photo by Jean Pierre Dalbera


8 and 9 July 2009, The Ismaili Centre, London SW7

Khamseen (sandstorm in Arabic) explored how art and craft practice in Cairo is impacting on society through the work of contemporary practitioners and innovative art projects. It questioned how society can nurture traditional skills whilst remaining open to innovation. Why Cairo? Because in Cairo today we have a model where the recognition of the value of traditional skills is in resurgence and is playing a pivotal part in the regeneration of Cairo and artistic practice across the Middle East. Khamseen will brought together leading artists and professionals to discuss the context for this change and how it might relate to contemporary practice in the UK.

 "I had this vague conviction that every human being was born an artist, but that his or her gifts could be brought out only if artistic activity was encouraged from early childhood by way of practising a craft...” Ramses Wissa Wassef, architect

Presentations included:

Dr Amr Abdel Kawi - Editor, ‘Magaz’ design magazine
The power of the individual to affect change

Ikram Nosshi - Director, Ramses Wissa Wassef Art Centre, Cairo
Craft as a social document   “The creative energy of the average person is being sapped by a conformist system of education and the extension of industrial technology to every sphere of modern life.” Ramses Wissa Wassef, architectArtists

Susan Hefuna, Khaled Hafez and Azza Fahmy will present and discuss:

How do artists approach tradition and innovation in their practice and how do their personal histories impact on their practice?

William Wells - Townhouse Gallery, Cairo and Dina Bakhoum - Aga Khan Cultural Services, Egypt presented and discussed: 

"Practices of engagement and specificity of location"


Other speakers included: Aleya Hamza, Rose Issa, Charles Merewether, Glenn Adamson and Venetia Porter 


For summaries of Dr Kawi and Mr Noshi's papers please go to Articles

CairoSymposium_new.pdf107.24 KB