A convergence of a rich past and creative present

Contemporary creativity will once again meet inclusivity and serendipity in a historic setting, when ‘Forever is Now III’, Art D’Égypte’s most ambitious project to date, opens on the Giza Plateau. 

Work by SpY, photo credit AFP

Art enthusiasts from all walks of life will once again have the opportunity to savour an incredible selection of contemporary exhibits in a historic setting when ‘Forever is Now III’ opens on October 26th on the Giza Plateau, with the pyramids providing a familiar, but breathtaking backdrop to what is today recognised as a truly unique project.

Now in its third edition and running until November 18th, ‘Forever is Now’ has become a key annual event in the art world’s calendar, showcasing exciting new works by pioneering artists in a way that not only links Egypt’s rich past to our creative present, but also champions inclusivity.

This year’s iteration represents the biggest and most ambitious to date for its organisers, Art D’Égypte by Culturvator, with 14 international contemporary artists taking part from across the MENA region, Europe, the US and South America.

The Giza show is complemented by a separate exhibition running in parallel at the renowned Cairo Citadel, another UNESCO World Heritage site, which will house a diverse selection of art on the theme ‘If only the Walls could Talk’.

The setting for ‘Forever is Now’ is not only of huge historical interest, but also significantly, a public space, which enables the organisers to fulfil an additional aim of extending art’s reach to as many people as possible, as Nadine Abdel Ghaffar, Founder & Curator, Art D’Égypte, explained. 

“We firmly believe that art should be accessible to everyone and exhibiting it in public spaces – especially incredible settings like the pyramids – is a fantastic way to facilitate this. It’s a genuine means of democratising art and, as our previous shows have proved, it also sets the scene for fantastic levels of engagement with audience,” she explained.  

Work by eL Seed, photo credit AFP

Engagement and interaction were at the heart of the 2022 edition of the exhibition, with visitors encouraged to become actively involved in the project, as Nadine recalled, and a successful outcome achieved.

“For example, JR’s ‘inside out’ installation put the visitors literally and metaphorically in the centre of the piece, while SpY’s work made audiences see themselves, the artwork and their surroundings from a fun and different perspective and eL Seed’s piece shocked visitors when they opened up the curtain and walked inside,” she said. “This level of audience participation is something that the curatorial team will not only be prioritising again in 2023, but taking even further.”

Visitors will find the concept of this year’s edition, which is ‘play’, naturally sets the scene for them to actively explore and become involved in ‘Forever is Now III’. The Giza Plateau will be transformed into a space or ‘playground’ conducive to experimentation, with serendipity and chance to the fore, and where other elements suited to the ambience are in evidence, such as yoga and dancing.

Highlights among the exhibits include a mesmerising circular Lupine sculpture by the Belgian artist Arne Quinze that will provide a viewpoint into an isolated vista of one of the pyramids and its invisible axis line. Visitors will also find a fascinating work by Rashid Al Khalifa, from Bahrain, which comprises fragments of a labyrinth, emerging from the ground at varying angles, each inscribed with motifs sourced from a 1679 written piece Turris Babel (The Tower of Babel) by the Jesuit scholar Athanasius Kirchers. Other works include the US artist Carole Feureman’s hyperrealist sculpture evoking Hathor - the ancient Egyptian goddess of love and fertility.

These works will sit among others by an impressive list of participating artists, namely: Artur Lescher (Brazil); Azza Al Quibaisi (UAE); Costas Varotsos (Greece); Dionysios (Greece); JR (France); Mohamed Banawy (Egypt); Pilar Zeta (Argentina); Rashed Al Shaishai (Saudi Arabia); Sabine Marcelis (The Netherlands); Sam Shendi (Egypt/UK); and Stephan Breuer (France).

Work by JR, photo credit AFP

‘Forever is Now III’ represents the sixth exhibition for Art D’Égypte, and marks yet another milestone in its organisers’ successful efforts to create unexpected and energising dialogues between humanity’s ancient past and its contemporary present.

Those conversations, enhanced by the opportunities visitors will be offered to experience contemporary art and interact with it in such a special space, are highly likely to continue well after ‘Forever is Now III’ comes to an end and the works are removed from their majestic setting.

Photos are from last year’s exhibition

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