ANN: Hazine Post: Fetishizing Egypt: An Exhibition Review of Art D’Égypte’s “Cairo International Art District” (2021)

Marwa Gadallah's picture

Hazine has published the new article "Fetishizing Egypt: An Exhibition Review of Art D’Égypte’s “Cairo International Art District” (2021)" by Marwa Gadallah where she critiques the Cairo International Art District (CIAD) exhibition that was held in Egypt last year by Art D'Égypte and discusses the issues associated with fetishizing ancient Egypt. Here's an excerpt: 

"I get off the bus near Al-Ahram Newspaper’s offices in the Ramses neighbourhood at around noon and make my way across the street and underneath Al-Galaa Bridge where street vendors sell anything from clothing to food items. As I navigate through the busy streets around people and cars, I think about the COVID-19 pandemic and I wonder at the countless Egyptians who need to pass through these crowds to make a living every day.

As I approach Cinema Radio, there’s a room to my left where I find a collection of furniture. I see a set of round double reflection mirrors, each divided down the middle –either horizontally or vertically– into two sections, each offering a different reflection. Below them is a cabinet set named Isfet, which, in ancient Egyptian culture, represents “chaos and darkness,” the opposite of another piece of hanging furniture named Maat, which represents “order and light.”

The art piece is called DualityLina Alorabi‘s collection of furniture inspired by ancient Egyptian culture and designed for the furniture brand Don Tanani. It’s part of the Cairo International Art District (CIAD), “a city-wide exhibition” organized by Art D’Égypte, “a privately owned Egyptian multidisciplinary firm founded by Nadine Abdel Ghaffar to support the Egyptian arts and culture scene.” It was on display from September 15 to October 27, 2021, and sought to “revive the artistic heart of Cairo” by exhibiting in six locations in downtown Cairo. Duality was exhibited at Cinema Radio, which houses a theater and cinema that premiered significant Egyptian films in the earlier part of the 20th century, on Talaat Harb Street."