The latest free exhibition to be hosted in Philanthropy House is the Aga Khan Foundation’s ”The Artisans of Al-Darb Al-Ahmar – Life and Work in Historic Cairo” and is open from the 19th November 2018 to the 4th February 2019.
The exhibition looks at the neighbourhood of al-Darb al-Ahmar, said to be home to over 1000 artisanal workshops, and the crafts it produces and the people who produce them. Here the work is on full display to those walking past on the streets, where they can be seen carving, sewing, welding and hammering away to create a huge array of crafts and items, often unique to Cairo or the district itself. The work requires great skill and physical exertion and is a rarity around much of the world.
This work is being threatened however by the political instability, and shifting external perceptions of Egypt, with the number of tourists visiting the country down and the cost of raw materials up. Many of these crafts are threatened by this, and the loss of this rich cultural heritage would be significant.
The exhibition therefore seeks to highlight the unique output of the neighbourhood, inspire people to visit the ”soul of Egypt” and to bring attention to the work of both the artisans in the neighbourhood, and the various governmental and non-governmental actors seeking to support and preserve the neighbourhood of al-Darb al-Ahmar.