Siwa Oasis celebrated in exhibition at Cairo Opera

Ahram Online , Sunday 12 Jun 2022

The Cairo Opera House is holding an exhibition of paintings by Egyptian painter Mohamed Abdel-Galil till 18 June at the Salah Taher hall.



The exhibition opens on Sunday and will continue for one week, showcasing 55 works by Abdel-Galil that celebrate the cultural richness of Egypt's Siwa Oasis.

The paintings walk the viewer through the testimonies painted in oil that depict the picturesque nature of the Western Desert alongside its unique cultural gems. 

In his paintings, Abdel-Galil captures the local people and their customs, from men playing on the daf to women wearing traditional dresses. He also painted historical sites and the unique nature of the oasis.

Born in 1973, Mohamed Abdel-Galil is a painter with dozens of solo exhibitions to his name. He is the owner of the Galileo Arts Centre located in Cairo, which provides space for exhibitions as well as workshops for young artists and children.

According to Abdel-Galil, his interest in Siwa was inspired by the novel Sunset Oasis, which won the first Arabic Booker Prize. Written by one of the foremost Egyptian novelists Bahaa Taher, Sunset Oasis (2006) is set at the end of the 19th century during the British occupation of Egypt and takes place in the remote oasis of Siwa. The novel tells the story of an Egyptian officer and his Irish wife who settle in the oasis. It includes historical tales such as the shrouded in legend visit of Alexander the Great to the Oracle of Siwa.

Siwa is located over 550 km from Cairo, near the northwestern boarder with Libya. The oasis, 80 kilometres in length and 20 kilometres wide, includes a 19-metre-deep depression known as the Qattara Depression. Home to an oracle of Ammon, the oasis is rich in ancient artefacts, most of which come from the 26th dynasty (circa 500 BC). Siwa has also been on pilgrims' and trading routes from the Maghreb to Cairo and Mecca.

Siwa is prosperous in its own unique artistic products and customs of local Bedouins. It is a destination for visitors looking for unique traditional costumes, silver jewellery, and artisan products.

A designated natural reserve, Siwa is home to palm trees, dates and olives, dozens of different types of birds, and the endangered slender-horned gazelle.


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