A participatory public art project that explores how art, design, and visual culture impact communities in Cairo, Egypt.
UPDATE, March 30: We have reached our goal! Thank you so much to everyone who has shown such amazing support by generously donating to the project, and sharing our story with others, tweeting, and posting on facebook. We are so humbled by your belief in this project, and the power of public art. Thank you, thank you!
PUBLIC SPACE: CAIRO is a collaborative, workshop-based project that explores the possibilities for engaging with art and design in public spaces. In a moment when public space in Cairo is being radically reconsidered, we're excited to work with the workshop participants and members of their communities to explore their ideas of what impactful public art might look like in Cairo today.
Working with the renowned Townhouse Gallery in downtown Cairo, this project will center on a month-long intensive series of free workshops focused on process and skill-building. We will work with participants to create a creative PR campaign focused on public art and design, its importance for the community, and what kind of public art local residents would like to see happen. This process will include documenting artists and designers based in the city through photography, interviews, and stories; talking with community members about how art impacts them; creating posters, banners, and advertisements that portray and reflect what draws the community towards art, galleries, film, and art events; and working with community members to work through and complete these ideas. Technical workshops will be paired with critiques and discussion, with a focus on how art and design are effective in public spaces.
We are not interested in dictating what these outcomes or possibilities for public art are, but rather in sharing, learning, and creating ideas on how public art could be the most effective. The workshops will support young artists in their work, and provide a focused, critical space for dialogue on public art.
We'll be working specifically with Townhouse Gallery's outreach program, SAWA, which focuses on community building through free arts education initiatives targeted at Cairo’s refugee communities. SAWA participants come from 24 different countries, and are of all ages, economic backgrounds, and levels of artistic experience. SAWA's basic goals are to promote dialogue between diverse communities, to foster arts awareness, and to create opportunities for local artists to share their work with others. SAWA’s core mandate is to create a space for people to work cooperatively, and to encourage mutual understanding. The workshop space also creates opportunities for exchange with the rest of the city.
Why we need your help:
Right now we have enough funds to cover equipment (like video and digital cameras, audio recorders, computers and software), basic art materials, and workshop space. However, we still need help fundraising for editing, translation, three-dimensional modeling materials, documentation, and presentation. Any additional funds reached over our goal will be used for a catalog of the collaborative process, a short documentary video featuring participants and their work, and stipends to bring in artists, writers, and designers to participate in our process.
About Townhouse Gallery:
Townhouse was established in 1998 as the first independent art space in Egypt with a remit to make contemporary arts accessible to all without compromising creative practice. A non-profit platform for creative inquiry, Townhouse supports artistic work in a wide range of media through exhibitions, residencies for artists and curators, educational initiatives and outreach programs. By establishing strong local and international relationships, as well as diversifying both the practitioners and audiences of contemporary art, Townhouse aims to support and expand the knowledge, appreciation and practice of contemporary arts in Egypt and the region. Policy-making and programming – from day-to-day activities to far-ranging goals – are deeply informed by the gallery’s location in downtown Cairo’s bustling car mechanics’ district. Neighborhood workers and residents, artists and visitors all move within and throughout the gallery spaces and the lanes, blurring the line where Townhouse ends and the street begins.
If you have further questions, please let us know! We would be more than happy to talk with you.
Have a question? If the info above doesn't help, you can ask the project creator directly.