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Saturday, 25 January 2020

This week’s El-Fustat market features ceramic and glass works by young Egyptian artisans

El-Fustat market faces the Religion Complex in Coptic Cairo and is an excellent venue for rich artistic handicrafts

Amira Noshokaty , Friday 13 Nov 2015
Photo: Amira El-Noshokaty
Views: 5820
Views: 5820

This weekend, El-Fustat Market hosts its bi-weekly festival and the theme is ceramic and glass. The market that faces the Religion Complex in Coptic Cairo is an excellent venue for rich artistic handicrafts. The festival, run and promoted by the artists themselves, focuses this week on Egypt's rich heritage of glass making and ceramics.

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Photo: Amira El-Noshokaty

The market promotes the history of the crafts and workshops for those interested. The previous festival was devoted to copper and the fading art of shefteshi (lace like patterns of copper). This weekend the focus is on glass and ceramics, exhibiting the artistic gems of Egypt's first woman specialised in sculpture, the late Aida Abdel Kerim.

Since her graduation from the faculty of arts in 1948, she became "a pioneer in glass sculpture and an internationally recognised and awarded artist. Abdel-Kerim's artwork was created using the same ancient Egyptian technique used in 3000 BC," explained artist Maha Abdel Kerim, her sister and key note speaker in the event. 

The exhibition includes artwork of prominent artist Zakaria El-Khonani, who, with his wife Aida, created Egypt's Museum for glass art, sculpture and Egyptian paste. The exhibit also includes pieces produced during numerous workshops by young artisans.

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Photo: Amira El-Noshokaty

El-Fustat market is a hidden treasure in itself, a treat tucked away in the heart of Cairo. All the shops exhibit handicrafts that are not only authentic, but also created by young Egyptian artists who value the trade and cherish its artistic side. You can find hand-made pottery of Garagous and Tunis villages, batiks, embroidery, silver, glass and much more.


Among the unique works that greet the eye are the famous wooden Egyptian dolls. "The wooden dolls were sculpted in Egypt some 80 years ago and my uncle was a pioneer in this art," explained artist Heba Adam, one of the participants in the festival and owner of an arts and crafts gallery in El-Fustat market. 

“It is made out of the wood of lemon and orange trees because they are very white in color and easy to shape and paint. Nowadays, however, instead of maintaining this eco-friendly artwork, Egyptians burn the wood, transforming it into charcoal, and import wooden artworks from Malaysia, India, and Thailand instead," she laments. 

Adam also exhibits finely crafted miniature statues of camels that are made from the horns of buffalos, again a rare artwork barely finding its place in the market.

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Photo: Amira El-Noshokaty

A graduate of art school, she chose to work where her passion is, but sadly not too many people visit El-Fustat. "It was as though it is not listed among the tourist sites, so we came up with the idea of promoting our own artwork and mission by making this bi-weekly festival," she concluded.

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Photo: Amira El-Noshokaty

"The turnout was good at our first festival," explained photographer Wafaa Ismail, another artisan based in El-Fustat Market. "Next week we will focus on handmade embroidery, tapestry and folk motifs.”

This Weekend's Schedule

El-Fustat Market:

Old Cairo Square, Overlooking the Religion Complex and Amr Ibn El-As Mosque.

Friday 13 November:

1pm to 4pm: Story-telling and coloring workshop

3pm to 5pm: A lecture on the history of ceramics in different Egyptian governorates by professor Mervat El- Sewify, Faculty of Arts

4pm to 6pm: Workshop on mosaics

Saturday 14 November:

1pm to 4pm: Ceramic plate workshop 

2pm to 5pm: Story telling and coloring workshop

4pm to 6pm: Lecture on the life of Ceramic Artist by Mohamed Mandour

4pm to 6pm: Workshop on ceramic accessories

8pm: Closing ceremony of the festival and the announcement of the following festival

Short link:



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