El Mahrusa .:. المحروسة


/ Commemorating 200 Years of Egypt




Honoring the second anniversary to Egypt’s ever-changing movement, does 6 Contemporary Arts open its doors to a landmark collection of works from the early to mid-19th century, down to the late 1990s and early 2000s, with works by an exquisite collection of artisans, civilian scholars, scientists, master painters, and ethnographers from Scotland, England, Egypt and France.

EL MAHROUSA carries a collection of engravings from the Description de L’Égypte. A series of Volumes dated from 1809 – 1829, whilst the works were being created and collected into study notes during the French Expedition into Egypt (1798) and their departure by 1801. This was the time when the term Masr El Mahrousa was born and did Egypt’s grace and grandiosity come into realization. The French had become aware of the magnificence of the country’s rich and diverse history, resulting in the engravings, once published, had they become outdated from the time they were made to the time they were released barely a few years later.

Only 1,000 copies exist from the collection, and carrying a very exclusive selection from the second edition, do we have on view published works from the cityscapes of Alexandria and Cairo to the volumes from the Atlas mappings dated to 1828. On December 17th, 2011, the original manuscripts of the Description de L’Égypte were destroyed in a fire during clashes between the protestors and the military near the Cabinet building, at Cairo’s Institute for the Advancement of Scientific Research; an act of which protestors had courageously rushed towards, and rescued 30,000 books out of 196,000 from the Institute’s collection: A grave loss to concurrent notions of history, left unpreserved.

Initiating El Mahrousa with the French Expedition, have we invited The Reader’s Corner to honor our halls with published paintings and engravings by David Roberts (1796-1864). Born in Scotland, and recognized early by his shoemaker father, who first apprenticed him to be a housepainter-decorator, and then followed as a theatrical scene-painter; during the next few years, Roberts worked in theaters in the United Kingdom and spent his spare time painting architectural and topographical views. It was with this pursuit was he yet to become famous. Roberts’ Middle Eastern journey began in Egypt and traveled through Sinai, Aqaba, Petra, Hebron, ending in Gaza and Jerusalem. He spent nearly twenty weeks in Egypt, and released the first Middle Eastern volumes in 1842, publishing Egypt and Nubia volumes between 1846-49. Granted the title of an Orientalist painter, his work is by far one of the most groundbreaking and influential visual documentations granted to Egypt’s recorded history to date. With this exclusive collection handled by The Reader’s Corner, will we have available an exquisite and diverse body of Plates from the London Edition.

Jumping 150 years ahead, had we decided to close our selection with a renowned fine artist, painter and ethnographer from Egypt’s locale: Awad Elshimy (b. 1949). Honoring a rare body of work done in the early 1990s and continued up until 2004 a series of lithographs addressing the element of the figural Warrior and his armor, interspersed with the Oriental motif, comes an observation of history from an alternative universe onto one’s own. The presence of the window series, as though put on an embankment of the outside looking in, and inside looking out – is left to one’s own resolution. Are we detailed with the significances of architectural elements, abstractly referencing urban landmarks of Cairo? From the Qalawun window set to fortressed Mamluk and Ottoman motifs, gentrified on graphic paper, domed and masked behind layers of mixed histories, has Elshimy offered the observation of the spectator out into a bewilderment of historical inflation. Alternatively, in the Apotheoses of an Old Warrior, does a contrast of shades set across a man’s armor, but no body – lays out a legacy across the novel work in all its former glory, a dream once occupied by power lost to time and its faithful companion: Prosperity.

Awad Elshimy has carried a committed track record since the 1970s. Gaining recognition in international biennales, exhibitions and workshops, becoming part of state and private collections, Elshimy operated mainly as a Professor alongside his creative process, and had directed generations of youth into their own formal choice of practice. Whether from Cairo or Amman, Elshimy is gentrified as the father of alteration. Almost like an oriental Escher, his mathematics are observed by the detail of geometric patterning, associated to his cultural history latched up against contemporary chronicles.  Breaking out painters and photographers, from a house of graphic design and lithographs, making his outreach unparalleled in his practice, Elshimy exhibited in Japan, Yugoslavia, France, United Kingdom, Germany, Holland, United States, Canada, Kuwait, Jordan, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, to name a few – establishing a tremendous ability to combine his academic understandings to the creative. A priceless approach is realized in each and every piece in the collection on view.

The exhibition will be accompanied by two talks:

Wednesday, January 23rd, 2013 at 7:00 PM

Mike Mikaelian offers insights into The Collectibles of David Roberts

w/ Commentary on Description de L’Egypte


Wednesday, January 30th, 2013 at 7:00 PM

Yasser Mongy Discusses Significances of Depicting The Warrior in Egypt’s Modern History w/ Commentary on Awad Elshimy.


This event is in accordance with The Reader’s Corner and The British Council / Egypt.

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