We are happy to begin our artistic season with “Amshoq 48”, a solo exhibition by Mustafa El Husseiny. And we hope this will be the beginning of a long-term and fruitful collaboration with El Husseiny.
About El Husseiny:
He is a Cairo-based visual artist, graduated from Faculty of Art Education, Helwan University in 2014. He participated in a number of workshops and exhibitions in Cairo as part of the ‘Street Atelier’. Moreover, he co-founded the street art group ‘Mona Lisa Brigades’ in 2012, under which he participated in a number of developmental projects such as "The People of Ard El-Lewa" funded by the British Council in Egypt. Furthermore, El Husseiny conducted his own fabric printing workshops for children. He also took part in the “From Rags to Riches” project, which was organized by Mashrabia Gallery.
In “Amshoq 48”, El Hussieny boldly shows us what he came across during his walks through the cemetery in search of a way to reconnect with his late father.
At the foot of mount Mokattam lies the Lesser Qarafa, which extends from Salah Salem Street to the outskirts of the Mosque of Ibn Tulun. This area is very difficult to reach and recognise and is known as the graveyard of al-Shafi’I for it is confined between the dome of al-Shafi’i and the foot of Mokattam.
Since my last attempts to recall the image of my father, I may have succeeded in refreshing my memory and painting his image by recalling his conversations during the war of 1973 and through my uncle’s stories about the region where he served in the 80s.
While visiting my father’s cemetery, I couldn’t remember the route to the graveyard anymore. Since 2009, I have visited this place only once. The features of the cemeteries of Imam al-Layth Ibn Sa’ad have changed and new graveyards have emerged in memory of the dead in 2018. I recall the moment that I wanted to meet my father, for at least one more time. Is there any way I can meet him?
Maybe there’s a way to do it. In 1998, my uncle went blind and died four years later after the magic practices of a sheikh who tried to exorcise an evil spirit from his body. I didn’t use to believe in these stories, but this is what my eyes saw at that time. Maybe magic could enable me to see my father again.
I began wandering around the cemeteries of Imam al-Layth Ibn Sa’ad intermittently. I used to go there at 1 pm during the summer. Thursdays and Fridays were ideal visiting times, and during the weekdays only the residents were present. Moving around was easy on the three days when visitors came from all over. On my first two visits I didn’t reach my father’s grave. There were walls with papers on them. I imagined they were Koranic verses someone left, but it was when I opened a paper that the search really began.