Sunday, September 14, 2008

Villa Grey Cultural Center

Villa Grey
24, Abdallah al Kateb Street
Between Midan Fini and El Nil Street
Dokki 12311

+2 02 3338 2184

Villa Grey is the latest location on the Cairo scene to host photography/painting exhibitions and screen interesting off beat movies that do not normally make it to the regular cinema halls.

This center was opened under the auspices of Grey worldwide and Gerard Avdessian, their Managing Director in Egypt.

Gerard studied theater in the Soviet Union and has directed, produced and written plays in Lebanon for several years, a parallel with his almost 40 years in the advertising business. He came to Cairo in April 2007 to head up Villa Grey and to realize, as he puts it, the “dream child” of Grey’s director in Lebanon, Philip Skaff, the “madman” behind the beloved community arts project.

“The idea behind this is to create a social link between the agency and the city of Cairo, the people of Cairo. It is non-profit because I don’t think it is our calling to make any money out of this. Once we cover our expenses, whether from sponsors or from sales of art, all the rest is cashed by the artist himself. We don’t charge a commission, la’a. We’re not an art gallery. We just have this non-profit movement within the agency and in the garden, and we open our doors to talented people, whether young or old.”

This talent will come from the visual arts — including painting, graphic design, sculpture and installation, photography and fashion, performing arts, music concerts, poetry, script readings, film screenings — and whatever else shows up on the marble steps to inspire Monsieur Avedissian and his team.

(Italicised extract from Egypt Today, December 2007)

We had the chance to visit the Villa a couple of weeks ago and check out "Oum el Dounia" - a photo exhibit by Dr. El-Sayed M. El-Sayed. Dr Sayed retired in 2005 and took the opportunity to develop his talent for photography. This is his first solo exhibition and the theme is Old Cairo and Egypt, its architectural heritage and its people.

We had gone for the Wednesday night movie screening that the Villa Grey holds, hoping to watch the Oscar winning German movie "The Lives of Others"

Unfortunately, the copy of the movie that they received that day, did not have English subtitles, so they could not screen it. They ended up showing Travolta's Hairspray so we left. (We had already watched the movie)

The viewing room is quite cosy and comfortable, so I'll definitely go back when they next show a movie that I want to watch.

To receive the schedule of Villa Grey movies and other events in Cairo, do send a blank mail to whazzupcairo-subscribe@yahoogroups.com or whazzupcairo-subscribe@googlegroups.com

The Villa Grey building itself is worth a trip. Its a traditional old style Egyptian bungalow with lots of Mashrabiya work, beautifully inlaid doors, ornate ceiling and lovely flooring. Reminded me of the Eicher Consulting office in Bangalore for the use of an old building as an office space. This is one of the best kept old bungalows with access to the public that I have seen in Cairo.

3 comments:

Tarek said...

Hi Kim,

I really like your blog and your reviews for the various landmarks and places in Egypt.

That's why I think you may be interested in using my website (it's currently under development) as you can there add places (on a map), tag them, and people logged in there can update their position anytime and locate nearby places.

I am currently working on another feature to add events as well and bind those events to people and places.

Anyway, please contact me if you are interested as I don't want to write the site's URL down here as it's still a closed beta version, and also because I hate spammers ;)

Kim said...

Hey tarek,

Please leave me your email id so I can contact you.

Tarek said...

My Gmail address is tarekamr@ ... you know the rest.

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