By Nayera El-Zeki
While walking through the busy streets of Maadi, a wrong turn brought us to a little hidden boho-gem camouflaged between the bushes. The large sign saying Earth Gallery in attractive colors compelled us to walk in have a little chat with the owners Hoda Ismail and Mohammed Aref about their art, art scene and the artistic vibes pouring out of their little place.
1. How did Earth Gallery come to be?
Murals, street art and wall paintings were what started us up back in 2011. As that flourished, we started creating other items that would reflect our art and that people could buy so we started in CSA and moved here about a year ago.
2. Why the name “Earth” Gallery?
All our designs and products represent simple elements from different cultures around the world, like for example some triangles represent the Nubian culture and other ones represent Indian. We try to combine them all in one product whether it’s on paintings, clothes or furniture and the name is representative of that.
3. Do other art contributors participate in making the products?
No it’s all us. We often help with friends’ start-up business by displaying a few of their art pieces but it’s mainly our stuff.
All our designs and products represent simple elements from different cultures around the world
4. What makes Earth Gallery different from any other gallery?
Each and every single thing in the gallery has been made by our hands. The paint on the wall, the interiors, the products and everything else; it’s all us. We even teach the art ourselves.
5. How has the art scene in Egypt treated you? Are people accepting of this form of art?
Not everybody understands the art. Some people are confused about the paintings we make and think they’re print-outs. It used to be very depressing but there has been a little progress recently.
6. Do you thing the increase in galleries opening all over Cairo is constructive or destructive competition?
It’s definitely better, we’re always coming up with new ideas and the entire art scene does the same thing so there’s always change and progress. We welcome the competition; it keeps us on our feet.
7. You mentioned something about teaching the art?
Yes, we have painting courses that teach students painting techniques, mixing colors, creating rich paintings with good shadowing, etc. There are three levels of courses each consisting of 8 classes.
8. For someone who’s trying to follow in your footsteps and maybe open their own gallery, what would you advise them?
It’s a huge responsibility and a really great commitment; you’re going to have to invest all your time in it. If we hadn’t put in all the time we did, it wouldn’t have survived.
4 Mustafa Kamel Square, Maadi