A hotel lobby or an art gallery? At the Four Seasons Hotel Cairo at Nile Plaza, the distinction can get a little blurry. The Hotel houses some 200 paintings and sculptures by dozens of contemporary Egyptian artists, including one with an unusual pedigree.
His name is Farouk Hosny. Born in Alexandria in 1938, he graduated from Alexandria University in 1964 with a degree in fine arts. Like many of his contemporaries, he went on to show his work at a number of exhibitions, winning awards such as the Japanese Soaka Gakai International University Cultural and Peace Prize.
Where Hosny’s career as an artist took an unusual (and more political) turn is during the early 1970’s, when he moved to Paris and began working as the director of the city’s Egyptian Culture Center. The subjects of Hosny’s work also changed at this time. He began painting in a more abstract style, moving away from his original work focusing on landscapes and seascapes.
Hosny made his return to Cairo in 1987. His time in Paris, as well as several previous administrative positions, all served as preparation for his newest occupation: Cairo Minister of Culture. Though a dual career as artist and government official may seem at odds to some, Hosny managed to implement a number of cultural programs while keeping up a busy schedule of art exhibitions and museum tours. His work has been shown everywhere from The National Museum of Bahrain to The Louvre.
Those wishing to forgo the cost of a museum admission can stop by the aforementioned lobby of Four Seasons Cairo at Nile Plaza, where you can view the former Minister of Culture’s work, either in a guided art tour or on your own. Should you have any trouble finding it or additional questions, the Four Seasons Concierge can provide more detail on this important contributor to Egypt’s art scene.
This city’s cultural offerings also extend far beyond its famous pyramids. As Cairo’s main performing arts venue, the Cairo Opera House is known for its mix of high-quality cultural events, productions of first-class ballet, opera and symphonic works and unique venues and state-of-the-art facilities.
Home to the world’s most extensive collection of ancient Egyptian antiquities, the two-storey Egyptian Museum features an incredible 160,000 objects on display. The museum’s 107 halls are filled with artefacts spanning the last 5,000 years, with a primary focus on the pharaonic era. Find the most significant showpieces in the Tutankhamen collection and the display of the reign of monotheistic pharaoh Akhenaten.
For an out-of-the-box Egyptian experience, don’t miss the tri-weekly Tannoura Egyptian Heritage Dance Troupe show at Wekalet El Ghoury, a performance that incorporates traditional dance with instrumentation and other elements that recall whirling dervishes. Built by Sultan Qunsuwah El Ghouri in AD 1504, Wekalet El Ghoury was originally a gathering place for merchants in central Cairo as well as a residence for many of the merchants’ families. Following its restoration in 2005, the building was given new life as a cultural arts centre.
Few places in the world can match the energy of a bustling souk. Investigate the shops at Khan El Khalili bazaar to uncover an excellent variety of leather goods, embroidered clothing and hand-carved woodwork, and make sure to pay a visit to El Sagha for gold and silver jewellery.
Home to Cairo’s most exclusive modern art pieces, Zamalek Art Gallery hosts monthly exhibitions with prominent local and international artists as well as young Egyptian talents, and art festivals. The spacious design of the gallery makes for a true immersive experience, where wandering around the masterpieces will instantly unlock realms of imagination and inspiration for you.