Yummy mummy and best friend to the stars of the art world, we get up close and probably way too personal with SafarKhan's Mona Saiid.
This week we caught up with the vivacious vixen behind SafarKhan – Mona Saiid has been working alongside her mother to introduce art to our our everyday lives. Having worked in fashion for many years before following in her mother’s footsteps and dedicating her efforts to curating the best Egypt has to offer, Mona has lent a much needed breath of fresh air into the industry. We sit down with the ravishing red-head to talk beauty and inspiration, while getting her to judge some of our own works of art…
How did SafarKhan come to life?
My mother first started it. She’s been in the business for 30 years – she presented one of the first Egyptian televisions shows about art in which she would spend days with artists (who were also her friends), bringing the life of each subject to the screen. She also has a pretty impressive collection of Egyptian and foreign art. It’s her passion and growing up, I was exposed to this other world and was surrounded by art. After working in fashion buying in the USA and Saudi Arabia, I came back to Egypt to get on board with my mother.
What type of art are you into?
Anything that inspires beauty. Anything that is beautiful is art.
Are we art?
*Laughs* If you put on your crazy animal shoes, maybe.
If you saw something beautiful but there’s feces around it, like many conceptual pieces (of shit) we’ve seen before, can it be beautiful?
You guys should understand that in the West anything can be called art. For example, I recently saw an artist who created a piece completely out of marijuana and called it art. You have to train your eye to know what really has integrity and what doesn’t.
Who’s your favorite artist?
You can’t ask me that, they’re so many.
Which artist are you inspired by?
So many. Sometimes I can be inspired by myself. But I get bored easily: I can love Arabic food but then I can feel like sushi. I like artists who really challenge me.
What’s the most expensive thing you’ve sold in in SafarKhan?
I can’t say that because market prices keeps changing.
Who are some local the artists we should look for?
Ahmed Assem is great artist, he’s great at combining concepts with visuals. Also, Marwan Adel, a photographer, is fantastic – he sets up a scene like a director and shoots them. And of course, Ganzeer is super talented, not only as a graffiti artist – he’s multi-faceted.
Since the 1800s and Salon de Refuse, there’s been a big paradigm shift from impressionism to expressionism,which begs the question: what is your favorite Pokémon?
I can’t remember their names! I work in art! Absurdumon?
That’s not a real Pokémon but well done for trying. Let’s do something more in your field then: Considering you’re the first curator to visit us, we’re going have a drawing competition.
I know you guys, there are going to be some nasty stuff! How about you all do a 10 minutes sketch?
10 minutes is way too long. We’re going to take one minute:
*Mona isn’t impressed but is amused nonetheless. Eventually, she picks Dalia’s as her favorite*
Well that didn’t go great. What does it take to be a great artist then?
Discipline and practice. Any budding artist also needs to expose themselves to the beauty and art that’s both here and abroad.
Finish this sentence: Real art is..
Lies about the truth.