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. A Zeitouna publication.
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.
An Artist in Abydos is the first book to recognize Myrtle Broome’s great contribution to the work done during this golden age of excavation in Upper Egypt. In this remarkable account, Lee Young tells the story of Broome, who died in 1978, largely through her letters. An only child and a prolific writer, Broome wanted her parents to know every facet of her life in Egypt. Her frequent letters to them vividly capture life in the villages, the traditions of the local people, the work of artisans, such as weaving and pot-making, and festivals, ceremonies, and music. In fascinating detail, the letters also depict Broome’s living conditions providing us with a personal account of what it was like to be an English, working woman living abroad in Egypt in the 1930s.
Myrtle Florence Broome was born in 1888 to artistically inclined middle-class parents in the district of Holborn in London. Between 1911 and 1913, she studied at University College London under the legendary Sir William Petrie. In 1927 she was invited to join the excavations at Qau el-Kebir as an artist for the British School of Archaeology in Egypt, later traveling, in 1929, to work at the now famous Seti Temple in Abydos for the Egypt Exploration Society. Broome spent eight seasons there, copying the painted scenes in the Temple. Regarded then as one of the greatest copyists working in Egypt, she left invaluable renditions of some of ancient Egypt’s most beautiful monuments. An Artist in Abydos is an important book celebrating the contributions of an under-recognized woman artist during the golden age of excavation in Egypt.
While many of the Arab documentary films that emerged after the digital turn in the 1990s have been the subject of close scholarly and media attention, far less well studied is the immense wealth of Arab documentaries produced during the celluloid era. These ranged from newsreels to information, propaganda, and educational films, travelogues, as well as more radical, artistic formats, such as direct cinema and film essays. This collected volume sets out to examine the long history of Arab nonfiction filmmaking in the Middle East and North Africa across a range of national trajectories and documentary styles, from the early twentieth century to the present.
Documentary Filmmaking in the Middle East and North Africa traces the historical development of documentary filmmaking with an eye to the widely varied socio-political, ethnic, linguistic, and cultural contexts in which the films emerged. Thematically, the contributions provide insights into a whole range of relevant issues, both theoretical and historical, such as structural development and state intervention, formats and aesthetics, new media, politics of representation, auteurs, subjectivity, minority filmmaking, ‘Artivism,’ and revolution.
Ali Abudlameer, Hend Alawadhi, Jamal Bahmad, Ahmed Bedjaoui, Dore Bowen, Shohini Chaudhuri, Donatella della Ratta, Yasmin Desouki, Kay Dickinson, Ali Essafi, Nouri Gana, Mohannad Ghawanmeh, Olivier Hadouchi, Ahmad Izzo, Alisa Lebow, Peter Limbrick, Florence Martin, Irit Neidhardt, Stefan Pethke, Mathilde Rouxel, Viviane Saglier, Viola Shafik, Ella Shohat, Mohamad Soueid, Hanan Toukan, Oraib Toukan, Stefanie van der Peer, Nadia Yaqub, Alia Yunis, Hady Zaccak.
A unique, richly illustrated study of Ottoman religious buildings standing today in Cairo
With the conquest in 1517 CE of Egypt by the Ottomans, Cairo lost its position as the capital of the Islamic empire to Istanbul but it retained an eminent position as the second most important city, with Egypt still regarded as one of the wealthiest provinces of the new empire. Round minarets with pointed hoods, as symbols of the new rulers, began filling the landscape alongside the octagonal minarets with pavilion tops of the Mamluks, new mosques, zawiyas, and madrasas/takiyas were built to emphasize the continuation of Sunni Islamic rule, while the use of tiles imported from Turkey introduced new decorative styles to the city’s existing rich carvings and marble paneling.
This book invites readers and students to revisit a long-overlooked era of Cairo’s architectural evolution, offering a unique, comprehensive study of Ottoman religious buildings still standing today. It provides detailed descriptions and walk-throughs of the buildings covered, visually, through its rich collection of plans, line drawings, and photographs, and through the narrative that infuses each image with life, shedding light on the continuous evolution of architecture in Cairo even after the city had ceased to be the capital of the Islamic empire.
A beautifully illustrated study of mosaic art in Greco-Roman Egypt
The art of the mosaic was developed by the Greeks, notably within the royal court of Macedonia, and was initially unknown to the Egyptians. Macedonian mosaicists then established busy workshops in the capital, Alexandria, and in the new towns of Greek Egypt. Under the stimulus of commissions from the Ptolemaic court, these workshops soon showed that they were capable of innovation. Beginning with pebbles, they then used tesserae of different sizes, and adopted new materials (glass, faience, paint) in order to transpose onto the floor images from grand paintings, which was the major art form of the time and was characterized by the vivid use of color.
Alexandrian mosaicists were at the forefront of creativity during the Hellenistic period and their influence spread around the Mediterranean. After the Roman conquest of Egypt they adapted to the tastes of their new sponsors and to changes in architecture and were able to retain an important place within this art as it developed across the entire empire, in Rome and from east to west.
The Mosaics of Alexandria provides the first overview of the mosaics and pavements of Egypt that were created between the end of the fourth century BC and the sixth century AD. It presents a selection of some seventy mosaics and pavements from Alexandria and Greco-Roman Egypt. Generally little known and more often than not unpublished, these works are illustrated here in full color, some for the first time. The aim is to better understand the artistic and artisanal production of a type of decoration that played an important role within the living environment of the ancients.
Lavishly illustrated with over over 250 full-color photographs of unique designs and rare methods, providing an in-depth look at the pottery produced in the Fayoum
The Fayoum, a broad, fertile depression in Egypt’s Western Desert, known for its great salt lake, its rich green fields, and its unique pharaonic and Greco-Roman remains, is also home to three very different centers of pottery production. The potters of Kom Oshim specialize in decorated garden pots and other utilitarian ware, and guard the special secret of how to make the largest clay vessels in Egypt, up to an extraordinary two and a half meters tall. At al-Nazla, ancient traditions are kept alive, as members of a single extended family continue to use millennia-old techniques passed down from generation to generation, hand-forming among other things their distinctive spherical water jars with amazing dexterity and speed. In the small village of Tunis, the establishment of a pottery school by a Swiss couple in 1990 led to a complete transformation, and the village now hosts more than twenty-five pottery workshops and showrooms, whose products are sold in Cairo, London, and New York.
In this lively insight into a varied and vital craft, the author reveals the stories of the three villages and the skilled potters who make their living there, looking at how they learned their trade and how they work, from the preparation of the clay to the formation of the pots on the wheel or by hand, to the decoration, the glazing, and the firing, and finally to the display or distribution and sale of the finished product.
For past and future travelers to Egypt, lovers of the craft of pottery, practitioners, and collectors, this beautifully illustrated exploration of the ceramics of the Fayoum will inspire and enchant.
A history of urban modernity in Cairo through cinema
The relationship between the city and cinema is formidable. The images and sounds of the city found in movies are perhaps the only experience that many people will have of cities they may never visit. Films influence the way we construct images of the world, and accordingly, in many instances, how we operate within it. Cinematic Cairo: Egyptian Urban Modernity from Reel to Real offers a history of Cairo’s urban modernity using film as the primary source of exploration, and cinematic space as both an analytical tool and a medium of critique. Cairo has provided rich subject material for Egypt’s film industry since the inception of the art form at the end of the nineteenth century. The “reel” city—imagined, perceived, and experienced—provides the spatial domain that mirrors change and allows for an interrogation of the “real” city as it encountered modernity over the course of a century.
Bringing together chapters by architects and art and literary historians, this volume explores this parallel and convergent relationship through two sections. The first uses films from the 1930s to the end of the twentieth century to illustrate the development of a modern Cairo and its modern subjects. The second section is focused on tracing the transformation of the cinematic city under conditions of neoliberalism, religious fundamentalism, and gender tensions. The result is a comprehensive narrative of the urban modernity of one of the most important cities in the Arab world and Global South.
Contributors: Ahmed H. AbdelAzim, University of Wisconsin-Madison, USA
Khaled Adham, Leibniz-Zentrum Moderner Orient, Berlin, Germany
Kinda AlSamara, Deakin University, Melbourne, Australia
Nezar AlSayyad, University of California, Berkeley, USA
Doaa Al Amir, October 6th University, Cairo, Egypt
Farah Gendy, Raef Fahmi Architects, Cairo, Egypt
Hala A. Hassanien, Architect, Wasl, Cairo, Egypt
Tayseer Khairy, Arab Academy for Science Technology & Maritime Transport, Cairo, Egypt
Mariam Marei, The American University in Cairo, Cairo, Egypt
Ameer Saad, Architect, Dar Al-Handasa, Cairo, Egypt
Heba Safey Eldeen, Misr International University, Cairo, Egypt
Mohammad Salama, San Francisco State University, San Francisco, USA
Nour Sobhi, Misr International University, Cairo, Egypt
Sherin Soliman, Misr International University, Cairo, Egypt
Mirette Aziz, Misr International University, Egypt
A stunning photographic compilation of Egypt’s abandoned palaces and grand buildings
Between 1860 and 1940, Cairo and other large cities in Egypt witnessed a major construction boom that gave birth to extraordinary palaces and lavish buildings. These incorporated a mix of architectural styles, such as Beaux-Arts and Art Deco, with local design influences and materials. Today, many lie empty and neglected, rapidly succumbing to time, a real-estate frenzy, and an ongoing population crisis.
In 2006 Russian-born photographer Xenia Nikolskaya began the process of documenting these structures. She gained exceptional access to them, taking photographs at some thirty locations, including Cairo, Alexandria, Luxor, Minya, Esna, and Port Said. These photographs were documented in the first edition of Dust: Egypt’s Forgotten Architecture, which soon after its release in 2012 became a rare collector’s item.
This revised and expanded edition includes photographs from the first edition together with extra unseen images and new photographs taken by Nikolskaya between 2013 and 2021. It also includes previously unpublished essays by Heba Farid, co-owner of the Cairo-based photo gallery Tintera, and architect and urban planner Omar Nagati, co-founder of CLUSTER, an urban design and research platform also in Cairo.
Dust: Egypt’s Forgotten Architecture leads us seductively into some of the most breathtaking architectural spaces of Egypt’s recent past, filled with a sense of both the immense weight and impermanence of history.