The Zamalek art gallery is hosting an ongoing exhibition to celebrate the Ramses Wissa Wassef Art Center in Harraniya, Giza, by showcasing the tapestries made by its talented students.
Pure creativity was the ultimate target for Ramses Wissa Wassef, the pioneering midcentury Egyptian architect, when he founded his art centre in Harraniya, Giza in 1952. From there he helped young villagers learn how to express their imagination through intricate tapestries. Now, 46 tapestries from the art centre’s collection will be hosted at Ubuntu Art Gallery in Zamalek in an exhibition titled ‘Ramses Wissa Wassef – The School of Intrinsic Creativity’, showcasing the accomplishments of the Ramses Wissa Wassef Art Center’s students until June 21st.
Containing works spanning as far back as 1955, the exhibition will demonstrate how these weaves developed throughout the school’s 70 year journey. Wissa Wassef began working with children with the conviction that they were free spirited and more in touch with their imagination, envisioning a school that would develop these qualities and help build their confidence, skills and self-satisfaction.
That said, like every school, this one had rules. There was no criticism. At all. Children were never shown any drawings to be copied, and no other form of art was ever discussed. In wanting to prove that artistic creativity is innate in everyone, Wissa Wassef ensured that the young artists never sketched or created any drafts. (And honestly, can you imagine working without drafts? Such discipline!)
You weave whatever vision you get, and through the process, you get to explore your own imagination by seeing it come to life. In a way, these tapestries on display in Zamalek are unfiltered portals into the minds of Egyptians.
Ubuntu Art Gallery will host Suzanne Wissa Wassef - the school’s director and eldest daughter of Ramses Wissa Wassef - on Wednesday, June 8th to hold a talk about the school and its journey. On Saturday, June 11th, the gallery will offer a trip to Wissa Wassef Art Centre, where you can see the tapestries being weaved with local sheep and Egyptian cotton, and learn how they get their colours from vegetables in the centre’s garden.