After garnering 11 million followers over five seasons, Narrative Summit kicked off a new season under its theme of “Reshaping Norms”. This season focuses on the role of the arts in telling stories of Egyptian cultural heritage and identity.
The first episode of the new season featured the stories of young handicrafts entrepreneurs, arts sponsors, and tourism promoters, reflecting on their experiences with different forms of arts bringing originality to the past. The episode explores how some art forms hold Egyptian culture and heritage within them and show Egyptian identity. With some focus on handmade carpets, the episode features an appearance from Mohamed El Kahhal, partner and head of production at Kahhal Looms for Contemporary Carpets.
Throughout the episode, El Kahhal talks about the unique art of making carpets and how it reflects on Egyptian culture and identity. He states, “Despite the ever-changing market requirements, we strike a balance between the spirit of the past and the distinctive artistic side of the Egyptian identity and the quality of contemporary and practical products that are suitable for today’s buyers”.
The episode also featured Hend El Kahhal, another partner and head of sales at Kahhal Looms. She spoke about how carpets are unique pieces of arts and that no carpet can be made the same way twice. “Each carpet is inspired by the lives of its maker and the long experience they have accumulated over the years to serve as a mirror for the Egyptian cultural heritage”, she says. She also spoke about the process of carpet-making and the artistic talents it requires. She added, “Artists, sometimes, experiment dozens of times until they find the right combination”.
Another exciting appearance in the episode was Nadine Abdel Ghaffar, founder of Art D’Egypte, a renowned art platform. She spoke about Art D’Egypte, saying, “When foreigners visit Egypt, they seek a different experience, in which contemporary life merges with history, which is what Art D’Egypte strives to present”. She also talked about how artists need to contribute to popularising cultural tourism within Egypt, stating it should be “fuelled by our belief in the cultural diplomacy of Egypt, its soft power, and the role of people in preserving their cultural heritage”.
Over the past year, Art D’Egypte held virtual exhibitions to celebrate art amid the COVID-19 pandemic. They also cooperated with UN Women to help change the images and understandings formed about women and their power in the Egyptian workforce. The platform will also be holding an exhibition in October 2021, titled “Forever is Now”. The exhibition will take place at the Giza pyramids plateau and be a tribute to Egyptian civilization from artists worldwide. “It will be a message of hope from Egypt to the world that people and their achievements will remain for as long as [the] Pyramids,” Abdel Ghaffar said.
The 2021 Narrative Summit aims to highlight Egyptian culture and heritage by showcasing various forms of art across Egypt, making Egyptian culture what it is today. After gaining huge popularity following its 2020 initiative, getting to 11 million followers, 4.5 million views, and 3.5 million interactions, the Narrative Summit is sure to be a hit this year as well.