Expert in Islamic Art, Shahira Mehrez has painstakingly built her large collection of items from all over Egypt. Her collection consists of several hundred dresses with head-gear and accessories, gold and silver jewelry; ornamental baskets and palm reed artifacts, as well as some 100 Bedouin kelims from both the Eastern and Western Deserts.
Irrespective of the wealth of folkloric artifacts produced over centuries, to date there is no museum in all of Egypt bearing witness to a unique duality: the extraordinary creativity of the simple folk of Egypt, peasants, Bedouins and oases’ dwellers, and their role as cultural guardians, throughout the ages, of traditions inherited from our forefathers
Nowadays, the public is accustomed to go from a Museum with Pharaonic treasures to museums celebrating Coptic Art or Islamic Art, as if they were three separate, unrelated entities, as if we were either one or the other. A Museum of Egyptian Folklore will establish without a doubt that we are a synthesis of the three cultures born of the three religions that took root in our country: the Pharaonic, the Christian and the Islamic. It will show, that far from being monolithic, we were throughout our history one of the earliest pluralistic societies in the world.
Through an agreement between the EHRF (Egyptian Heritage Rescue Foundation) and Mrs. Mehrez, she will donate as many items as can be exhibited in one year, taking into account that perishable objects such as clothing and textiles have to be exhibited on a rotating basis for two months, then stored for the rest of the year. This will ensure that generations to come will be able to enjoy viewing them. The museum will be open to the public, with lectures and study tours available as a valuable resource for private schools and universities, in addition to any special interest groups within the community.