Today’s Talent in a Yesteryear Setting

Showcasing an outstanding selection of international contemporary art against the awe-inspiring backdrop of the Great Pyramids of Giza, Forever Is Now once again uses creativity and rich history to connect the past to the present. Organiser Nadine Abdel Ghaffar, founder of Art D’Égypte, tells Artscoops what visitors can expect to find at the exhibition and how it differs from its predecessor 


Art d'Egypte founder, Nadine Abdel Ghaffar. Photo credit Rofy Samuel


The second edition of Forever is Now is underway. What did you learn from the first edition and how does Forever is Now 2022 differ from the previous event?

The artworks are more interactive with their surroundings and the visitors. JR’s installation allows visitors to become the artwork themselves, SpY’s work makes them see themselves, the artwork and their surroundings from a fun and different perspective, Jwan and Alfaraj’s works give the visitors a chance to get up close and personal with the pieces, and eLseed’s piece still shocks you with the view when you open up the curtain and walk inside.


eLseed with artwork. Photo credit AFP


How did you set about choosing the participating artists? JR is a returning artist! What was it about his work that prompted the decision to include him in the 2022 event?

We always aim to find artists that work with the idea of merging history and contemporary through the context of their research based on multidisciplinary. Each artist has made it a point to thoroughly research the ancient Egyptian civilisation and connect it with their own methodologies. This year, JR comes back with his ‘inside out’ project, which is quite different from last year, as it puts the visitors literally and metaphorically in the centre of the artwork.

 

JR and artwork. Photo credit AFP


How much of an influence has the topical issue of climate change had on the exhibition?

This year, Forever Is Now II coincides with Egypt’s hosting of the 2022 United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP 27) in Sharm El Sheikh, further contextualising our age of environmental crisis. The artists showcasing their work in Forever Is Now II have created pieces made from a combination of natural and industrial materials, so are in dialogue with Giza’s 4600-year-old iconic monuments of natural stone, pointing to our past and present conditions, and the connections between man and technology, nature and inheritance. 


The event also supports the recovery of the art and creative sector from the pandemic. How do you see that recovery progressing?

The overreaching vision behind Forever Is Now II is to build a culture of interconnectivity and care. We are very excited to say that we do a cross-cultural exchange with the local community, high engagement with the public, visitors, craftsmen, students, laborers, artists, researchers - a platform of discussions, new perspectives and collaborations.


Ahmed Karaly and artwork. Photo credit AFP


Promoting inclusivity within the art world is another aim. Why do you think this is so important?

Art is a collective responsibility, a place to have a dialogic conversation that enables people to express their thoughts, ideas and feelings. The exhibition aims to feature the underrepresented, empower women, demonstrate respect for the environment, send an understanding of what we are leaving behind and how we are moving forward, both in terms of creativity and destruction. The making of art permits one generation to bear witness and speak to the next.


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