A scene from Forever Is Now exhibition.
Muhammad Yusuf, Features Writer
Art D’Egypte has announced their 4th annual exhibition, Forever Is Now (Oct. 21 — Nov. 7) at the Great Pyramids of Giza and the surrounding Giza Plateau.
It is being held under the auspices of the Egyptian Ministry of Antiquities and Tourism, Egyptian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and with the patronage of UNESCO.
It is the first contemporary art exhibition at the Pyramids of Giza, in all of its history of 4,500 years. The show hosts 10 international artists: Russian artist Alexander Ponomarev; American artist Gisela Colón; Brazilian artist João Trevisan; French Artist JR; Italian artist Lorenzo Quinn; Egyptian artist Moataz Nasr; Egyptian born, Los Angeles-based artist Sherin Guirguis; British artists Shuster + Moseley; British artist Stephen Cox RA and Saudi Arabian artist Prince Sultan bin Fahad.
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It is, Art D’Egypte says, a one-of-a-kind opportunity to contemplate the wonders of an ancient civilisation through the eyes of contemporary artists’ interests and passions. It aims to explore time as a continuum that both divides and connects civilisations.
The idea is to trace the continuity of ideas from the legendary past to the vibrant present, finding inspiration for humanity’s future. “Today we are witnessing a global event on the land of Egypt. Today, the past intertwines with the present, history with reality, and antiquities with contemporary art,” said Nadine Abdel Ghaffar, Founder, Art D’Egypte.
“We are pleased and honoured by the participation of local and international artists from all over the world who came to the pyramids of Giza, one of the oldest monuments in history.
“They came to present a message of honour, pride, and appreciation for the ancient Egyptian civilisation with its antiquities and heritage, which has become a beacon of art throughout the ages.”
Art D’Egypte is an Egyptian multidisciplinary company founded by Ghaffar in 2017 that undertakes a number of activities which support both the heritage and visual art sectors. Each of its annual exhibitions showcases contemporary Egyptian art at heritage sites, linking Egypt’s rich past to its creative present.
Ghaffar is a multi-disciplinary professional who has showcased the work of Egyptian artists at international fairs such as Abu Dhabi Art Fair and Art Genève.
Abu Dhabi Festival is an exhibition partner of Forever Is Now. Huda I. Alkhamis-Kanoo, Founder of ADMAF and Artistic Director of Abu Dhabi Festival said: “Art D’Egypt plays an essential role in preserving Egypt’s history as a vibrant hub of culture, and in advancing its rich art scene.
“Abu Dhabi Festival is proud to support Art D’Egypt in shining a light on contemporary art from across the Arab world. “Forever Is Now” is part of a new dawn for Arab artists and an invitation for international audiences to experience a growing movement.
“In our ongoing mission to advocate for and develop international opportunities for all Arab artists, Abu Dhabi Festival strives to make their work and our culture accessible to all. My gratitude goes to Nadine Abdel Ghaffar, the curators and the entire Art D’Egypt team for accomplishing such an incredible exhibition.”
Art D’Egypte has also introduced a parallel project: Ai-Da, the world’s first ultra-realistic humanoid robot with an artistic persona. The robot can draw, paint, and sculpt, and can engage in performance arts.
The mechatronics and robotics involved in the making of Ai-Da’s drawing arm is the designed and programmed by of two Egyptian students at the University of Leeds: Salah EL Abd and Ziad Abbas.
Forever Is Now has also incorporated a Community Engagement Program launched in 2020 at the Giza Plateau. It involves the surrounding community in the process of putting together the exhibition and includes free Unesco-led public lectures to train youth as Art Guides and Heritage Guardians for the duration of the exhibition.
A colouring book with the title “Egypt is a Beauty” authored by Hala Sarofim has been developed, which instills the idea of preserving history, heritage and how treat heritage.
Art D’Egypte also hosts media happenings such as live chats, cultural podcasts and an IGTV series, among others, to contribute to the creative economy and help democratise art.
It has launched an online exhibition platform on Artsy, alongside two virtual exhibitions, besides a Youtube channel that encompasses all of its videography and audio content.
Art D’Egypte and Forever Is Now attempt to deconstruct the stigma around art exhibitions being elitist and distant, by bringing art to the public spaces of Egypt and making them accessible for all, to the community that lives in these spaces. Art D’Egypte’s exhibitions are free for the public.
Its first exhibition Eternal Light was held at the Egyptian Museum in 2017 and was followed by Nothing Vanishes, Everything Transforms at the Manial Palace in 2018.
In 2019, Reimagined Narratives, the third annual exhibition, was held at four historic locations on Al-Mu’izz Street in Historic Cairo, the Unesco world heritage site.
“I have always been in awe of this extraordinary ancient (Egyptian) civilisation that has influenced generations with discoveries in the sciences, arts, math, social justice, cultural development, and innovation,” said Ghaffar.
“It is a civilisation that managed to invent and build monuments that we as human beings to this day cannot fathom and have not been able to replicate.
“Egyptian culture is a gift to humanity, and the purpose of this exhibition is to showcase these treasures in a dialogue with the contemporary on an international scale, to the rest of the world.
“Ancient Egypt has influenced artists from around the world, and so we bring the world to Egypt and Egypt to the world through art. It’s a privilege to stand at the foot of these monuments that have survived turmoil, wars, and pandemics, and have endured.
“This exhibition is a token of hope for humanity and a humble tribute to a civilisation that stands the test of time.”
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