Arts & Culture

Art Spaces in Downtown Cairo Shut Down in Government Raid

Art Spaces in Downtown Cairo Shut Down in Government Raid

Rawabet-1
Credit: Townhouse Gallery’s website

Two popular art spaces in downtown Cairo, Townhouse Gallery and Rawabet Theatre, have been shut down in what Mada Masr has described as an ‘inter-agency raid’ by the Censorship Authority, the Tax Authority, the National Security Agency, and a local office of the Ministry of Manpower.

According to Mada Masr, Townhouse Gallery and Rawabet Theatre were first visited by a group of plainclothes officials who identified themselves as working for the Censorship Authority. Citing a Townhouse Gallery employee, Mada Masr reports that the plainclothes officials searched the gallery and its offices, including personal laptops, licenses, paperwork and even artwork.

Shortly after the arrival of the Censorship Authority officials, a number of other personnel from other government bodies arrived at the downtown Cairo location. The independent English newspaper reports that a personal computer, an office computer, exhibition and archival material documents, CDs and USB flash drives were all confiscated in the raid.

It remains unclear whether Townhouse Gallery and Rawabet Theatre have been shut down permanently or temporarily.

Townhouse Gallery is a non-profit art space that was established in 1998 and has initiated a number of activities in its various spaces, from symposiums and landmark exhibitions to a range of performances. Rawabet Theatre, affiliated with Townhouse Gallery, was launched in 2006 and serves as a platform for the independent performing arts scene in Egypt.

Social Media Reacts

townhousefb
Credit: Townhouse Gallery’s Facebook page.

Following the raid of Townhouse Gallery and Rawabet Theatre, social media users across Egypt and abroad expressed outrage.

Egyptian feminist writer and public speaker Mona Eltahawy tweeted angrily that “Not just activists: art, too, terrifies Sisi regime”.

Another Twitter user, Amr Kotb, said that Egypt had harmed itself.

“By all means Egypt, continue ridding yourself of that which is good,” tweeted Kotb.

Neither Townhouse Gallery nor Rawabet Theatre have released an official statement about the government raid.

Tunisian Writer Deported at Cairo International Airport, Deemed 'Security Threat'
Egypt's Hidden Talents Rise from the Shadows of Stereotypes

Subscribe to our newsletter


Arts & Culture

More in Arts & Culture

Egyptian Artists Explore Sinai Through Art, Photography, and Storytelling

Mona Bassel31 July 2021

Inside the Bodies of North African Women: Exploring Shame, Love and Freedom

Mirna Abdulaal30 July 2021

Music, Comedy and Art: 5 Events Happening in Cairo This Week

Mona Bassel21 July 2021

Egyptian Film ‘Feathers’ Wins Cannes’ Critics’ Week Grand Prize

Egyptian Streets15 July 2021

Science Geeks, Rejoice: New Egyptian Podcast Will Tackle All Things Science

Mona Bassel14 July 2021

Why I Moved to Egypt – For Good

Marina Makary13 July 2021

How an Egyptian Graphic Designer’s Work Brings Her Closer to Home

Mona Bassel11 July 2021

‘I Want to Create a World Where Women Do As They Please’: Egyptian-American Filmmaker Sharine Atif

Mirna Abdulaal5 July 2021