origami workshop and public display

Mahatat for Contemporary Art organized the Origami workshop in cooperation with The Research and Documentation Center of the Child’s literature in Manial and Kayan Foundation for Arts, in the eighbourhood of Manial starting 17 September until 21 September.

The workshop aimed at providing children between the age of 10-15 the art of paper folding in addition the art of storytelling.  At the end of the workshop, the products were displayed in the public spaces in the Manial neighbourhood in a way that allows the participation of children within the community. We decorated on the trees and on the walls of the center.

communal mosaic

As part of the “Farah el-Bahr” festival organized by the Anna Lindh Foundation, a huge mosaic was collectively created outside the Citadel of Qaitbay in Alexandria. Around 500 people took part in the five coloring stations set up by Mahatat team in different neighborhoods in Alexandria, including in front of the Bibliotheca Alexandrina, the tram stations Boukly and Mahatat Masr, and Midan Mansheya.

Two artists, Sarah Hany and Dahlia Refaat, actively participated in the project, which encouraged dialogue and collective work between passersby and the artists involved.

Passersby were invited to color on cardboard and the pieces were assembled to create a mosaic imagining “the other side of the sea”. The mosaic was used to promote the festival, which was attended by around 2000 people.

Partners:

Sarah Hany, Dahlia Refaat

Partners:

Anna Lindh Foundation , Goethe Institute in Alexandria

city shadows

City Shadows: a toolkit on how to transform abandoned spaces through the arts


Villa Fernand on Abdel Salam Aref street stands amongst Port Said’s neglected cultural heritage. The building behind Villa Fernand was a colorful old building that is now in the process of demolition. An open and empty space behind these two structures stood idle and unused with the exception of hosting trash. This was the space chosen for the City Shadows event, part of a creative action research with the European Cultural Foundation (ECF) to explore the ways abandoned spaces in cities can be revived through art. In a short time-frame, this discreetly hidden space in Port Said was cleaned-up, revamped and transformed. The exhibition revolved around Port Said’s popular culture and how the citizens are entangled in their city’s heritage and history. With the support of Artistic Consultant Rana El Nemr, curator and visual artist Nadia Mounier brought the space back to life through old and new photos, video installations and collectibles from Port Said. Audiences were invited in and free to move around as they wish, slowly discovering items such as the paper crafts by artist Nervan Talha. Curators and musicians Nancy Mounir and Omar Mostafa flooded the space with experimental music tracks that faintly spread to the neighbouring streets. For many of the over 300 Port Said residents that attended, it was their first time to hear that Villa Fernand even existed. As a lead up to the event, the group from Port Said Ala Adeemo designed walking and bike tours around the city to take people around significant cultural and historical places including those that have been abandoned.

This event was developed to support in the creation of a Do-it-Yourself toolkit on how to revive abandoned spaces and redirect their use towards artistic learning and expression, developed by Shaimaa Atef. The research has been supported by the European Cultural Foundation and was initiated during the 2015 Idea Camp. The event is developed in partnership with the Drosos Foundation under the umbrella of the Access to Arts/Shababeek program with Mahatat for contemporary art.

Check out the toolkit here: https://issuu.com/mahatat/docs/toolkit_en._final_issuu

Artists

Rana El Nemr (Artistic Consultant), Nadia Mounir (Visual Artist & Curator), Nancy Mounir (Musician), Omar Moustafa (Musician), Nirvan Taha (Origami artist)

Project Partners

Drosos FoundationEuropean Cultural Foundation (ECF)

circ’us

Social circus is an innovative artistic intervention based on the circus arts. It is considered an effective catalyst for creating social change as it helps marginalized individuals assume their place within a community and enrich that community with their talents.

Based on this motivation, the Circ’Us project was born. Mahatat (Egypt) and the Drosos Foundation joined the French Institute in Egypt, Goethe Institute in Cairo and Robert Bosch Foundation and Vuesch Association (Germany) and Nomadways (France) to organize a circus residency and street art tour in the Nile Delta Region in Egypt. From 27 September to 19 October, Circ’Us brought together 20 French, German and Egyptian circus and street artists, specialized in social circus, street theatre, acrobat, or physical theatre to develop workshops and performances across 10 cities in Egypt.

The Circ’Us project mobilizes a large network of Egyptian governmental and civil society organizations, the project is implemented in partnership with: Alliance Francaise du Port Said, Public Library of Port Said, Damanhour Public Library , Eish lel Nas associations, Rabi3 and i-Act (International Association for Creation & Training) in addition to Darb Al-Ahmar Arts School and the El-Genaina theater.

The 10-day residency based in Port Said allowed the participants to develop and implement a show together for the tour. The training component offered introductory workshops in circus arts to the children and youth of Port Said and training sessions for youth circus artists in all tour locations with 440 participants – mostly youth.
The tour took place with a total audience of 6160 people, Port Said, Damietta, Farascour, Mansoura, Kafr Bhot, Abo Mangoug, Damanhour, Alexandria and Cairo.

Artists

A group of 20 Artists (5 French – 5 german – 10 egyptian) led by the Artistic Direction of Nomadways

Project Partners

Drosos FoundationInstitute Francais d’Egypt, Goethe Institute in Cairo, Robert Bosch FoundationNomadways and VUESCH

dance in transit

“What better than our own streets and alleys to sense and get a feel of where we’re at. Behaviour, commentary, attitude and the resulting dynamics, are nothing but a reflection on the current state of affairs we’ve reached, where and how we relate to each other or not, says it all. Bringing people together and have them play ball, can be very revealing…”, says Artistic Director and Choreographer Karima Mansour regarding the motivation behind the ‘Dance in Transit’ performance.

Mahatat for contemporary art approached Mansour and her students at the Cairo Contemporary Dance Center (CCDC) to create a dance performance specifically to tour the streets of Egypt. The result is a charged, magnetic and expressive display choreographed by Karima Mansour in collaboration with dancers and performers Nermine Habib, Ibrahim Abdou and Shady Abdel Rahman. The performance cleverly touches upon issues of public space, the intrusiveness of society, and sexual harassment through movement, music and speech in the current vernacular. Feedback from audiences following the tour, estimated at over 2000 people across four Delta cities, reflects that this performance mirrors the country’s day-to-day realities and invites viewers to question their own forms of behavior.

Artists

Cairo Contemporary Dance Center (CCDC), Karima Mansour (Artistic Director & Choreographer), Nermine Habib (Contemporary Dancer), Ibrahim Abdou (Contemporary Dancer), Shady Abdel Rahman (Contemporary Dancer)

Project Partners

Drosos Foundation, British Council in Egypt

marching band and street puppets

As part of our mission to decentralize the arts, we took performances to the cities of Cairo, Damietta, Mansoura,and Port Said – across the Delta region, for the first time. Together with the cheerful and engaging Abou Kareem Marching Band (Oscarisma Studio), and the magnificent giant El Kosha Puppets, we wandered and performed throughout various neighborhoods in each city. This performances brough smiles to passersby and demonstrated the beauty of art in the streets. When they reached their final destinations, they performed for large audiences of nearly 2915 people across six locations.

Artists

Abou Kareem Marching Band (Oscarisma Studio): Ahmed Nagdy (Oscar), Ashraf Ousha, Mohamed Bondok, Shady Maher, Ossamo Ousso, Islam Magdy (Simba), Helal Al Hakemy
.
El Kosha Puppets: Nasseif Azmy, Yousif Bagato, Mahmoud Nabih, Islam El-Sharqawy, Hani Homos

Project Partners

Drosos Foundation

opera on balconies

On a gentle winter night in the city of Mansoura in Egypt, bystanders suddenly stopped in their tracks and looked up. To their surprise, the view was of an opera singer magically emerging from the second floor of the abandoned palace “Al Ahmar”, transformed into a fairy tale-like estate. The appearance of the singer was part of a site specific performance organized by Mahatat for contemporary art in collaboration with Teatro for Independent Theater to spread classical music and opera singing across Egypt.

The appearance of the singer was part of a site specific performance organized by Mahatat for contemporary art in collaboration with Teatro for Independent Theater to spread classical music and opera singing across Egypt. The Opera on Balconies performance toured four cities in the Delta region, making its way to the capital Cairo. Eager to prepare the show, theatre director Omar El Motaz and the Mahatat team toured the northern part of Egypt in search of the perfect balcony to host it. The result was one of Mahatat’s most unique and powerful productions to date – classical music and opera from the unique position of balconies to over 1700 people. Passersby heard the music ranging from tunes of lovable shows to classical sounds, providing a pleasant distraction from everyday routines. The engaged response also proves that this type of music should not be limited to the confines of exclusive theatre halls and ticketed events.

Artists

Teatro Independent Theatre– Omar El mo’taz bellah

Project Partners

Drosos Foundation

scheherazade outside halls

During this tour, Mahatat recalled the recent memory of the Opera on Balconies performances – but this time with a different type of music.  The Awtar Quartet band was transported from the confines of opera halls to the streets of Damietta and Mansoura. Similar to Opera on Balconies, the idea was to take this type of art to a platform not customary and traditional to it. Traveling across the Delta, 4 artists with their 3 violins and a cello managed to play classical music to around 700 passersby in the street. The crowds reacted happily and were responsive to the traditional street music – which usually means no microphones or speakers. As the title suggests, ‘scheherazade’ classical music was performed and meant to offer a moment for people to forget their day-to-day worries, and instead, enjoy a fun and intimate moment with the musicians and their neighbours.

Artists

Awtar Quartet: Essam Abd Al-Hameed, Khaled Saleh, Mohammed Abd Al-Fattah, Yasser Ghonem

Project Partners

Drosos Foundation

coloring stations

In 2012, together with artists Mahatat implemented the participatory public art ‘Communal Mosaic’ as part of the ‘Farah al Bahr’ festival organized by the Anna Lindh Foundation to celebrate cultural diversity. Based on the success of this program, Mahatat again approached Alexandrian artist Dahlia Refaat to bring the mosaic to the neighborhood of El Manial in Cairo. This program was the third collaboration between Mahatat and the governmental entity the Research and Documentation Center for Children’s Literature (RDCCL).

Through the artistic direction of Refaat, tables were set up in different areas of El Manial over the course of four days. The tables were designed to be pop-up and temporal stations with tubes of different coloured paint, paintbrushes and coloured papers for passersby to transit through. The 330 participants, composed of mostly children, were asked to focus on colouring and not drawing – creating a more inclusive activity. The coloured cards were then joined together to create a large Mosaic to be left as a street installation.

Trainers

Dahlia Refaat

Project Partners

Drosos Foundation

street storytelling workshop

Mahatat offered a storytelling workshops for 9 women and a man, a man that wanted to tell the world the story of his moustache. The workshop concluded with a chain of storytelling performances in Port Said’s streets. Led by El Warsha Theater Troupe members, the Director Shady Atef and writer Ahmed Shoukry worked on improving the participant’s storytelling performance through technical skills development in different disciplines. By the end of the workshop, artists became able to collectively find new ways to communicate with the public and create a different reality through their storytelling performance. As a whole, this experience engaged over 260 passersby from Port Said with the artists as storytelling requires a live audience – unlike written stories, which are read far from the writer.

Trainers

Shady Atef, Ahmad Shoukry

Project Partners

Drosos Foundation

puppet making workshop

This particular puppet workshop was designed for public school teachers at the Research and Documentation Center for Children’s Literature in El Manial, Cairo. 18 female Kindergarten teachers from 18 different public schools were led through this training of trainers by El Kosha Puppet Troupe, led by Nassif Azmy. The main pedagogic content of the training involved the creation of hand-made puppets and how to present them. To conclude the four-day workshop, the puppets were displayed at the centre and El Kosha entertained 50 participants with a public puppet show.

Trainers

El Kosha Troupe (Nassif Azmy)

Project Partners

Drosos Foundation

improvisation theatre workshop

The Improvisation Theatre Workshop took place at the Faraskour Cultural Palace. The sessions were held over 10 consecutive days for emerging actors and dramaturges. Participants learned the basics of improvisation, innovation, interaction, developing their imagination, strengthening realism in their performances and spontaneity. A presentation was performed at the Faraskour Cultural Palace before an audience and critics from the city.

Trainers

Laila Soliman, Sherine Hegazy

Project Partners

Drosos Foundation

people & heritage

Much like private and public spaces, urban myth and urban reality often converge. Abu El Hassan street is one of the oldest in Port Said, and on the 13th of October its residents kindly allowed us to perform from their balconies and streets. The performance begins at a home in the Arab quarters, where the dream-like lighting and moving shadows give us a sneak peak into the intimacy of family homes. A man appears out of the curtains and tells us he has just woken up from a dream – and is not sure whether he is still in one. His stories are amplified by the woman playing violin from the opposite building, as he explains that he sees demolished buildings, surprised to later discover that this is Port Said. We are then guided through the people that he met on his way – characters familiar to Port Said’s history but only recorded through oral narrative. Soon afterwards, baskets fall from the building, as a large part of Egyptian and particularly Port Saidi culture it is as a tool to send and receive different things into the home without having to leave or enter. The audiences are then presented with these baskets filled with photos and hangers. An immediate link is made between the rope surrounding the building and the photos that are to be hung. These photos have been gathered from the cities past and present, allowing for a temporary gallery before they are offered to the audience to take home. As part of the People and Heritage event taking place around Egypt, Port Said ala Adeemo and Mahatat joined together to present this theme in public space to over 250 people in the street.

Artists

Amira Adel (Violin), Mahmoud Eissa (Writer/storyteller), Mohamed Kamal Mohamed (Photographer/archivist), Mayar El-Tuhamy (Poet), Muayad Mahmoud (Guitarist), Mohamed Adly (Electric Guitarist), Ali Elbahrawy (Violinist), Farida Hammad (Artistic Director)

Project Partners

Port Said Ala Adeemo

disrupt for performing arts

Disrupt for Performing Arts was a three-day ideathon in Cairo between April 8 – 10 designed by by Hivos International, Mideast Creatives, Dutch Culture and organised by Mahatat for contemporary art. The workshop and competition for young enthusiastic thinkers and performing artists aim to support innovative ideas and entrepreneurs in the field of performing arts towards financial and managerial self-sustainability. Over 12 troupes from all over Egypt, from Cairo, Alexandria, Menia, Aswan, Mallawy, Menya Damanhour and Sohag, were invited to develop their creative ideas to a business model. Throughout the training, they were given access to feedback and training from key facilitators, mentors and judges.

During the closing ceremony, the participants pitched their ideas in front of three Jury members, experts in the field: Karima Mansour, Choreographer and Managing Director of the Cairo Contemporary Dance Center (CCDC), Cathy Costain the Head of Programmes for Arts at the British Council in Cairo and Mohamed Hassanien Theater Director and Founder of Kayan for Cultural development. At the end of the event, three projects have would leave with prizes, at first place was the Robabikia theater group, that have been producing theatrical performances and short movies. In second place was Grounded, an organization based in Cairo using dance and art for therapy around Egypt. In third place was the Oscarisma Troupe, founded in 2009 it is a marching band from Cairo that deliver performances for the public and commercially. This event was hosted at Designopia, a co-working space in Cairo with the final event at the Swiss Club.

Project Partners

Hivos International, Mideast Creatives, DutchCulture

the play cave

An 11-day workshop was implemented with the children from Ezbet Khairallah, led by three artists working with up-cycling material. An art installation in public space with several up-cycled functional products, which was installed and later put on display in a public area in the neighbourhood. During the preparation phase, 15 young volunteers aged between 19-25 were chosen by the NGOs to receive an orientation session from Mahatat on cultural management, up-cycling, community art and art in public space so that they can continue long after the project ends. The workshops final products were an art installation, four benches, garbage bins, cartoon figures and an iron & wooden men all made from the upcycled material available in the neighborhood.

Artists

  • Hatem Mousa
  • Amir Abdelghany
  • Mohamed Hassan Darwish
  • Videographer: Omar Manjouneh.

Partners

tales’ nights

A 5-day tour as a part of our Art of Transit project which features tours by performing artists and musicians through different decentralized cities in Egypt. The tour of a storytelling performance of the “Kalila & Dimna” stories, was accompanied by music and light design in the form of a contemporary performance during 10-15 June in Ramadan of 2017
“Kalila & Dimna” as a cultural heritage is one of the most ancient and important books in the Arabic literature. It is called Kalila and Dimna, after the two jackals who are the main characters. The book was written mainly for the instruction of civil citizens through simple and meaningful fairytale situations.

Artists

  • Writer: Hussam Hilali.
  • Preparation & Storytellers: Ahmed Shokry – Naglaa Younes
  • Violin: Naglaa Younes
  • Light design: Omar Madkour

Partners

Culture Entrepreneurship Program

With the support of the (EU Commission) in Egypt and in cooperation between (Goethe-Institut in Cairo), (Robert Bosch Stiftung) for Cultural Exchange and (Mahatat for contemporary art), this project aims to develop and realize innovative concepts of self-sustained cultural entrepreneurship in Egypt’s regions towards technical and financial independence.

The two-year project (January 2015- December 2016) targetted 12 cultural enterprises in cities across 10 Egyptian governorates (except Cairo, Giza and Alexandria). The aim has been to develop innovative and independent cultural enterprises that target community and market needs with income generating cultural interventions. The targeted entrepreneurs are hoped to be cultural change agents in their communities and resourceful visionaries that have innovative interventions through economically sustainable cultural enterprises. To conclude the program, a two-day forum was organized in Cairo to engage discussions on entrepreneurship, access, growth and collaboration in the arts and culture field in Egypt. This is where Egyptian artists , cultural entrepreneurs and organizations inside and outside Cairo met key representatives in the worlds of business, technology and academia.

Check out the Facebook page here: https://www.facebook.com/CulturalEntrepreneurshipinEgypt/

Project Partners

EU CommisionGoethe-Institut in Cairo, Robert Bosch Stiftung

City Shadows

City Shadows: a toolkit on how to transform abandoned spaces through the arts


Villa Fernand on Abdel Salam Aref street stands amongst Port Said’s neglected cultural heritage. The building behind Villa Fernand was a colorful old building that is now in the process of demolition. An open and empty space behind these two structures stood idle and unused with the exception of hosting trash. This was the space chosen for the City Shadows event, part of a creative action research with the European Cultural Foundation (ECF) to explore the ways abandoned spaces in cities can be revived through art. In a short time-frame, this discreetly hidden space in Port Said was cleaned-up, revamped and transformed. The exhibition revolved around Port Said’s popular culture and how the citizens are entangled in their city’s heritage and history. With the support of Artistic Consultant Rana El Nemr, curator and visual artist Nadia Mounier brought the space back to life through old and new photos, video installations and collectibles from Port Said. Audiences were invited in and free to move around as they wish, slowly discovering items such as the paper crafts by artist Nervan Talha. Curators and musicians Nancy Mounir and Omar Mostafa flooded the space with experimental music tracks that faintly spread to the neighbouring streets. For many of the over 300 Port Said residents that attended, it was their first time to hear that Villa Fernand even existed. As a lead up to the event, the group from Port Said Ala Adeemo designed walking and bike tours around the city to take people around significant cultural and historical places including those that have been abandoned.

This event was developed to support in the creation of a Do-it-Yourself toolkit on how to revive abandoned spaces and redirect their use towards artistic learning and expression, developed by Shaimaa Atef. The research has been supported by the European Cultural Foundation and was initiated during the 2015 Idea Camp. The event is developed in partnership with the Drosos Foundation under the umbrella of the Access to Arts/Shababeek program with Mahatat for contemporary art.

Check out the toolkit here: https://issuu.com/mahatat/docs/toolkit_en._final_issuu

Artists

Rana El Nemr (Artistic Consultant), Nadia Mounir (Visual Artist & Curator), Nancy Mounir (Musician), Omar Moustafa (Musician), Nirvan Taha (Origami artist)

Project Partners

Drosos FoundationEuropean Cultural Foundation (ECF)

El-Ezba Theatre

Masrah El Ezba (El-Ezba Theatre) is an art, architecture and performance-based project that incorporates the skills and materials of the craftsmanships-rich community of Ezbet Khairallah. The resulting artwork gives off an iconic presence but also catalyzes neighborhood-bound performance and entertainment activities in an intimate open-air theatre setting of 40-50 audience capacity.

Located on top of one of Cairo’s very few hills, the informal neighborhood of Ezbet Khairallah is structurally and topographically unique. The densely entangled community envelops its bustled activities tightly. The spot chosen for the project, on the edge of the hill, is one that exposes rather than conceals. The 95 m2 arena with a stage establishes a strong visual connection with a non-linear skyline, looking into Cairo’s North and West directions. It overlooks high-rise buildings at various distances and segments of The Ring Road, which connects the capitals’ widespread zones to each other, and to the new extended settlements of the big Megalopolis.

Artists

  • Artist: Huda Lutfi
  • Theatre Director: Omar El-moataz bel’lah
  • Artist: Rana ElNemr
  • Architect: Samir El Kordy

Partners

Co-writing lab: Tales of Art and Public Space in the Arab World

The Co-writing lab is a online space to document shared experiences, ideas and methods.

The lab developed based on a philosophy that learning and knowledge sharing offers possibility and collaboration networks. When it comes to the community art and art in public space scene in the Arab world, there are various stakeholders with vast knowledge, but little documentation with the intent to share knowledge among and beyond the community of practitioners.

There are various experts in the field of community theater, art in public space, street-art, and others. Their knowledge, however, often remains tacit and is most often transmitted in limited circles and not made explicit. Simultaneously, there are many activities regarding art in public space and community art happening all over the MENA region, but the documentation of these experiences are often neglected and are inaccessible to the community of art practitioners and workers in civil society. As a result, contemporary art in public space and community art in the Arab region lacks documentation, theorization and documented tools.

This event is a three-day co-writing lab focusing on “Tales of Art and Public Space in the Arab World” between 1st of April and 3rd of April 2017 in Cairo, Egypt. Over 50 professional artists and art practitioners from all over the Arab world working in the fields of community-based and public art will come together to share, reflect on and document their practice.

The combined content will be documented through an open-source and online publication in Arabic, English, and French. They will be a compilation of different presentations, discussions, and sessions that have occurred in the course of the lab by the various participants.

Project Funding Partners

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