This month, Tache Art opens its doors, for the very first time, with a retrospective exhibition for Egypt’s internationally acclaimed artist, Huda Lutfi. We are a brand new gallery, in Egypt, dedicated to contemporary Egyptian art. Located in Designopolis — the country’s first art and design hub — we hope to play a part in the growing movement to put Egypt’s artists on the global map.
This idea to establish a gallery had been brewing for quite some time. As life-long collectors, we both shared a deep passion for art; and we felt increasingly concerned that, in spite of the country’s vast talent pool, Egyptian contemporary artists never quite registered on international art markets. Traveling to regional art fairs, such as Art Dubai, we found Egypt’s most established names present, but represented by non-Egyptian galleries. Egypt was not taking the lead in promoting its own contemporary art scene.
This, then, became our mission. We decided that our new gallery must be a comprehensive space, unique in Cairo, where art could be exhibited, enjoyed, studied, discussed, and ultimately, sold. Our aim is to become a “home-grown” Egyptian art gallery, for Egyptian artists and about them — a platform from which to shine a spotlight on Egypt’s current art scene, giving local artists quality exposure to a wider audience, at home and beyond the borders of the country. The tremendous success of the Christie’s Farsi sale in Dubai, a few months ago, only heightened our enthusiasm and resolve.
Tache Art will offer a full range of modern gallery services, from exhibitions, to art events and art consultation services. The gallery will also be home to a rich annual calendar of educational and outreach activities, intended to showcase established Egyptian artists, alongside newer, less-established names.
The new Tache Art blog (www.tacheartblog.com) launched last month, is just one example of the many “awareness-building” activities that we are undertaking. As Egypt’s very first art blog, it is intended to be an online local resource on Egyptian contemporary artists, their stories and their work.
For all these reasons, we felt Huda Lutfi would be an ideal artist with whom to open the gallery. A self-trained practicing artist, Lutfi has emerged over the past two decades as one of Egypt’s foremost contemporary image makers. Uniquely Egyptian, her works also have universal appeal and she regularly exhibits at home and around the world.
This makes Huda Lutfi a perfect symbol of our vision: her strong international appeal and her non-traditional artistic career path, is an inspiration and a message for Egypt’s young artists that there are many “roads” to a professional art career.
Finally, all galleries should try to widen the circle of art-interested audiences in Egypt. These audiences are currently fewer than they could be. Yet, encouragingly, an increasingly number of young Egyptians are curious about their country’s contemporary art scene and willing to support it if they only knew how. As a gallery, we will be dedicating considerable time, effort and resources to bridging the existing gap between the emerging generation of local artists and a new breed of younger Egyptian collectors.
There has never been a better time to open an art gallery in Egypt — the world’s spotlight is shining on the Middle East as international galleries and collectors search for the “next big thing”. Now is the time to showcase what our country really has to offer. This push to further Egyptian art must come, first and foremost, from privately owned galleries and institutions.
Today, Egypt’s prominent galleries, such as Safar Khan, Townhouse, Zamalek Art Gallery and Mashrabeya Gallery have already done admirable work in bringing Egypt’s established artists to the fore; yet there remains much to be done if Egypt is to consistently nurture new generations of artists that share the local appeal, and international relevance, of Huda Lutfi and her peers.
Taya Elzayadi and Cherine Badrawi are the founders of the Tache Art Gallery.