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Tale of Two Cities: A celebration of shared history and artistic legacy

CulturVator / Art D’Égypte presents a remarkable exhibition titled “Tale of Two Cities,” a joint venture between the Acropolis Museum in Athens (June 25 – July 16, 2024) and the Bibliotheca Alexandrina in Alexandria (October 17-31, 2024). This extraordinary event takes place under the auspices of the Egyptian Ministry of Culture, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and the Egyptian embassy in Greece, led by H.E. Omar Amer. It commemorates the Greece-Egypt union and revitalizes the deep historical and cultural ties that bind these two nations.

Partnerships and Vision

CulturVator / Art D’Égypte is proud to collaborate with esteemed institutions in both Greece and Egypt. These include the Cavafy Archives, the Onassis Foundation, and the Onassis Library, the Benaki Museum, and the Acropolis Museum. The aim of the exhibition is to foster a “visual dialogue” that explores the rich tapestry of shared heritage and the foundational role of classical antiquity in both Greek and Egyptian cultures.

“Tale of Two Cities” serves as a beacon of unity within a global effort to strengthen cultural bonds. Through the works of contemporary artists, the exhibition bridges the gap between past and present, illustrating how the enduring Greece-Egypt connection continues to inspire and shape the artistic landscape today.

A Special Quote

Nikolas Stampolidis, General Director of the Acropolis Museum, highlights the significance of the collaboration: “The Acropolis Museum does not typically host art exhibitions. Today is an exception because it’s connected with the embassy of Egypt, a country that is not only a friend but a sisterhood.”

Artistic Exploration and Expression

The participating Greek and Egyptian artists will create works that reflect on the artistic convergence that has developed throughout history. These works emphasize the deep-rooted bonds that continue to this day, while also celebrating the distinct identities of both nations.

The exhibition fosters a “direct dialogue” between Greek and Egyptian artists, mirroring the dialogue between their civilizations over millennia. It will delve into the artistic alchemy that has emerged, examining how aesthetics and symbolism have played a key role in shaping artistic expression.

Multiple Venues and Diverse Expressions

Taking place across museums, libraries, and galleries in both cities, each event will contribute its own dimension to the story of this cultural exchange. “Tale of Two Cities” features a diverse range of artistic expressions by artists including the late Mahmoud Said, Papageorge, Costas Varotsos, Danae Stratou, Omar Touson, Said Badr, and Karim El Hayawan.

Additionally, there will be a special event titled “One Night at the St. George Hotel” presented by artist Ahmed Farid.

A Collateral Exhibition by the Sea

A complementary exhibition titled “Art by the Sea” will be held at the Lemon Tree &co, Riviera in Athens starting June 25, 2024. This open-air exhibition will create a dialogue between humanity and the vastness of the sea. The ever-changing coastline serves as both canvas and muse, inspiring artists to harness the elemental power of water and sand.

Here, the whispers of the tide are transformed into visual poetry, with each piece reflecting the impermanence of life and the cyclical nature of creation and destruction. “Art by the Sea” becomes a meditation on beauty, impermanence, and the constant dance between land and sea. This immersive gallery of nature showcases works by Egyptian artists including Emad Abu Grain, Dina Fahmy, Mariam Abou Taleb, Iman Barakat, and We-aam Ali.

Nadine Abdel Ghaffar, the founder of Culturvator/Art D’Égypte, expressed her delight that this initiative has become reality, stating, “This exhibition is not merely a showcase of artistic brilliance, but a profound cultural exchange designed to be a transformative experience and to foster a renewed appreciation for the enduring cultural ties between these two nations.” She added, “I was born and raised in Alexandria and was always fascinated by Alexander the Great’s vision to create a cultural city. As an Alexandrian, I feel it is my responsibility to carry out this mission and extend it into our contemporary world.”
Omar Amer, The Egyptian Ambassador in Greece also expressed his enthusiasm for the initi-ative, saying: “We are proud to say that Egyptians and Greeks are genetically connected, and this connection will continue between them. As we gather today at the historic Acropolis Museum in Athens to celebrate the ‘Story of Two Cities’ cultural event, we remember the timeless contributions of our civilizations to the values of humanity in knowledge, beauty, and the pursuit of excellence. This event is a testament to the strong bond between Egypt and Greece, two ancient civilizations that shaped the world. Today, as we stand here, we celebrate our shared heritage and the bridge that connects the past with the present, and the East with the West.”
Omar Tousson, one of the participating artists, says, “For me, Tale of Two Cities holds pro-found significance beyond its status as an art exhibition. Before being an artist, I’m an Alex-andrian, and that means possessing a rich cultural legacy nurtured amidst the streets and corners of this wonderful city. This heritage, deeply rooted in the cosmopolitan history of Alexandria, continues to shape much of my artistic inspiration.”
Danae Stratou adds, “I created a 600 cm aluminum rod balanced on a 150 cm stainless steel shaft which points towards Alexandria when in Athens and towards Athens when installed in Alexandria. Its sharp edges piercing and transversing the spatial confines of the muse-um serve as a conduit for conceptual exploration beyond the physical space. As it traces an imperceptible line that transcends mere geographical boundaries, the sculpture delineates an axis that extends ad infinitum, connecting Athens and Alexandria. In the context of a timeless sculptural dialogue on the functions of perception and artificial infinity, the inter-cultural trajectory and the historic interconnectedness of the two cities embody a profound exploration of spatiality, historical narratives, and memory.
Said Badrcontemplates the connection between the heritage of the two cities, “Words grow, and people owe nothing except their word; man’s honor is nothing but his word. With a simple word, misery can dissipate. Words are a beacon of light for nations.”
Costas Varotsos adds, “As Charles Dickens said,‘It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of light, it was the season of darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair.’Βut I want to add that the two cities will give hope again because they are two cities that have defined world culture.”

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