 displayed works of art start at 1300LE. Mashrabia Gallery might be a bit difficult to find. The
entrance is on the side of the building, and from there on take the stairs to
the first floor.

360 Tip

Kowarsky worked as an archaeologist in Egypt’s Dakhlah Oasis and he recently participated in the third Luxor International Painting Symposium. He is currently working on a series of prints inspired by Luxor and his trips to Iran and Uzbekistan, where he travelled down the Silk Route.

Best Bit

It is nice to see Cairo depicted in a modern way

Worst Bit

Some of his pieces are a bit dark which makes it a bit depressive.

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