Follow Vogue Arabia

Grand Egyptian Museum Launches its First Arts Program with Susan Hefuna

Susan Hefuna. Photo: Courtesy of the Grand Egyptian Museum

The Grand Egyptian Museum (GEM) has launched its first arts program this month with Susan Hefuna, the renowned interdisciplinary artist who is known for exploring the complexities of identity. The solo exhibition titled ‘Traces of Egypt’ sees the Egyptian-German paying homage to the Khayamiya tradition, an ancient applique technique from Egypt.

Hefuna succeeds in establishing the necessary connection between contemporary art and Egyptian heritage by displaying 28 costumes carrying the colorful patterns characteristic of Khayamiya. While she designed the dresses herself, the implementation was actually carried out by local artisans, a perfect merger between the contemporary and the traditional. Traces of Egypt also carries within itself allusions to nature with its subtitle being “The Sound of: Earth, Sun, Water, Air.” Other elements include drawings on tracing paper, a children’s coloring book, and a panel discussion on the opening day featuring Hefuna, Venetia Porter, former curator of Islamic and contemporary Middle East art at the British Museum, and South African architect Sumayya Vally.

Photo: Courtesy of the Grand Egyptian Museum

Hefuna being chosen as the artist to bring to life GEM’s inaugural arts program speaks to her illustrious career, which includes exhibitions all over the world – New York, Los Angeles, Venice, Egypt, and the UAE among others. This recent exhibition is representative of her signature style as it carries lines and dots and makes use of traditional techniques, Hefuna is known to employ geometric patterns or use Egyptian crafts techniques such as Mashrabiya – a carved wood or stone architectural latticework screen.

With the exhibition running from March 19 to June 15, GEM showcases that despite housing the world’s largest archaeological collection, the museum is a destination catering to a diverse range of interests including contemporary art. Another example of this effort to diversify is the recently launched Gem Art Space, a membership club allowing creatives to showcase their work in five temporary exhibition spaces.

Read Next: Rosetta Stone, Dendera Zodiac, and the Bust of Nefertiti—Egypt Wants its Artifacts Back

View All
Vogue Collection