Going inside the naturally lit building, you could feel the soft weight of history around you, and you can see the many colors and shapes that make up an amazing variety of well-crafted artistic products made by the participants of the events. Each gallery and stall is a story onto its self, representing a diverse group of people coming from around Cairo and Egypt, showcasing a variety of products that are almost unrepeated throughout the day.
Our first stop would take us to Art Home Gallery, owned by Mohamed Baghdady from Luxor. What first caught my attention was a big painting of a Sufi dancer surrounded traditional motifs, smack in the middle of a wall full of paintings and wood carvings inspired by traditional elements of the Luxor arts and culture. Mohamed has been operating out of Luxor since before the Egyptian Revolution of 2011 and has moved his gallery to Cairo after the drop in tourism revenues in his home governorate. Mohamed has in his employee 12 other artists based in Luxor, who collaborate in producing the artwork shown in his gallery.
After I left his gallery with a small painting inspired by the traditional homes in Al Qourna Village, I stopped by a number of stalls set-up for this four-day event. I passed by a stall displaying works of four different handcrafts artists, who use crochet to create dolls and stuffed toys inspired by a Japanese art form called Amigurumi. The four women had on display one-of-a-kind dolls and toys that probably took days of passionate labor to produce, creating the perfect unique gift for your dearest small child. The four women are Amigurumika, Lavander Handmade Accessories, Dolls & More, and RONZA Puppets.
Souq el Fustat and the festival has an eclectic range of products that cater to people with a wide range of tastes and needs. I found everything there from clothing, accessories, toys, antiques, and art, which would sadly take much more than one post to describe. I passed by Roaia Fine Art, displaying a variety of hand-painted wooden furniture and plates that would give any home a beautiful, rustic feel which is simply perfect for those of us enjoying vintage furniture and art.
As for people who are looking for Bohemian style clothing and furniture, Samar Hassanien offers wax-colored fabrics in an artistic mastery of soft colors and designs. You can also find traditional Nubian art and clothing from the Association of Upper Egypt, as well as Bedouin Hand Made clothing and accessories as permanent galleries in the Center.
My favorite stop was to an antique store owned by Bahaa Helmy, an artist, and sculptor who unfortunately has no web presence. Bahaa is a kind elderly man, who runs the antique store with his wife. I spent what felt like hours in his shop, talking about life, work and what it means to be satisfied and happy. His conversation touched me in a profound and meaningful way that left me with a strong intent to go back there, if for nothing more than to talk to this elderly couple whose years of wisdom brought them a strong sense of satisfaction for life. I walked out of the store with a light heart and an antique Chinese painting which reminded me of a similar long-lost piece owned by my grandmother. His story is simply a tale for another day.