28 February 2023

Majlis Talks | Art and Landscape

Part of Alserkal Art Week

Art D’Egypte founder, Nadine Abdel Ghaffar, and artist eL Seed in conversation with Fiza Akram on how art initiatives can effect social change.

Starts 5:30 pm

Ends 6:00 pm

Venue The Yard

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Art D’Egypte founder Nadine Abdel Ghaffar in conversation with Fiza Akram about how art initiatives can affect social change and re-invigorate a contemporary art sector and heritage landscape

28 February 2023
The Yard

About the speakers

Nadine Abdel Ghaffar is an Egyptian curator, art consultant and cultural ambassador. In 2016, she established Art D’Égypte, one of the most sought-after multidisciplinary art consultancies in the region. Art D’Égypte’s mission is twofold: to advance the international profile of modern and contemporary Egyptian art and to help preserve and promote Egypt’s rich culture and heritage. To date, Nadine has curated four highly successful exhibitions for Art D'Égypte, showcasing the works of over 50 Egyptian artists: Eternal Light at the Egyptian Museum (2017); Nothing Vanishes, Everything Transforms at the Manial Palace (2018); and Reimagined Narratives at four sites on al-Mu'izz Street in Historic Cairo, a UNESCO World Heritage site (2019).

Forever Is Now, Art D’Égypte’s fourth edition, took place in October 2021, showcasing the works of ten international artists against the stunning backdrop of the Pyramids of Giza. Accessibility and democratisation of art have always been at the heart of Nadine’s vision. By activating public spaces and historic sites with interactive exhibits open to the public, the events attract large numbers of visitors of all ages and from all walks of life, transforming art from an intimidating spectacle to an inclusive community occasion.

eL Seed uses Arabic calligraphy and a distinctive style to spread messages of peace, unity and to underline the commonalities of human existence. His artwork can be found all over the world and consistently aim at unifying communities and redressing stereotypes.

Born in 1981 in Paris to Tunisian parents, he was disconnected from his Arabic roots, speaking only the Tunisian dialect of the language at home. In his teenage years in a kind of quest for his identity, he began to delve into his own heritage and learned to read and write standard Arabic.It was during this journey that he began to develop his artistic style of calligraphy, which would later bring him worldwide acclaim.

He found that Arabic calligraphy was a way of building a link between his equally important French and Tunisian backgrounds and as he matured, eL Seed began to use that same calligraphy as a tool to build bridges all over the world. Whenever he works within a community, he spends a long time researching to find an appropriate quote to summarise the voice of the community he is working within and to underline his key principals of love, respect and tolerance.

His work has been shown in exhibitions and in public places all over the world including most notably on the façade of L'Institut du Monde Arabe in Paris, in the favelas of Rio di Janeiro, on the DMZ in between North and South Korea, in the slums of Cape Town and in the heart of Cairo's garbage collectors neighbourhood.

In 2017, he won the UNESCO Sharjah Prize for Arab Culture. He was named a Global Thinker in 2016 by Foreign Policy for his project 'Perception' in Cairo. In 2013, he collaborated with Louis Vuitton on their famous 'Foulard d'Artiste'.

About the moderator

Moderator Fiza Akram joined Alserkal Initiatives in 2014 to conceptualise, develop, and lead a global network of partnerships for the organisation. She has built partnerships with local, regional, and international organisations across the arts and culture spectrum, and managed Alserkal’s flagship events. Fiza was a part of the management team that delivered the Alserkal Avenue expansion and Concrete, while developing a global network of partners ranging from museums and art fairs, to non-governmental organisations and corporates. She has worked directly on realising flagships exhibitions at Concrete, and commissions at Alserkal Avenue and is leading the Advisory’s Global Co-Commission project. Fiza works closely on Alserkal Advisory projects and has played a pivotal role in projects for Dubai Expo 2020, ICD Brookfield, and Noor Riyadh amongst others.

About Majlis Talks

Majlis Talks, curated by Mahnaz Fancy, bring together artists, curators, researchers and art-world professionals for an evening of thoughtful and inspiring conversations.

The majlis has always provided the necessary form to plant the seeds of connections; a common ground for discussion and sharing. From the majlis we begin a convergence of differences, mingling vantage points, allowing new questions to rise.

Starting at 4pm on 28 February 2023 and running across six 25-minute sessions, this year’s Majlis Talks will see conversations with Fatima Ali, Lubnah Ansari, Loa Haagen Pictet, Nadine Abdel Ghaffar, Sara Raza, Rana Begum, Dr Cliff Lauson and more.