Egypt is mainly known for its ancient history but aside from that it is also rich with talented musicians and artists

Satruday, 16th of January 2010 was the one year anniversary of the Hafaninaha Studio Gallery was taking place in Zamalek. I was eager to go and see the exhibit because 3 colleagues of mine were showing their works of art and I had never been to the Hafaninaha gallery.

 The invite to the event read;

“We would love to invite you to our one year anniversary on Saturday the 16th of January 2010, celebrating the arts and artists of Cairo. This group exhibition is a joint effort between a select number of carefully chosen talents, that we guarantee you’ll enjoy.
Live music, delicious cupcakes, creative jewelry and lots of interactive art, are all part of our opening night so make sure not to miss it.

Opening Reception, Saturday January 16th 2010, 6:00 – 10:00 pm.
Open daily Sat- Thu, 12:00 to 9:00 pm.

Exhibition Concludes on the 30th of January, 2010.”

I have to admit that I am very glad that I did go to the Gallery. I arrived quite early and was able to get a very good look at the pieces of art that had been put on display. The gallery isn’t like the ones you are probably accustomed to abroad, where there large floor space and wall space. This gallery was split in two. The first section was a long rectangular area where the painting were hung and displayed. The second section is a room on the ground floor of the villa where the hand-made jewelery was displayed.

Art Gallery;

There were a few artist who were exhibiting their work. I have to say that some of the pieces were very intriguing. What I enjoyed about the exhibit is that the art reflected the city they lived in. More specifically ‘Usr El Nil Street’.

Marwa Afifi who is an art teacher at  Hayah International Academy, the school I work at surprised me with her art work. I had seen her jewelry but never her painted canvases. The mix media she used for her pieces gave a malanged appearance reality and dream. The vibrant colours of oil paints and water colors painted along side the cut out pieces of photographs made a very nice contrast.

Tasneem El Mashad, a talented young lady, who has painted colorful murals and had her art displayed in a few exhibitions is also another member of the Hayah Academy Staff. The last exhibition of Tasneem’s that I went to was about a year ago. The lively and bright colors that she used to interpret the scenes of Cairo, were a mirror reflection of the cheerful bright individual that she is. In this exhibition I was surprised to see that she had put aside her yellows, greens and reds and adopted different shades of grey. I am no art expert but if my interpretation of her art is right, from her work I would have to say that she is confused and depressed. The work looked busy which made me think that she’s really confused. Her art work never the less is still eye-catching.

Perihan Abou Zeid is another member of our teaching staff, her display of her art work was in my opinion a mix of traditional oriental egyptian scenes with a modern twist. The choice of media and colors that she used is the kind that I am drawn to. Simple yet expressive.

This what Perry had to say to describe her work;

“When I first reflected on the idea of down town (kasr el nil) I immediately visualized layers, maybe because I am fond of the concept of layers but it’s also because this how I see down town. An assemblage of layers made out of textures, colors, images, spirits, blocks, shapes, bodies and even noises created through years and years and which are often ignored in our busy lives.

Through my close observation I managed to reveal a remarkable diversity of which I tried to apply in my presented art pieces where I mixed various medias one of them is collage

In my pieces I tried to focus on the matters that caught my eyes the most like the buildings, the women and the ironic combination of this district. I also combined news paper with most of my pieces ,the printed words small and big reflects in my opinion  the feel of the sounds of down town, incorporated some words that we usually hear ,lyrics from an old forgotten song .I used stenciling and graffiti like calligraphy & painting style to add some roughness and texture to the work.

Mixed media gives me a lot of freedom and a bigger space to experiment specially when am working on a rich theme like down town (kasr el nil).”

Sarah Rafae a talented photographer had an interesting collection of photographs that she had taken down town. Her images had been taken with a shutter lense with a 5sec gap between each photo leaving  ghostly images of people and vehicles. It reminded me  of photos that some people have taken where images of ghost appear.

Artists Basem Samir and Hala Sharouny had a different approach to the theme of Kasr El Nil, they thought of the people walking through the city and the shoes that they wear. Which brings to my mind, ‘Walk A Mile In My Shoes’. The painted a pair of stiletto heels and in side the out of the heels were buildings. The colors were formidable and eye-catching. It also reminded me of a well-known chocolatiers in New York City, also a former employee of Ralph Lauren who  decorates, designs and makes edible chocolate high heel shoes. Each shoe is authentic colorful and original! I just loved Bassem and Hala’s interpretation of the theme! They got my vote for most creative.

I truly enjoy going and visiting museums and exhibitions. The artists there see things from a different perspective and some times we are too busy or blind to see what is that they see. When I am out and about walking along the pavements, driving by in a car or at an exhibition I tend to see another side to the amazing city I live in and I fall in love with it and its people all over again.