The Art of Compassion and Humanity : Mohammed El Masry's ' We are the End of the World' Exhibition at Artellewa Galley
By Yasmin Ouf and Raghda Yazid
An Art of Compassion and Humanity
GIZA, Egypt - The opening of Mohamed El Masry’s “We Are the End of The World” exhibition in Artellewa Gallery was a unique addition to Cairo’s art scene.
Cairo’s art scene has been centered in the Downtown and Zamalek area therefore, when we heard that this exhibition is located in Ard El-Lewa, a poor area in Giza, we had to go and see how different it would be from the luxurious galleries in Zamalek. From the minute we reached Ard El-Lewa, there was a complete cultural shift; we had to park our car and take a “tok-tok” to reach the gallery, since the streets are too narrow for cars to go in.
Mohamed El-Masry is a young, talented photographer and artist. He is a humanitarian and his art portrays how humans are killing themselves, whether by war or by neglecting the environment. “We Are The End Of The World” has been displayed in several countries including India and the Unites States.
The exhibition featured pictures from wars and conflict areas over the period of 100 years. It consisted of a series of photographs of people torn apart by wars. However, their faces are all covered by red roses, which made it hard to determine the sex and race of the people in the pictures. “We are killing ourselves and we are killing our planet,” explained Mohamed El-Masry, “It doesn’t matter what your sex or race is, all what matters is that you are a human being who is in pain and this is the message I’m trying to send through my art.”
The ‘Artellewa’ Gallery itself is a small, open art space located directly on the streets and it allows anyone passing by to go in and see the exhibition for free. “The owner of the gallery is an artist himself,” said Mr. Khaled Aly, the curator, “he used to live in Ard El-Lewa and he opened his gallery here hoping to expand the art scene and introduce it in the areas which no one would think to visit to see an art exhibition.”
Slowly, the people kept piling up inside the gallery to watch the exhibition; there were foreigners who received invitations, children playing in the streets came in to see what was happening and people from the neighborhood came to watch the exhibition. “Artellewa is different than a lot of galleries in Cairo.” said Moritz Mihatsch, “here, people from the neighborhood are allowed to come in and watch, ask questions and learn about art while in other galleries such as Darb, I see security guards trying to keep street kids out which goes against the idea of opening a gallery in such an environment.”
The combination of art, history and culture in Artellewa is one of a kind and it is an inspiration for true artists.