Cairo summers always put one in a dilemma; there’s so much to do and see, but the temptation of staying home with your beloved AC is always afloat. The heat is inevitable, so you either stay in, ignore it in hopes that it will turn around and walk away (and it won’t), or you embrace it, step out of your cool house and explore the carte du jour of the city’s cultural events. If the latter is your choice, then maybe an art tour will help bring a breeze of colour into your summer.
Currently on show across Cairo are various art exhibitions that represent the city’s diverse art scene. It is true that most of the city’s art this past year has emerged on walls and streets in the form of graffiti outside of gallery walls, but that doesn’t mean galleries have not hosted a budding art arena. During the summer season, Cairo galleries typically abandon the usual monthly shows and opt for lengthier exhibits that showcase the year’s best art. And this year is no exception.
Modern Egyptian art
The Zamalek district is art-gallery central. The Summer Collective Exhibition is currently on at Safarkhan, which is owned by prominent art collector, Sherwet Shafei. The show features modern Egyptian art from the 20thcentury, including works by Effat Naghi and Kamal Khalifa, alongside contemporary pieces. The gallery seems to favour female artists, each of which brings a unique style to the collective, including Nermine Hammam, Nazli Madkour and Souad Mardam Bey.
The collision of generations in this summer exhibition mimics Safarkhan’s continued efforts to strike a balance between the pillars of modern Egyptian art and providing a platform for both emerging and prominent contemporary artists to reach art enthusiasts. This exhibit runs until the end of July at the petite gallery in the art hub of Zamalek.
Review of established artists to emerging artists
Another Zamalek collective exhibition is also worth a visit. To celebrate ALMASAR Gallery’s fourth anniversary, its summer show, Gallery Collection, features artwork exhibited on the gallery’s walls since it’s opening in 2008.
The gallery has hosted paintings by well-known art icons of the 20th century, such as Omar El-Nagdy and Taha Hussein. It has also hosted more modern stars, such as Adel El-Siwi and Georges Bahgoury.
Because ALMASAR also gave moments for emerging pioneers and artists to shine, including Kareem Al Qurity and Ibrahim El-Dessouki, this collection unfolds like a rich timeline of Egyptian art through the years.
A stroll around ALMASAR gallery gives art fans get a sense of Egyptian art with its evolving and enduring identity through the decades.
Contrastingly, other galleries are exhibiting entirely new works for the summer season.
A supermarket gallery? Consumerism theme
At El-Gezira Art Centre Supermarket tackles the contemporary consumer culture in Egyptian society by simulating a supermarket, which will run 20 June - 4 July.
The Holy Family in Egypt
Let us not forget The Holy Family in Egypt exhibition that opened at the Picasso Gallery on 3 June. The exhibition include a selection of work by contemporary artists including Helmy Eltony, Mohamed Thabet, Mohamed Haji, Mostafa El-Razzaz, Mostafa Rahmy, Nathan Doss, Omar El-Fayoumy, Ramadan Ibrahim, Reda Abdel Rahman, Ragheb Ayad, Farid Fadel, Georges Bahgoury and Effat Hosny, among others.
Experimental photography: The Siege of Cairo
If you’re still in the mood for experimental art, head to the downtown Mashrabia gallery starting Wednesday, 20 June, 2012, for an interesting photography exhibition by Mauro L'Abate entitled The Siege of Cairo.
Elections frustrations hammered out through art
Not too far away, at Darb 1718, you can experience the elections with an artful twist. In light of the current presidential race madness, you can resort to this exhibition as a sort of creative outlet for your frustration; the artists certainly have. A handful of the contemporary art scene’s shining stars, including Hany Rashed, Marwa Adel and others have set up this exhibition to tackle contemporary political issues through art, the way art has done ever since the revolution’s onset in 2011.
Sophisticated mixed media paintings, sculptures
If you intend to venture out of the cultural hub or you’re on the way to a North Coast getaway, pop into Designopolis, for Tache Art now hosts a summer show entitled Encounter that will definitely infect you with a dose of artful inspiration. The exhibition features mixed-media paintings by contemporary artists Deena Fadel and Wael Sabour and sculptures by Rossana Corrado.
Those and a number of other art galleries testify to the city’s rich art this summer season. So if you’re stuck in Cairo for the summer months, art gallery visit may help entertain or inspire you.
Safarkhan Art Gallery
Summer Collective Exhibition
Brazil St., Zamalek, Cairo
Monday – Saturday
10am - 1:30pm
5pm - 9pm
Closed Fridays and Sundays
ALMASAR Art Gallery
Now - 21 July
Baehler's Mansion 157b,
26 July Street
Side Entrance on Isaac Jacob Street (ground floor), Zamalek, Cairo
Hours: Saturday – Thursday, 11am-9pm
Gezira Art Centre
20 June - 4 July.
El-Sheikh El-Marsafy Street, Zamalek, Cairo
Hours: Saturday – Thursday, 10am-2pm and 5pm-9pm
Photography exhibition by Mauro L'Abate ‘The Siege of Cairo’ opens on 20 June and will run until 7 July.
8 Champollion Street, Downtown, Cairo
Hours: Saturday – Thursday, 11am-8pm
The Holy Family in Egypt
Now - 3 July
30 Hassan Assem Street, off of Brazil Street, Zamalek, Cairo
Hours: Monday – Saturday, 10.30am-9pm
Tache Art Gallery
Now – end of August
S-139 Designopolis, Km 38 of the Alexandria Desert Road, Sheikh Zayed City, Cairo
Sunday-Thursday: 10am- 8pm
Friday-Saturday 11am- 8pm
Darb 1718 Contemporary Art and Culture Centre
Now – 25 June
Qasr Al-Shamee Street, behind the Hanging Church and Amr Mosque, Old Cairo