Between 11 and 13 April, Darb 1718 will host Le Printemps Des Artistes, a contemporary art exhibition that is donating its sales to benefit the Samusocial International Egypt and the Foundation Banati, to help children living in the streets of Cairo.
The initiative is organised by Caire Accueil, an association helping French and French-speaking expats to adjust to their new life in Cairo, and mirrors one in Turkey organised by the Accueil branch in Istanbul and taking place annually for 13 years.
Last year, the exhibition generated EGP 400,000 in donations. The three-day event hosted art workshops and theatre performances to help children express themselves and help heal traumas. In addition, a shelter housing more than 250 children has been renovated.
For this edition, funds by Le Printemps des Artistes’ sponsors, in addition to 30 percent of the sales of artworks, will help finance the medical, social and legal branches of the charity’s night work mobile teams, so it can help the street children.
Samusocial International Egypt acts to fight against social exclusion by having two mobile emergency teams, each composed of one doctor, one social worker and one driver/social assistant, which will travel across Cairo five days per week.
The 21 participating artists this year are Adham Badawi, Banu Diker, Deena Fadel, Esraa Zidan, Farah Shafie, Jaida Zakaria, Maged Mikhail, Mahmoud El-Demerdash, Mariam Faried, Mehri Khalil, Miriam Hathout, Mohamed Rabie, Mona Heikal, Mostafa Rabie, Mutaz ElEmam, Nehad Saeed, Osama Farid, Randa Ismail, Sarah ElSamman, Sayed Waked and Shahira Morsi.
Overall there are 116 artworks on sale, each artist contributing with three to five artworks between paintings, sculptures and photographs.
The selection of artists was headhunted by the organising team, who admired their work and invited them to join the exhibition.
Banu Diker, a Turkish photographer based in Egypt since 2007, is participating for the second time.
Diker joined the 2017 edition with 40 photos, and this year she will be showing 15 works from her street photography collection.
“My work is about the streets of Cairo reflecting the local colours of Egypt. I like telling a story with photos,” she says.
On her motivation to join the exhibition, Diker says “it's a good project, to promote the local artists and help support street children.”
This rings close to home for Diker as a street photographer; “I have lots of photos about street children.”
Her photographs vary in size, some just 45cm wide and others stand at 150cm, and are a mixture of monochromes and colour photos.
Another artist, Sayed Waked, is presenting five works of glass sculptures, after he recently had his own exhibition alongside Mariam Farid at Art Talks, which ran through March.
Waked uses the flame working technique to shape and mould the fragile glass by blowing and handcrafting.
He makes sculptures and sculpture installations that capture human and social relationships, sometimes through portraits, but usually involving groups of people or masses.
One of the pieces for the exhibition is a collection of clear glass figures standing side by side, their hands on their chests.
“I wanted to capture this link between Ancient Egyptian art and Islam. There is something intriguing and beautiful about both sharing this pose, a spiritual pose despite the different ideologies,” the artist tells Ahram Online.
He adds that despite the challenges of glass flame working, he finds it a rewarding experience.
“It’s not easy to manipulate it and use it to express your thoughts. But I love the material. It’s a very special art that not many are using, and an ancient art that we should keep alive,” he says.
Adding final touches to his work in his studio a few days before the show, Waked shares his excitement for the upcoming event.
“It's a good opportunity to be joined by other great artists, at a great venue, over a beautiful idea and cause.”
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