SOAS University of London

Brunei Gallery, SOAS University of London

Egyptian Landscapes

Fifty Years of Tapestry Weaving
at the Ramses Wissa Wassef Art Centre, Cairo
19th January - 17th March 2006

This exhibition presents a rare opportunity to see a dazzling collection of tapestries from one of the world's greatest schools of weaving, Egypt's ground-breaking Ramses Wissa Wassef Art Centre

The exhibition will feature masterpieces from the Centre's permanent collection as well as stunning new pieces. Woven over the past half-century, they are the result of a unique educational philosophy that has profound significance for all forms of art and creativity.

The collection last visited Britain in 1985 when the tapestries were hailed for their beauty, humanity and significance. Remarkably, these vivid depictions of Egypt's flora, fauna and people were created by individuals who have had no formal art training.

More than 50 years later the Centre's magnificent tapestries confirm that innate creativity can grow with a child into adolescence and adulthood. The Egyptian Landscapes exhibition will include retrospectives of two of the weavers, charting their work from childhood. Two other weavers will be working at their looms in the gallery during the exhibition.

Since Wissa Wassef's death in 1974 his widow Sophie and daughters Suzanne and Yoanna have continued his experiment: under their guidance several further generations of Harrania children have now mastered weaving at the Art Centre. The project has transformed the lives of the villagers, bringing prosperity, education, better health, self-respect and satisfaction to all and high status to the women.

The Ramses Wissa Wassef Exhibition Trust, a UK charity No. 1108988, is organising the exhibition at the Brunei Gallery to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the "experiment in creativity" and to introduce the philosophy and the tapestries to a new generation. The tapestries will inspire and delight everyone who sees them - young and old, art lovers, educationalists, students, amateurs and professionals. Further information can be found at