Monday, January 17, 2011

A review of museums and galleries in Cairo

The Arts Desk (Josh Spero)

There's very little in Cairo to make the above reviewer happy!

The Egyptian Government is investing in the arts, which would normally be a cause for celebration. However, in building the National Museum of Egyptian Civilisation, it feels like the country’s cultural budget is being spent on another new display case for its past rather than on encouraging a contemporary arts scene. The NMEC, which was first mooted in 1982 (the year after Sadat was assassinated, if that signifies anything today), will open this year in south-east Cairo, after seven years of construction, nine years since the foundation stone was laid.

It has been designed as a tour d’horizon of Egypt’s cultural history, from the royal mummies being moved out of the central Museum of Egyptian Antiquities to Roman, Coptic and Islamic artefacts on a wide range of themes, including writing, the Nile and agriculture. It should be compendious and comprehensive, possibly even allowing tourists to avoid traipsing around any of Cairo’s other museums.

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