Hesham Nawwar Sculpter & Painter: Artisan of al-Darb al-Ahmar, Cairo

Painter and sculptor Hesham Nawwar has been working from his studio in the Wekalet El Ghoury building since 2013. This historic building was first established nearly 500 years ago by the Mamluk dynasty as a meeting point for traders. It was home to a market and accommodation.

In the 1960s, the government converted it into an artist’s residence and performance space. Today the building is home to many artists studios. During busy periods, even the corridors get used.

Hesham's studio is located in the Wekalet El Ghoury building first established nearly 500 years ago.

Hesham studied at Cairo’s art school some 30 years ago. His has always been fascinated in Pharaonic art; this style is the most important influence on his work.

Pharaonic art is the style that has most influenced Hashem's work.

His process is to start with plaster, not clay, and then move on from piece to piece. When inspiration takes hold, he returns to the original piece to continue working on it. He went through a phase of having too many unfinished pieces, “it was unmanageable”. Hesham has a recurring dream in which he creates as skeleton out of metal wire but it goes nowhere.

Hesham with one of many pieces on he is working on.

“I don’t like work. I like play”

Hashem with several of his sculptures.

In addition to his own work, Hesham has worked with artisans in al-Darb al-Ahamr to try to help them develop new styles: “Craft needs to evolve or it will die.”

Hashem Nawwar in his studio.

‘The Artisans of al-Darb al-Ahmar: Life and Work in Historic Cairo’ exhibition is taking place at the Royal Geographical Society, Exhibition Road, London, from 22 March to 24 April 2018.

This exhibition showcases the people and personalities that make up daily life in this unique district, home to over 1,000 artisan workshops and 60 monuments of Islamic architecture. It presents artisans at work, some of whom are part of a tradition going back a thousand years but whose skills may not last another generation. More information available here.

For more information, please contact: christopher.w-steer@akdn.org

Created By
Christopher Wilton-Steer


©Christopher Wilton-Steer

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