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Flowers from the Nile - the Ramses Wissa Wassef Art Centre
Ramses Wissa Wassef Art Centre is the home of a unique experiment in creative weaving that has produced tapestries admired and collected by textile lovers and museums worldwide.
The life´s work of its founder “Ramses Wissa Wassef” was dedicated to realizing the innate creativity of ordinary young Egyptian villagers.
“Human freedom never has as much meaning and value as when it allows the creative power of the child to come into action. All children are endowed with a creative power which includes an astonishing variety of potentialities. This power is necessary for the child to build up his own existence.”
In this statement, Ramses Wissa Wassef, eloquently sums up what was for him and still is today the heart of this unique artistic weaving experiment. The Art Centre at Harrania, not far from the Pyramids of Giza, has for the past 66 years been the
setting of this remarkable undertaking. There, Ramses, architect, potter and designer, set up a tapestry workshop to be used by the local village children.
With neither formal education nor artistic training the children were introduced to the craft and guided from then on in a rather extraordinary way by three rules:
- “No cartoons or drawings.”
- “No external aesthetic influences.”
- “No criticisms or interference from adults.”
Since Ramses’ death in 1974, Sophie his wife and two daughters, Suzanne and Yoanna, have carried on the experiment. At present, 30 artists are engaged at the wool weaving, cotton weaving and batik produced at the centre. With the seeds that Ramses has planted, the experiment in creativity continues to blossom with each new season with the same spirit and philosophy maintained.
Suzanne Ramses Wissa Wassef, born in 1950, is director and exhibition curator for Ramses Wissa Wassef Art Centre and a practicing ceramic artist. She is the elder daughter of Ramses and Sophie Habib Georgi. She became an active manager of the RWWAC after Ramses’ death in 1974. Suzanne invited and taught most of today’s wool artists, known as the “2nd Generation wool Weavers,” starting as 11 year old children. Since 1985, she curated many tapestry exhibitions in Egypt, England, Europe and USA. Suzanne gave lectures at these institutions. She holds a bachelor’s degree from the Institute of Social Studies, Cairo.
Ikram Nhossi, born in 1950, husband of Suzanne, is practicing architect. His interest lies in hot climate architecture and the knowledge of traditional building methods that has survived for thousands of years, which still can be of great value today in both its original form or as the basis for new development. Since 1985, Ikram has been working closely with Suzanne on the development and expansion of second generation wool weavers. He has curated many tapestry exhibitions in Egypt, England, Europe and USA and gave lectures at these institutions.
More information: http://www.wissawassef.com/