A PETITION ON BEHALF OF THE

RAMSES WISSA WASSEF ART CENTRE IN EGYPT

 

The survival of the Art Centre in Harrania, for whose adobe workshops and galleries Ramses Wissa Wassef won the Aga Khan Award for Architecture in 1983, is seriously threatened by rising water. Please sign this petition to help persuade the authorities in Egypt to ensure the survival of the complex of buildings and gardens that accommodate and nurture the unique "experiment in creativity".

To quote the Aga Khan Award citation, "The Ramses Wissa Wassef Art Centre has a social as well as a spiritual dimension … . It is a place supportive and poetic, or supportive because is poetic, where the young tapestry weavers of the community have been free to develop an artistic handicraft producing tapestries of great excellence and renown". The Award was given to the Centre for "the beauty of its execution, the high value of its objectives, for its role as a centre of art and of life as represented by its location, its endurance, its continuity and its promise".

In October 2005 part of the Habib Gorgy Museum at the Art Centre suffered a catastrophic collapse. This occurred because of a huge rise in the water table – caused by poor maintenance of a nearby drainage canal, a massive increase in house-building in Harrania village, and construction of a new fly-over bridge half a mile away. Plans to build a new gallery at the Art Centre have had to be put on hold so that resources can be concentrated on reconstructing the Museum. Worse, the entire art centre – workshops, galleries, houses and gardens – is now in extreme danger because the water table is continuing to rise.

The trustees of the Ramses Wissa Wassef Exhibition Trust, a charity registered in the United Kingdom which in 1985 and 2006 organised a series of highly successful exhibitions in the UK of tapestries from the Art Centre, plan to present a petition to the Governor of Giza and other authorities in Egypt. Please lend your support to the call for urgent action to ensure the survival of the Art Centre and of the tapestry weaving experiment that continues to delight and inspire thousands of people throughout the world.

 

The blocked canal and destroyed adobe buildings

The blocked canal and destroyed adobe buildings

Damaged Habib Gorgy Museum

Damaged Habib Gorgy Museum

Habib Gorgy Museum interior damage

Habib Gorgy Museum interior damage

Signs of rising water table

Signs of rising water table

 

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