The new Zamalek venue invites Cairo to "seek something new everyday."
Egypt has storied history of art, one that in recent times has been experiencing something of a quiet renaissance, as more galleries and spaces open, which in turn offers a wider platform for the country’s deep pool of artistic talent. There has been one problem though, one that few have cared to try to address. There’s a disconnect in the art scene, one that renders much of the art we see as being detached, floating in a sea of obscure meanings and without roots.
This is something that The Nook is looking to fix. Described as an exhibition space and interdisciplinary concept store, the Zamalek-located venue is a feast for the senses that asks you to dig deeper.
“We don’t want you to just view the work,” founder, Indjy Taher, told CairoScene. “We want you to really get to know it and the people behind it.”
The Nook, which took Taher three months to turn from idea to reality, aspires to develop a vibrant, creative and welcoming platform, where a community of artists and art enthusiasts across all disciplines can meet and engage with each other, in the hope of elevating the understanding and knowledge of the stories behind every artwork and artist.
Much of Taher’s life has been fuelled by a passion for art and design. It was her time in the College of Fine Arts in Cairo, however, which really ignited and nurtured her appreciation of Egypt’s rich cultural heritage and opened her eyes to the arts, artisanship and craftsmanship that exist around her.
“I believe there is so much untouched and undiscovered beauty that people yearn for in everyday lives,” Taher told us. “[The Nook] is providing people with a space to explore the unknown, the chance to open their eyes. Who doesn’t want to experience something new and exciting and have the opportunity to then be able to take part of that home?”
What makes this space stand out is it takes a holistic and all-encompassing approach to its artistic mission. In addition to offering unique art-viewing and shopping experiences, it has an in-house café catered by Cake Café, has established a partnership with Cairo florist, Flower Power, and hosts events, talks and workshops.
When asked about the name, The Nook, Taher’s answer gives insight into her own mind and the motivation behind this interdisciplinary melange.
“My friends say I’m a hermit and tend to hide out in my comfort zone,” she explains. “There’s a little truth behind that, but I’m also very inquisitive and find great joy in visiting the nooks and crannies Cairo and almost any city I visit. I find comfort in little nooks and wanted to create the same experience for others.”
The Nook’s first exhibition, which launched at the same time as the opening, was ‘Aydy El Na3ma’ By Amina Kaddous. The title is a reference to the historical and social backgrounds of the Egyptian working class, inspired by Youssef El Sebai’s 1964 novel-turned-movie of the same name. Like much of the elements that make The Nook so unique, the exhibition also feeds into the ultimate goal.
“Our contribution to the world is to empower one another and host co-branded events to help spark the interest in Cairo’s art scene. We aim to continue to develop our own brand and collections as well as collaborate with existing brands that tie-in with our story.
Stay up-to-date with The Nook on Instagram.)