Waking Up


A night of dreams, mystery, happiness and enchantment

All the way from Kuwait to the heart of Cairo, Dar Al Funoon hosted a sensational art exhibition on October 11th. In collaboration with Christiane Abdullah ‘Marmonil’ and official media partner El Beit, Dar Al Funoon brought their guests a night of dreams that celebrated art, expression, and creativity. Since its inception in 1992, Dar Al Funoon has played a major role in advocating local and Middle Eastern art that remains dynamic, fascinating and sought after in the art world. 


The Exhibition titled ‘Waking Up’, inspired by the idea of breaking through the constraints of the painting medium by introducing motion through the movement of our own living environment. Known for transforming stunning stones from the heart of the earth, Marmonil hosted the event in their factory located in Ramsees, Nasr City. Dar Al Funoon transformed the factory with a curated exhibition with its artist “Fadi Yazigi, Amira Behbehani, Walid Tahir & Kairo Lumumba”. The exhibition combined the worlds of dreams and imagination in a show that altered the perspective of art as a whole and brought each artwork to life. 


Director Essa Muhammad wielded elements such as different line forms, uses of colour, and even uses of space, in conjunction with the art to provide motion to the medium of paint. Essa Muhammad highlighted in this event how movement is one of the core principles of art, and one that is consistently employed by artists looking to impart a sense of vitality into their artworks, specifically when used in the medium of paint on fabric.


In this exhibition Dar Al Funoon commissioned the 4 artists to work on a massive 10×10 meters art work that is divided into 7 panels each to express their relationship with Egyptian cotton fabric. When the seven cotton panels were hung on the factory ceiling next to one another, the artwork began to sway in the wind, bringing the pieces to life and providing a unique outlook on how art is perceived in general. 


In ‘Waking up’, the captivating exhibition focused on breaking through the confinements of the medium of paint, by providing motion through the motion of our own lived world. Since paintings cannot physically move (unlike other mediums of art, such as film), artists must use their boundless creativity to immerse the spectator in the enchantment of their creations, which Dar Al Funoon successfully presented to their guests. 

The entire experience felt like a dream from the moment the attendees walked through the enthralling white curtains and into the room filled with the enchanting moving arts. Guests were taken to another realm as the phrase “for cotton days” was repeated frequently in the scenic music playing in the background. All of these elements combined with the changing colored lights provided a sense of happiness to the spectators viewing the living, breathing works of art, establishing moving paintings that feel as though they could only exist within the realm of our dreams and imagination.

Kairo Lumumba:

Kairo Lumumba is an Egyptian Painter; who through a consistent need to express himself became gravitated towards visual art as his medium of storytelling.
Despite drawing all throughout his life; it was not untill he enrolled in drawing classes during his undergraduate studies at the American University in Cairo where he learned the significance of the message, and the value of it’s role in terms of aesthetic. Kairo learned the true meaning of expressionism and thus unlearned the boundaries of what he thought drawing was. Kairo became fascinated by 20th century modernist artists and their daring individuality at times where conformity was commonality. With a firm belief that simplicity is beauty, he found love for work that deconstructed and reconstructed forms in a simpler manner yet still preserved the visual understanding. As a result; Picasso, Basquiat and Warhol became highly influential in Kairo’s journey of expressionism. Kairo’s pieces serve as a playground where he allows his viewers to play with his thoughts. 

Fadi Yazigi:

Born in 1966 in Latakia, Syria, Fadi Yazigi obtained a BFA in Sculpture from the Faculty of Fine Arts in Damascus in 1988. Since then, he has been a prolific painter and sculptor, working with extreme discipline. Yazigi has held nineteen solo exhibitions of his work in Syria, Lebanon, Jordan, Egypt and Bahrain. He has participated in a large number of exhibitions in the Middle East, Europe and the U.S.A, and his works have been showcased in a number of international biennials and art fairs, including Art Paris, Art Paris Abu Dhabi, Art Dubai, Art Palm Beach and the Hong Kong International Fair. He lives and works in Damascus. 

Walid Taher:

Born in 1969, visual artist Walid graduated from the faculty of Fine Arts of Helwan University in 1992 with a specialization in Decor and a major in Expressive Arts. He worked in the field of illustrative journalism before his graduation in 1990 in various Egyptian journals. 

Taher wrote and illustrated children’s books and published 70 children’s books with Egyptian, Middle Eastern and European publishing houses. He has received many international awards within the field including Etisalat 2010-2016, Honor list Bologna (Italy)2004, Mahmod Koheil Award 2018, Al Sharjah book fair 2014, Short list in Carnet de voyage 2018, Egyptian Journalists Syndicate first prize 2004 and 2006, Shortlist Sheikh Zayed Award 2016 and the first prize in from the Egyptian Council for Children’s books in 2002. 

He also held the position of Art director of Dar Al Shorouk Publishing House from 2000 to 2016 and is currently a member of the Journalists and Visual Artists labor unions in Egypt. 

Walid has displayed his work in many solo and group exhibitions locally and abroad. He was granted a three year residency in France from 2016 till the current date by Same publishing house. Walid is currently working on producing a book in collaboration with the French publishing house Le Port a Jauni. 

Amira Behbehani:

Amira Behbehani a Kuwaiti self-taught artist, born in 1964-Kuwait. Began painting in 2001-2003 and participated in various international and local art exhibitions. In 2011 got involved in an international peace organization called PEACE ONE DAY and marked Kuwait the first Arab country to celebrate peace on the 21 September 2012, and in 2013 was appointed as the peace ambassador for WPMP (Peace Project Marker Project) in Kuwait, in 2015 became a member in the organisation Abolish 153. In 2013 Amira Behbehani exhibited Institute du monde arabe with Dar Al Funoon and had multiple solo exhibitions in the region. 


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