As exhibitions reopen around the world, artists are now exploring new ways to engage people with their work. The experience in itself is charged with new meaning, as visitors are pulled into the entire journey of art: from the start, to the process and to the final product, creating a new relationship where the audience isn’t a silent viewer but an active participant in the artistic process.
This new experience was reflected in the launch of Egypt’s first gallery dedicated to contemporary and collectible design, Le Lab, which was founded by Egyptian art and design collector Rasheed Kamel. The contemporary and collectible design gallery opened its doors to the public at Walk of Cairo on Wednesday with a solo show of works by acclaimed Lebanese product designer Georges Mohasseb.
The exhibition, titled “Intermission,” displayed Mohasseb’s creative process against the backdrop of a stunning gallery, which offers a variety of settings and routes that allow the audience to walk through its rooms without losing sight of any piece of art, and catching a glimpse of the artist’s world through a cinematic slideshow of his craft.
Renowned for his role as a patron of Art d’Egypt, serving on its advisory board, and as one of the leading collectors of art and collectible design in the region, Kamel aspires through ‘Le Lab’ to preserve and acknowledge Egypt and the region’s rich artistic past, and its historic role in shaping the world of art, design and craftsmanship. Providing regional and Egyptian artists, designers and creatives a platform to showcase their work and connect to the wider international art community, Kamel hopes to redefine the boundaries that exist between art, design and architecture, and push the ever-evolving art scene in the region into a new era that merges contemporary with traditional art.
“There is no doubt that Egypt has been shaping the world of art before we even came to know the world of art; and accordingly this rich history is the cornerstone of the art world,” Kamel tells Egyptian Streets. “I created this platform to promote Middle Eastern designers and transform Cairo into a hub for art and design, regionally and internationally.”
For Kamel, preserving our heritage shouldn’t prevent expanding into new and different developments, which help us delve into new ways of understanding and conceptualizing our past. “I think that preservation of history and culture entails that we never stop learning. The more we learn about our past the more we can value it and preserve it. And preservation doesn’t always mean to keep as is; art can revamp and reshape and flip and yet preserve cultural heritage, he says. “At Le Lab this is exactly what we are looking for too. Integration of tradition and modernity can create infinite possibilities. And in line with this, we welcome with open arms any artist from marginalized and rural communities to make sure they are heard and seen.”
In recent memory, the history of the Middle East and North Africa has been defined by revolution, conflict, and mass migration that is still ongoing. Yet to capture the essence of the history of the Middle East and North Africa, and touch the core of its humanity and artistic expression, Le Lab brings new stories and new voices to provide a fresh outlook on the region and its forward-looking reflections on the relationship between past and present.
“I am hoping that any message I would like to make is through Le Lab; as a one of a kind platform in Egypt and the middle east for up and coming designers and artists, this alone is a strong message to international communities which shows our intention to break free from any taboos and to raise awareness to the importance of art in our lives.”
Solo exhibition by Georges Mohasseb of Studio Manda
Interior & Brand design by TDF
Video Installation Karim El Hayawan and Mohamed El Gammal
Content and Coverage Radical Contemporary