Institutions and Individuals in Egyptian Arts & Cultural sector - Egypt

Aga Khan Trust for Culture

In the old city of Cairo, activities started with the reconversion of a vast barren site (a hilly rubble-dump between the Fatimid city and the Mamluk cemetery) into a 30-hectare urban park with many visitors' facilities. This major open space not only brings relief to the dense metropolitan agglomeration, but has helped transform the image of the adjacent old city and mobilise resources for its rehabilitation. As part of the grading effort on the park slopes, 1.5 kilometres of the formerly buried 12th century city wall were brought to light and partly restored. Near the wall and inside the district of Darb al-Ahmar, several mosques, old palaces and historic houses are being restored in an effort to revitalise the existing architectural heritage and make it useful for the local community as well as visitors. In conjunction with these physical upgrading and adaptive re-use projects, a wide range of socio-economic initiatives have been launched to provide residents with new opportunities, including training, employment, micro-credits for small enterprises, health centres, and women’s associations.

The Aga Khan Trust for Culture (AKTC) is an agency of the Aga Khan Development Network (AKDN). It focuses on the revitalization of communities in the Muslim world—physical, social, cultural, and economic.

The AKTC was founded in 1988 and is registered in Geneva, Switzerland, as a private non-denominational philanthropic foundation. It is an integral part of the Aga Khan Development Network (AKDN), a family of institutions created by Aga Khan IV with distinct but complementary mandates to improve the welfare of people in the developing world.

Dina Ramadan

Dina Ishak Bakhoum is a Construction Engineer specialized in Conservation and Restoration of Built Heritage. She holds a BSc. in Construction Engineering and Management (1999) and a MA in Arabic

Studies (specialization: Islamic Art and Architecture; 2004) both from the American University in Cairo. She participated in two ICCROM international conservation courses.

She worked on several conservation and revitalization projects in Historic Cairo and others in the Theban Necropolis in the south of Egypt, both locations being World Heritage Sites. She is involved

with prominent institutions in the field, such as the Centro Italo Egiziano per il Restauro e l’Archeologia, the American Research Center in Egypt , the Theban Mapping Project, the Metropolitan Museum of Art- New York and others.

Since 2004 she works as an Engineer and Heritage Site Manager for the Aga Khan Cultural Services-Egypt on conservation projects in Cairo part of the Historic Cities Programme of the Aga Khan Trust for Culture.

Al Khatoun Gallery

Al Khatoun is accommodated in one of the old quarter’s many unregistered but architecturally important buildings. This early nineteenth-century dyeing workshop and house that had stood abandoned and derelict since the 1970s is the first old building in Cairo to be restored for new commercial use-and thus saved from demolition-by a private group of Egyptians. The restoration, using techniques and materials that took careful account of the fabric and integrity of the original building, was completed in one year with no government support or outside funding. It constitutes an example of how other buildings of historic architectural value in the area that are not protected by law can be preserved by private initiative.

The restoration and opening of Al Khatoun has helped to revitalize an area that had been in economic decline for decades. The owners’ decision to give new life to the building signals their faith in local artisans and their work-the range of wood, glass, metal, ceramic, and cloth furnishings and decorations on display and for sale in Al Khatoun are created using traditional materials and methods, to new and innovative designs, forging a new partnership for the development of the community. Al Khatoun is owned and managed by Ayman al-Azabawy, Hany al-Borai, Suzanne al-Masry, and Mustafa Khali.

Alexandria Contemporary Arts Forum

Alexandria Contemporary Arts Forum (ACAF) is an independent non-commercial organization whose primary function is to operate an alternative venue for the presentation and research of contemporary visual culture and art practices in Alexandria , Egypt. ACAF was established in December 2005, and although new and working with modest resources is widely recognized as a unique project in Alexandria.

The forum is an artist-led initiative dedicated to exhibiting high quality contemporary art by international and Egyptian artists while maintaining a communicative approach towards its local audience and surrounding community.

Located in a spacious (350 sq meters) partially run down flat near Alexandria’s city centre, ACAF is a dynamic organization that works at the grassroots level to cultivate a better and wider awareness of art in relation to all aspects of contemporary life and culture.

Additionally, ACAF designs and develops special projects and workshops that target the artistic development of individuals at the beginning of their careers while presenting opportunities for direct contact and interaction between established international and Egyptian artists and young local art practitioners. Presentations, discussions, screenings and live performances are occasionally hosted or organized by ACAF and are all admission free events. The space also houses a small up-to-date visual arts library for the benefit of the

Members are: Bassam El Baroni, Mahmoud Khaled, Mona Marzouk, Hadil Nazmy

Bassam el Baroni

Baroni is an independent writer/curator based in Alexandria, Egypt. In late 2005, he Co-founded Alexandria Contemporary Arts Forum (ACAF), a collectively run artist-led space, the first in Egypt's second largest city. As a writer he has written texts on the work of many artists, including Susan Hefuna, Amina Mansour, Mona Marzouk and Karim Rashid. His writings have also appeared in a number of local and international publications such as Bidoun, A-42 Arte and Culturas, and Canvas. His recent curatorial projects include the exhibition Family – You, Me and the Trajectories of a Post-Everything Era, PROGR - Zentrum für Kulturproduktion, Bern, Switzerland (2006) and Prototypes for an Advanced Outdoor Visual Culture (2006), an art in public spaces project in Alexandria with the artist duo Winter/Hörbelt and art students from Alexandria and Frankfurt.

American University in Cairo

The American University in Cairo was founded in 1919 by Americans devoted to education and community service in the Middle East. Today, AUC is the region’s premier English-language university — an essential contributor to the social, political and cultural life of the Arab world. It also serves as a crossroads for the world’s cultures: a vital, vibrant forum for reasoned argument, spirited debate and global understanding.

It is a vital bridge between the cultures of East and West, linking Egypt and the region to the world through scholarly research, study-abroad programs and partnerships with academic and research institutions.

AUC is an independent, non-profit, apolitical, non-sectarian and equal-opportunity institution, fully accredited in Egypt and the United States. AUC’s academic program is rooted in liberal education and focused practice. The university’s rigorous core curriculum offers an intensive investigation of fundamental questions in every major discipline.

The American University in Cairo was founded in 1919 by Americans devoted to education and community service in the Middle East. Today, AUC is the region’s premier English-language university — an essential contributor to the social, political and cultural life of the Arab world. It also serves as a crossroads for the world’s cultures: a vital, vibrant forum for reasoned argument, spirited debate and global understanding.

It is a vital bridge between the cultures of East and West, linking Egypt and the region to the world through scholarly research, study-abroad programs and partnerships with academic and research institutions.

AUC is an independent, non-profit, apolitical, non-sectarian and equal-opportunity institution, fully accredited in Egypt and the United States. AUC’s academic program is rooted in liberal education and focused practice. The university’s rigorous core curriculum offers an intensive investigation of fundamental questions in every major discipline.

Ann Shafer - Assistant Professor and Director of the Art Program

Ann Shafer teaches courses in both art history and design. Ann was born and received her education in the United States. She holds a Ph.D. from Harvard University in the History of Art and Architecture, an M.A. in Ancient Near Eastern Languages and Archaeology from the University of Chicago, and her M.Arch. from the Rhode Island School of Design. Ann is an architect, artist and historian, and her work explores architecture as sacred space. Most recently, she has presented her work in Italy and Mexico, and this year in Spain and the United States. Ann also conducts workshops on creativity for educators and disadvantaged youth.

Shady El Noshokaty -Adjunct Faculty, PVA Dept

Shady El Noshokaty is Adjunct Instructor in the PVA Department, teaching courses in drawing and painting. His is also Assistant Professor in the Faculty of Art Education at Helwan University in Cairo. He was born in Dammieta, Egypt, and has studied in both Egypt and the U.S. He holds a B.F.A. and M.A. from Helwan University, and is currently a Ph.D. candidate there. Through a Fulbright Award he also studied in the U.S. at the Art Institute of Chicago. His work has been exhibited internationally, including Washington, D.C., Germany, France, the UK, and in the 48th International Venice Biennale. His current work explores the theme of identity through multimedia animation, digital graphics, and video installation.

As a teacher El Noshokaty is known for advancing new media, video and installation practise, the only teacher in Egypt working in this capacity. He encourages his students to experiment and use the language that they feel most comfortable with and in today’s world with ever-expanding digital networks, for many young students this is new media. On a personal level El Noshokaty says he gains great satisfaction from his dual role as teacher/artist and believes that the disciplines enrich one another. He also strives to advance and promote contemporary arts practise in Egypt, giving a new generation the opportunity to flourish under the same circumstances as he did in Chicago.

He continues to work as Adjunct Instructor in the PVA Department, teaching courses in contemporary issues and as Assistant Professor in the Faculty of Art Education at Helwan University in Cairo. El Noshokaty recently completed his PhD in “Media art and New Egyptian Identity”.

Brian Curling - Falaki Gallery Director, Assistant Professor of Arts

Brian Curling is an Assistant Professor in the PVA Department and the Director of the Falaki Gallery. He teaches courses in drawing and other media, including printmaking. Brian studied fine arts at the University of Kentucky and continued his education at the University of Nebraska where he earned his Master of Fine Arts degree. He has taught courses in printmaking, drawing and book arts for the past six years in various schools in his native United States , and is also the owner of Goldfinch Press, a small collaborative book arts studio. His personal artistic work explores specific ideas of time, its effects on the landscape and the intertwining relationships that evolve between time, place and individual experience. Brian has and continues to exhibit his work in Europe, Egypt and the United States.

Nagla Samir – Adjunct Faculty, AUC & Director of Passage 35

Nagla Samir was born in Cairo in 1969. She graduated in 1992 from the Faculty of Applied Arts, Helwan University. She obtained her PhD in Applied Arts in 2002 and has been working as a lecturer of visual communication and advertising design since then. After years of practicing commercial design as creative director for Integrated Media International, she joined the Egyptian art movement as a photographer and media artist in 2003.

Samir has had several participations in group exhibitions, as well as two solo exhibitions in 2005 and 2007 at the Gezira Art Centre. She was awarded the prize of the 24th Alexandria Biennale for Mediterranean Countries, and served as jury member for the Youth Salon, and Nile Salon for Photography. She's curated several exhibitions and culture events, among which the 1st International Media Art Forum for Youth 2008. She also serves as the director of Passage 35 Hall since 2006.

Samir is a freelance designer in the fields of advertising, interior design and theatre scenography. She also published studies and articles in the fields of design, and contemporary art.

Azza Fahmy

Azza Fahmy was born and raised in Sohag, in Upper Egypt. She graduated in interior design from the Faculty of Fine Arts and studied jewellery craft at the City of London Polytechnic before becoming the first female apprentice to several of the best jewellers in Cairo. She now makes and markets her own jewellery internationally.

She was the first woman to be an apprentice silversmith in Egypt, learning how to craft metals in the workshops of the Khan el Khalili. Inspired by a book on medieval jewellery in Europe, she began to combine traditional Egyptian designs with modern artistic techniques -- which had to be learned abroad. The commercial appeal of her work is evident to anyone who visits the Al Ain Gallery, which she opened with her husband in 1980. Fahmy draws particularly on the Bedouin style for inspiration, but her jewellery also reflects African, Nubian, Berber and Yemeni styles. The result is an extraordinary collection of necklaces, brooches, bracelets, earrings and amulets, each piece fully decorated with semiprecious stones or Arabic calligraphy or the fine, detailed inlay work known as filigree.

Contemporary Image Collective

The Contemporary Image Collective (CIC) is an independent non-profit artist initiative founded in 2004 by a collective of artists and professional photographers, focusing on the visual image and the development of contemporary visual arts and culture in Egypt. Their main goal is to create a platform for an active, reflective local community that supports contemporary artistic and professional practices. CIC aims to trigger a critical dialogue around current visual culture by encouraging production, organising exhibitions and initiating educational projects.

The CIC offices and studios are located on the second floor and rooftop of a charming 1920’s villa in Mounira, a once-affluent residential neighbourhood near Downtown Cairo. Exhibitions, photography courses, film screenings, performances, lectures and workshops are held regularly. CIC also offers local, regional and international artists and researchers the opportunity for collaboration and exchange within the framework of a studio/residency program. CIC aims to promote the enrichment of the local visual culture by emphasizing the role of the visual image in shaping and documenting society at large.

Fustat Ceramics Centre

A Ministry of Culture run organisation, this centre was set up for the study of the traditional crafts of pottery and ceramics. The building is 2,400 square metres and consists of workshops, lecture areas, dormitories, exhibition galleries, glazing rooms, offices, a multi-purpose hall, and guest rooms for artists, all of which are centred around a series of open air courtyards. Indigenous materials were used with the exception of reinforced concrete. The centre has become an important teaching institution as well as a catalyst for the revitalisation of the surrounding area - a long-forgotten district of old Cairo.


Ganzeer studio creates a forum for Arab graphic artists and designers. Three artists, all under 25 years of age, have created an innovative label called Ganzeer; a “multidisciplinary art studio” explains Mohammed Fahmy, the studio’s pioneer. Along with his colleagues, Dalia El Shimi and Haitham Abu-Samra, Fahmy formed the company a year ago, which basically encompasses the many forms of creative expression: modern art, design and graphics. From creating corporate identity to designing a chair.

Fahmy first worked for Hany Mahfouz design, and then moved on to E-turn Internet Company where he met Abu-Samra. He convinced Abu-Samra, employed as a web developer, to join him and have the opportunity to apply his visual and graphic design talents to their full potential rather than being limited within the confines of his job. El Shimi is a graphic artist plus illustrator with interior design background.

Ganzeer’s portfolio includes creating corporate identity for companies like Digital Charisma, Up Close and Personal store in the CityStars shopping centre and Mask-Off magazine. They have created mural art work for the interiors of many café’s, including the ultra modern coffee shop in Mohandiseen “inch,” famous for its funky design. They also develop advertising campaigns for various businesses, including Philosophy interiors. The studio is also involved in creating comic strips, sequential art storyboards and editorial cartoons for magazines, including Campus, and there own a bilingual (Arabic/English) contemporary socio-cultural magazine 8 x 8, co-published with “inch” café.

They also have an online magazine to promote Arab arts, Shakloh ( Every month, the virtual magazine focuses on a different theme and invites other artists to submit graphics and art that expresses that same theme. Previously it has tackled themes such as: “Patience is a Virtue” and “El-Baladi Yokal” (roughly translated as “Gypo [slang for Egyptian] is Edible.”). “Arab artists have very little presence on the web in the international design community. Realizing this, Ganzeer has created Shakloh Mag to direct the steady traffic it garners onto the contributors of the mag” explains their Web site.

“We use different ideas which are basically a visual medium that transcends into any language,” Fahmy adds. While they bring together a variety of design mediums and style, the one common underlying theme is that they are far from average. Ganzeer’s designs raise the bar of creativity. Their work is young, fresh and incorporates elements from Egyptian culture with a unique flare.
Fahmy feels that Ganzeer was formed at the right time, although when they first started the concept they weren’t sure there would be high demand. “There is a shift (in Egypt) towards creativity and creative ideas, and there is a movement towards ideas and thought and many people want to be part of this creative movement,” he says.

Magaz – design magazine

Magaz magazine is a monthly magazine addressing design as a culture through an exploration of the wide spectrum of the design sector. Interests covered include: architecture, urban & landscape design, interior design, furniture and product design, communication and visual design, fashion and costume design and packaging design.

Dr Amr Abdel Kawi

Kawi is the publisher for Magaz and is also the founder and publisher of Medina magazine – which was a bi-monthly, bi-lingual professional periodical covering architecture, interiors and the arts both locally and internationally. He is also the founder of Rhimal Design – a design incubator fostering, producing and marketing Egyptian design with the goal of introducing it to the international market.

Muski glass

Primitive factories on Haret al-Birkedar just outside the Northern Gates still produce Muski glass, a form of hand-blown glassware popular in medieval times, which is nowadays made from recycled bottles. Recognizable by its air bubbles and extreme fragility, Muski glass comes in five main colours (navy blue, turquoise, aquamarine, green and purple) and is fashioned into inexpensive glasses, plates, vases, candle holders and ashtrays - sometimes painted with arabesque designs in imitation of enamelled Mamluke glassware. In the bazaar, the main stockist is Saiyid Abd al-Raouf (8 Sikket Khan el-Khalili), but it's better to go to the factory, where you can see the glass being blown, and also get a better price. The main one is called Al-Daour, and can be found by leaving the walled city through Bab al-Futuh, crossing the main road (Sharia Galal) and finding Haret al-Birkedar about 50m to your right behind the first row of shops; the factory is more or less at the end of it.


Three syllables, clear and magical, that came even before Pharaonic Egypt. The name of the village sings like the rhythm of the weaver's loom. On the left bank of the river Nile of Egypt, between Qena and Luxor, Nagada hasn't stopped weaving for millennia. Even the looms are the same as those used 1000 years ago. During the 20th century all textile production resulted in one product: the ferka. The ferka is a scarf made of a blend of rayon and cotton dyed by the weavers at home. The yarn was provided by merchants, who paid the workers and exported the final product en masse to Sudan. Poorly paid and often of poor quality, the production of ferkas fed about 2000 families.

In 1988, the political and economical problems of Sudan affected the weavers, who were abandoned by the merchants, and left without work.

In 1991, a Canadian development project studied the possibility of restoring the textile activity and mandated Michel Pastore to design the project. Some 30 weavers, the most unfortunate, were chosen to revive the weaving, while Michel Pastore designed new motifs, inspired by the traditional ferka, and taught the craftsmen how to improve their weaving techniques. The outcome was original and of better quality. The Canadian project lasted only a year, but Michel Pastore continued his venture in association with Sylva Nasrallah, a Lebanese clothes designer living in Cairo. Together they formed a company that kept the original name of the project: NAGADA.

Their concept is based on the idea of revealing modern traits in clothing and fabrics that are hidden in tradition. Using natural fibers such as cotton and silk, or rayon, their creations of clothing and home furnishings are practical, adapted to contemporary life, easy to maintain and well finished. Today, NAGADA encourages handweaving by using textiles from all over Egypt, or even from abroad. The designs are inspired by traditional clothes of different origins, and are modern at the same time.

Nagada is well known for its use of traditional fabrics. Most of them come from Egypt, like the cottons handwoven in Nagada, the Shahi manufactured in Mahalla in the Delta, the Melaya made in Domiat. But Nagada also work with Kurdish wool and Indian silks. "All our textiles are linked to a tradition that we transcend. For example, I modified the traditional Nagada fabric. It was characterized by a complex motif which I transformed into a more graphic design. We also used the Milaya which is traditionally worn as a hijab in Upper Egypt for one of our dresses, and its been a huge success," says Michel.

Egyptians are particularly amazed by the way Nagada makes use of traditional fabrics like the "milaya". The handwoven textiles that have become Nagada's trademark are rarely made according to their specific requirements - the challenge, according to Michel, is to produce clothes from imperfect, handmade textiles.

Ramses Wissa Wassef Art Centre

Ramses Wissa Wassef was an Egyptian architect who was persuaded of the fundamental importance of creativity as a force to shape the society in which we live. Prompted by this conviction he started an educational and artistic experiment that began in 1941 and continues till now, twenty six years after his death. The weavings exhibited in the Wissa Wassef Art Center are an example of the results of this experiment.

He worked first with the children in the district of Old Cairo and when he proved the soundness of his theory he came in 1953 to the village of Harrania, a small village near Cairo where people lived on agriculture, with very little contact with the outside world. To work with the children of Harrania he bought some land and used to visit it every week with his wife Sophie, who's an artist herself, to supervise the building of a small room topped with a dome and to play and talk with the village children in order to know and understand them better. By the time the room was finished he had built a good relationship with the children and he proposed to teach them a trade. He then brought twelve simple looms and some woollen threads, which he coloured with natural dyes and taught nine girls and three boys the rudiments of weaving without giving them any design.

They were then encouraged to express themselves directly with the threads. Each tapestry was an innovation and they were paid for it as an encouragement. In the garden of the atelier they planted the dyes like reseda, madder, nut trees etc. and slowly, as the children grew older and their work matured, the couple started discussing the composition and the colours to give them new ideas.

The aim of the centre is not only to produce genuine art and revive Egyptian crafts, but also to help young people build a better and more fulfilling life for themselves and those around them. By developing their creative abilities.

Suzanne Al-Masri

The artist Suzanne El-Masri is a native of Quenah, where the mountains approach the Nile. After studying Engineering at the University of Cairo, she travelled to the United States to study Fine Arts, and graduated from the college of Fine Arts at Newark, and then continued at the Art Student League and at Kulike and Stark school at N.Y.C. Although she specialized in painting and textile design, she was smitten by jewellery design and making. It was that art with which she began her long journey during her engineering studies in Cairo in the workshops of Khan El-Khalili.

After ten years in the United States, she returned to Egypt to devote herself exclusively to jewellery. The works of this artist are set apart by their outstanding technique and inspired designs, and she is considered as one of the pioneers in modern jewellery making in Egypt.

The artist has undertaken a number of exhibitions in Cairo and Paris, Amman, (Jordan), Turkey , Paris , Vienna and China. She is also a co-owner and designer for "Alkhatoun" situated in Fatimid Cairo specialized in top quality Egyptian crafts, e.g. embroidered textile hangings with old Arabic poetry as well as lighting, copper ware etc. Her designs have been published in magazines and newspapers, both eastern and Western, among them the "New York Times", and French "Elle", el beyt among others. She is currently exhibiting her work at "Alkhatoun" and Beymen.

Shahira Mehrez

Shahira Mehrez has been researching, collecting and promoting traditional Egyptian crafts for 40 years. Although originally a graduate from the Department of Physical Sciences of the American University in Cairo, Shahira Mehrez’s desire to know more about Egypt’s heritage led her to change her career and study Islamic Art in Architecture at the same university. She started her professional life as a teacher of

Islamic history, while completing her MA degree (1971). From 1974 to 1977 she conducted postgraduate research, at Linacre College, Oxford University. In the early 1980s she left teaching and devoted herself to researching collecting and promoting Egypt’s unparalleled but hitherto little documented and regional costumes and jewellery.

Gathered over some 40 years, this collection was expanded to include baskets, pottery and flat weaves. It has been exhibited in Egypt, Kuwait, Italy, Spain and the United States in cultural centers and museums, as well as presented to the public live shows. For the past 20 years, Shahira Mehrez has been lecturing, at home and abroad, to increase public awareness of endangered Egyptian crafts. The author of several articles on regional Egyptian costumes, she is currently working on publishing these important collections.

Studio 206

Studio 206's purpose and mission is to "develop individual creativity and expression," in the belief that in helping each person tap into their natural creative energy, all of society will experience an economic and spiritual awakening as a result. Founded by Noha Sayedalahl it was set up to promote creativity workshops are offered in fine art, design, crafts, dance, acting, cooking, and history. There are lectures and discussions in psychology, philosophy, comparative religion, education, alternative medicine, literature, history, fine art, social issues, and the environment, with the intention to enable exchange of ideas between members of the community. The showroom exhibits young talents as well as established artists. In addition, Studio 206 hosts and cooperates with other cultural groups such as Zakhareef, Pen Temple Pilots, Greenpeace, Care International, and Lions. Volunteer work constitutes an important objective. There are opportunities for volunteers at the charity art workshops for children in Beni Suef and Cairo, visiting orphans, and helping at the Sinai Art Festival. Studio 206 is an artist-run cultural centre.


Zafir is a 100% Egyptian T-shirt store and brand that was launched about two years ago, the idea was to mix fashion with Egyptian pop culture and create a truly Egyptian T-shirt. They use Iconic logos, Egyptian slang, famous quotes or proverbs, works of calligraphy, truck signage and almost everything Egyptian can be seen on the T-shirts.

The T-shirts are a 100 % Egyptian, they use Egyptian cotton and all the T-shirts are all made and printed in local factories. They also collaborate with various Egyptian designers on every collection and hope to provide a platform for designers to be able to express themselves and enable them to show their work to a wider audience.

One of the many freelance designers is Ganzeer: Experimental Design Unit, who are involved in graphic and interior design, and for the first time ever, clothes. At the moment they have three designs that they have added to the current collection. When they sell out, Ganzeer will be producing new ones. For individuality’s sake, Zafir and Ganzeer have decided to produce a minimum quantity of each design.

According to Mohammed Fahmy of Ganzeer, “by drawing inspiration from local and universal pop cultures and subcultures, societies and human experiences, we have created T-shirts that transcend their materiality and act as a medium for human expression.”


Zakhareef is a continuously growing workshop emphasizing Egyptian handmade crafts with unique designs, aesthetic simplicity and real- usage and with a collection of handmade products from curtains, candles, pottery, glass, women’s accessories, tablecloth, rugs, lights, etc.

They also organize crafts workshops and classes for candle making, jewellery making, beadwork, Arabic calligraphy, etc. It is a continuously growing workshop emphasizing Egyptian handmade crafts with unique designs, aesthetic simplicity and real-usage functionality.

Other relevant organisations

Fair Trade Egypt

Fair Trade Egypt is a nonprofit organization whose goal is to empower Egyptian artisans through the practice of Fair Trade. FTE surveys the developing areas of the country, finds local treasures that have been traditionally manufactured for centuries and brings them to the consumer. Their goal is to assistthe talented but struggling Egyptian artisans, who have been particularly hard-hit by massive industrialization and globalization. They help expose artisans’ goods to new customers via their Cairo store, which always showcases a wide and diverse inventory. They act as a liaison between the artisans themselves and importers from all over the world and they help modernize artisans’ operations by training them in all aspects of business, such as production, management and marketing.

FTE has also become a vital link to Egypt’s cultural richness, by safeguarding techniques and products that were on the brink of extinction because of their mass-produced counterparts. Every one of their more than 500 products comes with its own introduction card, a note that educates us on its origin and function.

The Khatt Foundation, The Netherlands

The Khatt Foundation, Center for Arabic Typography is a non-profit organisation that aims to encourage new design developments and improve (typo)graphic communication in the Arab World. They strive to connect designers and visual artists, provide information about various resources, projects, news and events regarding this highly specialized field of visual communication.

Huda Smitshuijzen AbiFares - Director and Founder of Khatt Foundation

Huda Smitshuijzen AbiFarès , was born in Beirut in 1965. Author of Arabic Typography: a comprehensive sourcebook (Saqi Books, London, 2001), Experimental Arabic Type (Saatchi & Saatchi, Dubai, 2002), Typographic Matchmaking (BIS Publishers, Amsterdam 2007), and a number of articles on multilingual communication in the Middle East. She holds degrees in graphic design from Yale University School of Art and Rhode Island School of Design, and specialises in bilingual typographic research and design. She has worked as a designer for a number of years, in the us, Amsterdam, France and Beirut. She has taught typography and graphic design at the American University of Beirut. She was the Chair of the Visual Communication Department for three years at the American University in Dubai and Special projects Director and Associate professor of Graphic Design until June 2008. She is the director and founder of the Khatt Foundation, Center for Arabic Typography. She is currently pursuing a PhD at Leiden University while working between Europe and the Middle East as a typography and design consultant on projects of cultural relevance.

Eklego Design

Eklego Design is a Cairo-based architecture, interior and furniture design firm, committed to providing its clients with innovative, contemporary, and functional designs, along with exceptional quality and service standards.

Established in 2000 by interior designer Hedayat Islam, and architect Dina El Khachab, Eklego has designed over 80 projects all over Egypt ranging from private residences to restaurants, retail spaces, and commercial offices. Aside from Cairo, they have worked extensively on new developments, from the booming Mediterranean coast to the Red Sea resorts of Sharm El Sheikh and El Gouna. “Eklego” is the Greek origin of the word eclectic, meaning to select or draw upon various styles, sources or cultures, a principle that both reflects our style and informs our creative approach. Whether creating spaces or products, the bringing together of different ideas and inspirations to form a complete and original whole is what Eklego Design is all about.

Their emphasis is always on simplicity and functionality coupled with the use of diverse indigenous materials and quality local craftsmanship, resulting in intelligent, creative designs that are beautifully detailed. The Eklego Design showroom showcases our furniture and home accessories collection as well as featuring international and local art and design that complements the Eklego aesthetic.

Starting with a staff of three in 2000, Eklego Design has since grown to include over 20 dedicated employees. Their design team includes architects and designers, many of whom are also artists, creating an environment that is fresh, creative and dynamic. With strong backgrounds in interior design and contemporary furniture design our team is well qualified to cater to the unique wishes of each client.


TANIS was founded in 1987 to produce the best and finest local textiles. In the seventies and early eighties the variety of quality materials available was limited. Imported materials enjoyed a special prominence in the market.

The need for locally produced fabrics was there but awaiting the entrepreneur who could meet the challenge. TANIS was established to do just this. Fabrics would be designed and hand printed using local design expertise, local materials and local crafts-people. Many of the products were original in design and printed on cotton, linen or silk. To the delight of many Egyptians others were re-editions of traditional designs that could only be found in museums, old palaces, in books or in private collections.

TANIS tapped this rich source of Egypt’s textile heritage to produce exquisite products suitable for modern living. They would be used in all kinds of soft furnishings but in particular for curtaining, drapes and upholstery. The products pioneered a revival of a dying art and of classical design. With time both the producers and the clients became bolder in their use of traditional motifs and transferred them onto fabrics and in colors that would at one time have been unthinkable.

During the past twenty years the company has contributed to a renaissance and reinterpretation of traditional textile work. It has innovated with imaginative new designs and sustained a craft that at one time seemed doomed to a slow death.



Is a monthly English-language magazine presenting design, culture and travel in Egypt. Produced by interior designer Lamia Hassanein and three partners, the magazine uses high-quality photography to showcase Egyptian musicians, designers and destinations. Hassanein explained to Daily News Egypt her motivations for creating Obelisque: “After 25 years of experience I have a very different angle on a beautiful Egypt that I want everyone to experience. Egypt is about more than monuments: it’s about fantastic people and creativity which tourists and expats are not always familiar with.”

The magazine targets Egyptians, tourists and foreigners with a business interest in the art and design sectors in Egypt. Hassanein says that the Obelisque team is uniquely chosen to present Egypt’s hidden talent: “As Egyptians we are in touch with the local scene and can give tourists and businessman a unique perspective on art and culture here.”

Obelisque is produced in English in order to satisfy the demand by a growing numbers of Egyptians for a local publication capable of competing with imported magazines, and which presents the designs and workmanship of their own culture and society. Each issue seeks out creative individuals who are influencing the new generation of designers, artists and entrepreneurs and presents homes, gardens, jewellery, works of art and fabrics.

Hassanein says that she chose to call the magazine Obelisque because “it immediately conjures up visions of Egypt.”

Contemporary Practices

They have the vision of making novel contemporary art practices of the region enter international academia, and take its well-deserved place in the international art literature, academia and market, all within five years.


Covering fashion, travel and design; this lifestyle magazine has billed itself as an urban guide to the Middle East since hitting newsstands in 2007. Based in Dubai, subscribers can expect to receive each issue in an artfully packaged container. You can find articles on everything from trendy bespoke furniture makers in Tehran to a piece chronicling Damascus’ Armenian community.


While most publications fit into a particular genre, Bidoun presents itself as an open forum for ideas related to all things Middle Eastern. The result is an unpredictable blend of social commentary, art criticism and innovative photography that has kept this magazine relevant since its inception in 2003. Although it may look like it was put together by a group of hipsters in a basement in Williamsburg, NY; the magazine’s staff are in fact located in places as varied as Cairo, Dubai, Tehran and New York City. Bidoun has branched out into the publishing world as well, releasing its own series of books, in addition to collaborating with several Middle Eastern artists, writers and directors on a series of projects that explore contemporary creation within the Middle East and its Diaspora.


Positioning itself as a publication devoted to contemporary art, photography, film and culture in the Middle East; Canvas Magazine has quickly established itself as the chronicler of the Arab worlds booming art scene since launching in 2004. In the last few years it has managed to establish a following amongst a number of Arab royals, prominent art collectors, museum curators and even a few experts at Sotheby’s. The product of a boutique publishing house based in Dubai, previous editions have included an exclusive peek into the Islamic art collection of Nasser David Khalili and interviews with the leading young middle-eastern collectors of contemporary art.


Founded by Sheikh Majed al-Sabah in September 2006, Alef Magazine has managed to corner the Middle Eastern market in terms of sleekness. But beyond the glossy images and fashion spreads that rival those of W and Bazaar, lies a deeper mission to showcase a progressive vision of the Middle East through interviews with key players shaping its cultural, artistic and design scene. Not for demure beauties, Alef strives to present an image of a strong Middle Eastern woman; with models often looking defiantly straight into the camera. Originally based in New York, Alef’s offices made the move to London last year under the direction of its new editor in chief Paul de Zwart, a former editor at Wallaper*. In its first issue alone Alef dazzled with an interview and photo spread of fashion icon Princess Deena Abdulaziz at her sumptuous Riyadh home; as well as a story on the state of contemporary architecture in the Middle East.

Shakloh magazine - is an Online Visual PDF Magazine For Arab Artists

SHAKLOH is a free monthly PDF entirely visual magazine acting as a space of expression and promotion for Arab artists, designers, calligraphers, typographers, and photographers. Each issue is announced with a theme and contributing artists are required to create a visual in accordance with that theme.

SHAKLOH is electronically published by Ganzeer: Experimental Arts Unit

Egypt Today

Egypt Today is the leading current affairs magazine in Egypt and the Middle East — and the oldest English-language publication of its kind in the nation. As a private, independent publication, Egypt Today supports itself on advertising and circulation revenue alone. They receive no subsidy from any third party — governmental or private interest — and their "editorial line" is purely independent of outside influence. Egypt Today is the flagship publication of IBA Media (a division of International Business Associates Ltd).


Al-Ahram was founded in 1875 and is one of the most widely circulating Egyptian daily newspapers, and the second oldest after Al-Ahram Al-Waqae'a Al-Masreya ('The Egyptian Events'), founded in 1828.

Al-Ahram's headquarters is in Boulaq, Cairo, its content is controlled by the Egyptian Ministry of Information, but despite this its opinion section is well regarded.

It has two foreign language versions, the English Al-Ahram Weekly (founded in 1991) and the French Al-Ahram Hebdo.


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