Forever Is Now 03 takes place beside the Pyramids of Giza.
Muhammad Yusuf, Features Writer
Launched by Nadine Abdel Ghaffar in 2021, Forever Is Now is the first and only exhibition of contemporary art to take place at the 4500-year-old UNESCO World Heritage site of the Pyramids of Giza, Egypt, and its surrounding plateau. It aims to bring together artists from around world to reflect on the enduring legacy of one of humanity’s most compelling and mysterious structures. Through the lens of artists’ interests and practices, Forever is Now aims to trace the continuity of themes that stretch from the ancient past to present day, while paying homage to the ingenuity and reflections of human civilisation and art.
This year’s edition is located around the concept “play”; it will see the Giza Plateau transformed into a space of serendipity, chance and experimentation, featuring interactive sculptural artworks set to invite viewers to actively engage with each installation. By becoming creators of their own experience and altering the outcome of each work, visitors to Forever is Now 03 can blur the line between artist and viewer in a playground of possibilities.
Ghaffar, who is also Founder and Curator Art D’Egypte by Culturvator, said that “this year will be our most ambitious yet with 14 participating artists – the biggest programme we will stage to date. The forthcoming edition like previous iterations, will aim and continue to create unexpected and energising dialogues between humanity’s ancient past and its contemporary present - ultimately demonstrating the enduring influence of ancient Egypt’s cultural heritage and its ongoing ability to inspire both the artistic and public imagination in novel ways. Both Egyptians and international visitors alike will be able to interact and experience contemporary art in the context of this legendary, ancient monument.”
Highlights include Belgian artist Arne Quinze’s circular Lupine sculpture that provides a viewpoint into an isolated vista of one of the Pyramids and its invisible axis lines; Greek artist Dionysios’s geometrical installation based on instructions to artificial intelligence to imagine different prayers on light; American artist Carole Feureman’s hyperrealist sculpture evoking Hathor, the ancient Egyptian goddess of love and fertility; Bahraini artist Rashid Al Khalifa’s fragments of a labyrinth, emerging from the ground at varying angles, each inscribed with motifs sourced from a 1679 work Turris Babel (The Tower of Babel) written by Jesuit scholar Athanasius Kircher and Argentinian artist Pilar Zeta’s limestone portal sitting amidst gold and blue spherical objects, which is a checkerboard pathway and a mirrored egg plus more.
An artwork asserts itself beside the Pyramids.
Other participating artists include Artur Lescher (Brazil), Azza Al Quibaisi (UAE), Costas Varotsos (Greece), JR (France), Mohamed Banawy (Egypt), Rashed Al Shaishai (Saudi Arabia), Sabine Marcelis (The Netherlands), Sam Shendi (Egypt and UK) and Stephan Breuer (France). Since 2021, Art D’Egypte by Culturvator has mounted its annual flagship exhibition of contemporary art with Forever is Now at the Pyramids of Giza. “It strives to create a dialogue between contemporary art and ancient heritage and the past and present,” says Ghaffar. Last year, it celebrated the success of Forever is Now 02, featuring 12 artists from around the world. Art D’Egypte was invited to participate in Abu Dhabi Art 2019 and ArtGeneve 2020.
Culturvator (2023) is a multi-disciplinary cultural consultancy that works with private and public entities to activate spaces for cultural promotion that works across creative disciplines spanning visual arts to film, heritage, design, fashion and music. Fostering and promoting new collaborations across the global creative industry is also at the core of its model, aiming to create new connections and immersive cultural experiences for a global audience. Founded by Ghaffar, the consultancy was born out of a need to extend the reach of Art D’Egypte to the world and bring all initiatives together under one umbrella. Following Forever Is Now 02 in 2022, Culturvator was selected as the leading consultant on-ground in Egypt for the DIOR Men’s Fall 23 runway show staged at The Pyramids of Giza in December, 2022. Nadine Abdel Ghaffar is a Cairo-based French-Egyptian art consultant and curator. She has curated five successful exhibitions so far, showcasing the works of over 50 Egyptian artists: Eternal Light at the Egyptian Museum (2017); Nothing Vanishes, Everything Transforms at the Manial Palace (2018); and Reimagined Narratives at four sites on Al-Mu’iz Street in Historic Cairo, a UNESCO World Heritage site (2019). She has also overseen two international editions of Forever Is Now at the Pyramids of Giza in 2021 and 2022. In 2021, Ghaffar was awarded the Chevalier de l’ordre des arts des lettres by the French government in recognition of her efforts to enrich the art world and was named one of Egypt’s Top 50 Women, an award given annually to honour female figures with a positive influence on society. She has also received a woman entrepreneur of the year award from EEA (Egypt’s Entrepreneur Awards).
Forever is Now is held under the patronage of UNESCO and the auspices of the Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. In 2022, it welcomed several prominent public figures, including Her Majesty Queen Mother Sofia of Spain; Michael Bloomberg, the United Nations Special Envoy for Climate Ambitions and Solutions and former Mayor of New York City; the Minister of Culture and Youth for the United Arab Emirates, Noura Al Kaabi; and many others equally distinguished. Art D’Egypte (founded 2016) was set up to support Egyptian arts and cultural initiatives. Since 2023, it is a project strand initiated and falling under the umbrella of Culturvator.
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