In Photos: Heritage, arts, and culture in Cairo's metro stations

Amira Noshokaty , Thursday 3 Mar 2022

Tens of young artists set up their painting spots at the Heliopolis metro station on Thursday and started to sketch passers-by.

Photos by amira noshokaty

Three prominent artists were working on murals and colourful wall-to-wall photographs depicting the history of the Heliopolis district and its major sites.

This group of artists are part of an Egyptian programme titled Live Portraits and Paintings from Heliopolis that is meant to bring culture, art, and heritage closer to the public. 

The first in Egypt, the programme's primary stage is launched in metro stations. It is the brainchild of ARAC for Art and Culture, a non-profit association. 

“We aim to establish interaction between people and art for many reasons: to enhance the public's taste, improve our relationship with art and beauty, and refine the public's behaviour. so our idea intersected with that of the connected with RATP and the Egyptian National Authority For Tunnels,” explained professor Ashraf Reda, CEO of ARAC. 

There are several heritage sites from the Coptic, Islamic, and ancient Egyptian eras in Heliopolis, which is why ARAC selected three prominent artists to draw three murals in the metro station, each representing a certain era.

Renowned Egyptian painter Alaa Awad is one of the three artists. Known for his passion for ancient Egyptian heritage and his quest to depict Egypt’s intangible heritage in his artworks, Awad told Ahram Online about the theme he planned for his mural.

“Today I will draw ancient Egyptian women playing the harp. I thought the mural is convenient for the metro station where people usually listen to something as they are on the move," he said.  

Not far from Awad’s mural were young painters drawing passers-by. “Under the supervision of professor Murad Darwish, the sketches will be collected in a small exhibition that will be set up here for passers-by to see their portraits on display," Reda said. 

"We want to conduct activities related to cultural art and heritage in every metro station in Egypt," he concluded.

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