Zamalek's historic Aisha Fahmy Palace re-opens after renovations

Ahram Online , Thursday 18 May 2017

In addition to the architectural and artistic treasures it houses, the palace will host art exhibitions managed by the Visual Arts Department at the culture ministry

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Aisha Fahmy Palace (Photo: Hisham Labib, courtesy of El-Beit magazine)

Cairo's Aisha Fahmy Palace, known as Mogamaa Al-Fonoon (Arts Complex), was re-opened on Wednesday after years of renovations.

Restoration work on the palace started in 2005, and a partial reopening of the complex was scheduled for 2015, but was delayed repeatedly.

The opening was attended by culture minister Helmy El-Namnam, head of the ministry’s Fine Arts Department Khaled Sorour, and head of the Cultural Development Fund – which oversaw the renovations – Ahmed Awwad, among other figures from the culture scene.

The palace, built in 1907, was designed by Italian architect Antonio Lasciac.

“Some of the 19th and 20th century paintings, especially those that depict daily Egyptian life and the farming traditions, depict many things that are now extinct… between then and now, many geographic locations have changed,” El-Namnam pointed out at the opening, according to an official press release.

The palace was the residence of Ali Fahmy, who served as the head of the army during the reign of King Fouad I (1922 - 1936), and was named after his daughter Aisha.

Decorations such as frescos, golden Japanese lettering and red silk decorated walls make the palace unique.

In 2010, the Ministry of Culture assigned its Cultural Development Fund to oversee restoration operations, which were carried out by the Arab Contractors.

“Work was completed on 4 June [2015]," Mohamed Abou Seada, head of the Cultural Development Fund, told Ahram Online.

The Visual Arts Department took over management of the palace after restoration was completed to prepare it for hosting artistic activities.

"The hall dedicated to young artists will be directly connected to the garden, where a number of other activities – such as music concerts and performances – can take place paralleling the displays," Abou Seada explained to Ahram Online in 2015.

The complex is 2,700 square metres, with the 1,000 square-metre basement to host visual arts exhibitions.

Aisha Fahmy opens with an exhibition titled ‘From the Treasures of our Museums,’ which showcases a special national collection of artworks by Egypt’s leading artists.

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Aisha Fahmy Palace (Photo: Hisham Labib, courtesy of El-Beit magazine)

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