CAIRO: The sixth Caravan Exhibit opened at the Cairo Opera House Tuesday, sponsored by SODIC Real Estate Company.
“This art initiative serves as an aspirational expression for both Egyptians and the rest of the world, which will be hosted by religious dignitaries,” according to SODIC’s website regarding the event.
The exhibit takes place annually since 2009 and promotes the idea that there are contemporary arts in Egypt and that it people are willing to work with different people since they are tolerate of other nationalities, event organizer Reda Abdel Rahman told The Cairo Post Tuesday.
Caravan founder Paul Gordon told The Cairo Post he chose Egypt as the main host to display artwork because he was inspired by Egypt. He lived in Maadi for ten years and grew up in Senegal in West Africa so he has lived in a Muslim environment for a large portion of his life.
“I have always been very passionate about linking religions and art, this project is one of the most effective ways to do that,” Gordon told The Cairo Post. He chose the name Caravan because it is symbolic of moving “artistic caravan.”
The difference between the exhibition before and after the January 25 Revolution in 2011 is that they mostly previously worked with painting or sculptures. But after the revolution, there was a wide spread awareness of public art in Egypt, such as graffiti.
Art expression changed for example, when the Caravan organized the “In Peace and with Compassion: The Way Forward project, where 25 life-sized painted donkey statues toured around Cairo and London, Gordon said.
The artworks inside the Caravan exhibition were 30 3D fiberglass statues in different prayer poses that were painted on by 30 Egyptian artists. Abdel Rahman spoke with The Cairo Post about his statue of a Pharaonic woman representing Egypt sitting on a small donkey representing Sett the God of Evil for ancient Egyptians. He said it meant that Egypt is now blossoming and is getting rid of evil. The statue also had a basket with blue scarabs for the exhibition audience to take as souvenirs, implying that Egypt is generous and has a lot to give to people.
“We are trying to express our humanity as Egyptians,” artist Gamal Lamaie explained about the exhibition. Lamaei told The Cairo Post that on his statue, he used molten colored wax as was used by artists in the second century to paint. He covered his statue with molten wax to represent the amount of pain endured by mankind due to amount of death in Egypt, Iraq, and even the 9-11 events in the U.S. due to extremism and the wrong understanding of religion.