Tapestry Weaving from The Rames Wissa Wassef Art Centre, Cairo
Celebrating the centenary of Ramses Wissa Wassef and the 60th anniversary of the founding of the Art Centre
The dazzling tapestries produced by the weavers at the Ramses Wissa Wassef Art Centre near Cairo are world renowned for their gorgeous colour and astonishing detail. These evocative and inspirational tapestries depicting people, places and nature have been acquired by international museums including the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, The Museum of Modern Art, Stockholm, The Royal Museum of Scotland, The British Museum, London, The Victoria & Albert Museum, London. The Petrie Museum of Egyptian Archaeology, London. The Bristol City Museum, The Royal Albert Museum, Exeter and the Whitworth Art Gallery, Manchester.
The Coningsby Gallery exhibition and sale is a rare chance to view and buy new examples of these remarkable works and to marvel at the unique philosophy that has inspired them. Incredibly, these tapestries have been woven by individuals who have had no formal art training. The Ramses Wissa Wassef Art Centre at Harrania near Cairo, is a continuing experiment in tapestry weaving.
It was founded in 1951 by the Egyptian architect, Ramses Wissa Wassef to test his theory that all children are born with innate artistic ability but this ability is stifled by traditional training and adult interference. At his new Art Centre, Ramses began teaching young Egyptian village children how to weave, then left them to develop their own artistry. He laid down three rules: no copying, no preliminary designs and no adult criticism. He wrote: “I had this vague conviction that every human being was born an artist but that his gifts could be brought out only if artistic activity was encouraged from early childhood by way of practising a craft. The creative energy of the average person is being sapped by a conformist system of education and the extension of industrial technology to every sphere of modern life”
Sixty years on and several generations later, the Art Centre’s tapestries are a triumphant vindication of Wissa Wassef’s theory. Critics have declared them “breathtaking”, “uplifting”, “almost overwhelming in their density of imagery….monumental”. Visitors have recorded their comments including: “Luminescent, strikingly beautiful and vivid.”, “Thank you for a stunning & humbling exhibition”, “Walking through the door and facing the “Hymn to the Sun” brought tears to my eyes. The tears rarely had time to dry. I was so moved by seeing such paradisiacal scenes that they were constantly shed.”
This year’s exhibition features some 40 new wool tapestries and 40 cotton weavings, all uplifting visions of Egyptian life in the classic Wissa Wassef style that would make unforgettable Christmas presents. Prices range from £250 to £4000. All proceeds from the sale of the tapestries will go the Art Centre.
All proceeds from the sale of the tapestries will go the Art Centre
*Members of the media are welcome to attend the Private View to be held on Monday, 19th November from 6pm – 9pm and should contact Barbara Heller for an invitation.
For further information and images please contact Barbara Heller, 36 Camden Square, London NW1 9XA, Tel: 020 7267 1034, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org
THIS EXHIBITION IS SPONSORED BY THE WERNER FORMAN ARCHIVE