In the crowded center of Historic Cairo lies a covered market lined with wonderful textiles sewn by hand in brilliant colors and intricate patterns. This is the Street of the Tentmakers, the home of the Egyptian appliqué art known as khayamiya. The Tentmakers of Cairo brings together the stories of the tentmakers and their extraordinary tents—from the huge tent pavilions, or suradeq, of the streets of Egypt, to the souvenirs of the First World War and textile artworks celebrated by quilters around the world. It traces the origins and aesthetics of the khayamiya textiles that enlivened the ceremonial tents of the Fatimid, Mamluk, and Ottoman dynasties, exploring the ways in which they challenged conventions under new patrons and technologies, inspired the paper cut-outs of Henri Matisse, and continue to preserve a legacy of skilled handcraft in an age of relentless mass production. Drawing on historical literature, interviews with tentmakers, and analysis of khayamiya from around the world, the authors reveal the stories of this unique and spectacular Egyptian textile art.
Art in Egypt between the Islamic and the Contemporary
Alex Dika Seggerman
Analyzing the modernist art movement that arose in Cairo and Alexandria from the late nineteenth century through the 1960s, Alex Dika Seggerman reveals how the visual arts were part of a multifaceted transnational modernism. While the work of diverse, major Egyptian artists during this era may have appeared to be secular, she argues, it reflected the subtle but essential inflection of Islam, as a faith, history, and lived experience, in the overarching development of Middle Eastern modernity.
Challenging typical views of modernism in art history as solely Euro-American, and expanding the conventional periodization of Islamic art history, Seggerman theorizes a “constellational modernism” for the emerging field of global modernism. Rather than seeing modernism in a generalized, hyperconnected network, she finds that art and artists circulated in distinct constellations that encompassed finite local and transnational relations. Such constellations, which could engage visual systems both along and beyond the Nile, from Los Angeles to Delhi, were materialized in visual culture that ranged from oil paintings and sculpture to photography and prints. Based on extensive research in Egypt, Europe, and the United States, this richly illustrated book poses a compelling argument for the importance of Muslim networks to global modernism.
Egyptian lobby cards combined a film’s poster art, still photographs from the set, and a credit list that usually included the production company, cast and crew, director, screenwriter, and music composer—excellent tools for the study of the history of cinema and highly desirable collectors’ items.
Pierre Sioufi (1961–2018), iconic collector, artist, and revolutionary godfather to young activists who led the 2011 Egyptian uprising, amassed a vast quantity of cinema ephemera over the course of his lifetime. Dream Factory on the Nile presents a glimpse of his extensive collection of Egyptian film lobby cards spanning the growth, glory years, and decline of Egyptian cinema between the 1930s and 1990s.
Includes a concise introduction by Rasha Azab to the history of Egyptian film production from its birth in Alexandria at the turn of the twentieth century to the late 1990s.
Conchita Añorve-Tschirgi Ehsan Abushadi Photography byNour El Refai
The pioneering Egyptian architect and teacher Ramses Wissa Wassef (1911–74) is best known for his founding in 1951 of the Ramses Wissa Wassef Art Center in Harraniya, a small village near the Giza Pyramids in Greater Cairo. The center, internationally acclaimed for its tapestries and sculptures, began partly as an art school for young villagers, reflecting Wissa Wassef’s aim of reviving traditional Egyptian architecture and crafts, and his belief in the innate creative power and potential of children.
Less well known are Wissa Wassef’s prolific architectural output and his efforts and influence beyond the confines of the Harraniya center to promote artistic expression among Egyptian youth. This generously illustrated volume is the first comprehensive survey of Wissa Wassef’s architectural works, both extant and non-extant, shedding light on his legacy and significant engagement with vernacular and contemporary Egyptian architecture. Wissa Wassef renounced self-promotion and monetary reward in his work, placing human physical and psychological well-being at the center of his architectural philosophy. An astute observer and modest personality, he saw himself as part of the people and began experimenting with participatory design and people-centered architecture before they became popular.
The Architecture of Ramses Wissa Wassef reveals Wissa Wassef’s profuse architectural oeuvre, which spanned private villas and rural houses, as well as public buildings, such as churches, schools, and museums, highlighting his rich contribution to Egypt’s architectural heritage at a moment when that heritage is at risk of being lost.