This particular wall hanging tapestry is quite special. Not only was it made by a nine-year-old boy, this child learnt this craft by attending a well known arts school in Egypt. The artist’s name is Sayyed Mahmoud and he learned his craft whilst attending the Wissa Wissef Art Centre located in the Harrania district near the pyramids of Giza. According to the letter of authentication that came with this piece, this tapestry was completed on July 7th, 1980.
The Wissa Wissef Art Centre was created by Ramses Wissa Wissef in 1951. Ramses, was a renowned Egyptian architect with an interest in traditional architecture and traditional craft. After the school was built, Wissa Wissef, with lots of consideration, decided that one of the main arts that will be taught at this centre would be weaving. He chose to teach this craft for three main reasons. First reason being that weaving is an art form that can take months to create, so it would teach the students patience. Second, weaving would help the children to really tap into their creativity. Weaving would allow the children to learn how to fully translate their imagination and creativity into art. Finally, he chose this craft since it is a dying traditional craft in Egypt.
Another interesting fact is that, all of the wool and cotton they use is 100% natural. They also grow certain plants from which they extract natural dye from to add pigment to some of the threads.
Thanks to Ramses Wissa Wissefs’ vision, this school has sustained the art of weaving within their community for years. And many amazing weavers learnt their craft thanks to Ramses Wissa Wissefs Art Centre. It is amazing to think that we hold one of the pieces created by a student of this renown school here at MCML.
To see images of the Wissa Wissef Art Centre, click the link below!
Written By Neda Masoomifar
MCML Summer Student 2021
Funding for this blog post was provided in part by the Heritage Grants Program (Province of Manitoba) and the Young Canada Works Program (Government of Manitoba).