"Forever is Now": The First International Art Exhibition to Take Place at Giza Pyramids

A Show That Blends Egypt's History with Contemporary Art
JR “Greetings From Giza”. Photo: Salma Adham.
Lorenzo Quinn “Together”. Photo: Salma Adham.
Moataz Nasr "Isthmus". Photo: Salma Adham.
Alexander Ponomarev “Ouroboros”. Photo: Salma Adham.
Visitors gathering at 'Forever is Now' exhibition organized by Art D’Egypte. Photo: Salma Adham
João Trevisan “Body That Rises”. Photo: Salma Adham.

Contemporary art simulates Egyptian civilization which has managed to design and build landmarks that we, as human beings, to this day, cannot decipher the secrets of and have not been able to repeat.

"Forever is Now" is the name of the exhibition launched on October 23 in the archaeological area of ​​the Pyramids of Giza in Egypt. It is the first art exhibition to be held in the Pyramids in the past 4500 years.

Maybe you feel surprised by the name at first, but the truth is that the past and the present are connected deeply. In history, science, art, and the nature of our existence, we will find that we complete what others started many years ago. We learn from the past, discover, add to it, and merge heritage and our current vision to develop and create a dialogue between civilizations.

The event was organized by Art d'Egypte Foundation, an Egyptian platform concerned with art and heritage, the Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities, the Egyptian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO).

"Forever is Now" is the fourth annual exhibition organized by the Art d'Egypte Foundation since 2017 in Egypt, and it will be running until the 7th of November 2021.

Nadine Abdel Ghaffar, the founder of Art d'Egypte, said that the exhibition is a mixture of Egyptian civilization and contemporary art worldwide. This mix is essential because it represents an exchange between cultures and dialogues between contemporary artists and Egyptian society.

The show displays ten sculptures and artworks of the participating artists in different open spaces around the pyramids in a preparation period which took more than a year.

"The exhibition is a message of hope for humanity, especially in light of COVID19 - while many countries are imposing closures, we see these foreign artists left their countries and attended to participate in the exhibition." Abdel Ghaffar said.

The prominent and famous contemporary artists in the world who participated in the exhibition are:

  • Russian artist Alexander Ponomarev.
  • American artist Gisela Colón.
  • Brazilian artist João Trevisan.
  • French artist JR.
  • Italian artist Lorenzo Quinn.
  • Egyptian artist Moataz Nasr.
  • Egyptian-born, Los Angeles- based artist Sherin Guirguis.
  • British artists Shuster + Moseley.
  • British artist Stephen Cox RA.
  • Saudi Arabian artist Prince Sultan Bin Fahad.

Among the works on display is a sculpture made of stainless steel called "Together" by Italian artist Lorenzo Quinn, which shows "hands rising and touching each other with fingertips to symbolize communication between human beings.

The three pyramids of Giza can be seen in the distance in the background of the Queen sculpture. The Italian artist said, "I am lucky to have the three pyramids in the background of my sculpture, and the position of the hands touching upwards in this way resembles a pyramid, so I designed the position of the hands in this way."

In another area around the pyramids, the Egyptian artist Moataz Nasr displayed dozens of crossed wooden paddles, all of which form a structure resembling an old solar boat with a length of 14 meters.

Nasr explained that the work is entitled "Isthmus" because it represents the dividing line between two different worlds, such as life and death, day and night, or black and white. The solar boat for the ancient Egyptians represented the transition from this world to the other.

Meanwhile, British artists Edward Schuster and Claudia Mosley showcased their joint work "The Path of Light."

The work consists of some hand-affixed optical glass figures with metal bases, which resemble a glass pyramid.

The artist said the existence of a matrix of angles, scales and symbolic orientations behind the abstract simplicity of the forms, each carefully encoded connotations "inspired by the geometrical visual magic of the Great Pyramid."

"Through our work, we have tried to take all the cosmic symbols and mathematics of the pyramids and incorporate them into this new contemporary form," Schuster stated.

A number of the world's leading experts and institutions, who have gathered extensive experience and knowledge in Egyptology, the archaeological history of Giza hill, and the ancient history of the Giza pyramids, have attended the exhibition.

Famous Egyptian archaeologist Dr. Zahi Hawass participated in the preparations for the exhibition. The project also has the support of Dr. Peter Der Manuelan, Professor of Egyptology at Harvard University and Head of the Giza Project.

The Minister of Tourism and Antiquities, Ahmed Ebeid Musaed, said during the press conference held by Art d'Egypte last Wednesday that "the pyramid monuments are an area that represent world heritage. And this activity will add more momentum and will constitute an element of tourist attractions."

"Ancient Egypt has influenced artists from around the world, and so we bring the world to Egypt and Egypt to the world through art. It's a privilege to stand at the foot of these monuments that have survived turmoil, wars, and pandemics," Abdel Ghaffar said.

"This exhibition is a token of hope for humanity and a humble tribute to a civilization that has stood the test of time," she added.

 

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