Nūn Art Gallery is a unique contemporary art gallery in Luxor, Egypt, that organizes art exhibitions and art events. It is dedicated to showcasing the impressive visual artworks of Egyptian artists and non-Egyptians living in Egypt, continuously promoting established artists as well as searching for new talents.
Nūn Art Gallery was founded and is jointly managed by Sayed Qinawi and Claudia Ali. From February 2020 on, Nūn Art Gallery is reviving the well-known art space beside Wannas Art Cafe close to the Nile on the west bank of Luxor.
From 2008 to 2015, Sayed Qinawy worked for internationally renowned British artist Brian Flynn, who lives in Luxor. With a passion for contemporary art, Sayed created Luxor’s first-ever art gallery, the “Gallery Symbolique”, just behind the famous Old Winter Palace Hotel in 2010, which showcased Brian’s works. Art enthusiast Claudia Ali entered the art field in Luxor as a visitor bringing flowers at the opening.
As the tourism collapsed in 2011, the gallery had to close, but Sayed’s idea of an art gallery didn’t. In 2018, he created and co-founded the Luxor Art Gallery on the west bank of Luxor. Claudia visited, photographed and documented all exhibitions on her German Luxor website (link below). She witnessed the necessity and the success of a gallery for contemporary art in Luxor.
Originally from Germany, she loves art and has focused on ancient Egyptian art during her first years in Luxor. The knowledge that she attained was and still is incorporated in her several Luxor websites, for which she designs, writes and photographs.
When Sayed asked Claudia by the end of 2019 to co-found with him a new gallery in the same locality she felt very honored and hadn’t to think twice. So, the Nūn Art Gallery, which opened its doors on 1st February 2020, was born.
Until the current pandemic forced every venue to close in Mid-March, they organized two exhibition openings and two art events (one was a watercolor workshop conducted by an artist). Since then, they’ve also used the spare time in a creative way, working with new Egyptian artists and presented their artworks online on our website.
All in all, down to the present day, NUN cooperates with 26 artists and manage more than 200 artworks. As Luxor is an attractive place for contemporary artists, more and more artists want to join and are on our waiting list.
WHAT WOULD MAKE YOUR SOUL SING? WHAT MAKES YOU HAPPY?
Claudia & Sayed: Organizing art events at Nūn Art Gallery and seeing happy people all-around us makes us happy. It gives us the feeling that we make a difference and change the lives of our visitors for the better.
A CHILDHOOD STORY THAT ANNOUNCED THE CREATIVE PERSON YOU ARE TODAY
Claudia: My first memory is that when I was just 3 years old I loved colors, bright and brilliant colors, and I picked flowers to have all these colors around me. However, I was quick on the uptake that I shortened their life that way, what made me feel very sad. So I started to draw them. Flowers alone and floral decorations on Indian elephants. Later, when I was enrolled in school I wanted to visit every art and ethnological museum nearby spending hours there – much to the dismay of the accompanying adults, who weren’t interested like me. Although I was a very obedient child I got my way.
Sayed: Ever since I can remember I was interested in the village folklore. I loved to hear the tales of the old men and was impressed to see how they dressed and acted. Later, I followed a program on one of our two TV channels, called “Atelier”. Every week, they presented famous international artists and their techniques set to western classical music. I recognized that there was something very different to me and my life in the world outside. I also felt that I was different from my friends who weren’t interested at all in these things, which inspired me.
BEST CONTEXT EVER FOR INSPIRATION WAS
Claudia: For me the best context was and is the good collaboration with my partner Sayed. Our teamwork is very fruitful as we complement each other.
Sayed: Luxor and its monuments of Ancient Egypt is my source of inspiration.
THE PROJECT YOU LOVED MOST
Claudia & Sayed: We always love the current one most, although we think every time there is no enhancement possible.
THE PROJECT OTHERS LOVED MOST
Claudia & Sayed: We guess our exhibition openings as they are always an occasion to see great art and meet many of the artists as well as friends also living in Luxor. The gallery really is a dynamic hub for locals and expats.
THE BEST THING ABOUT EGYPTIAN CREATIVITY IS
Claudia: It connects the magnificent past with the vibrant present.
Sayed: The unlimited knowledge of ancient Egypt connected with contemporary art.
BEST STATEMENT OF EGYPTIAN HUMOR
Claudia: Should we tell you a joke??? Humor is a survival strategy in Egypt. Nothing can be so serious not to crack a joke.
Sayed: Even in difficult times you can find a smile around.
ADVICE FOR INTERNATIONAL HEADHUNTERS, RELATED TO EGYPTIAN CREATIVES
Claudia & Sayed: Contact us! As many Egyptian creatives only speak Arabic it’s difficult to find them on search engines.
BEST PLACE IN CAIRO
Claudia & Sayed: Old Cairo with all its wonderful architecture.
BEST PLACE IN EGYPT
Claudia & Sayed: The very best place in Egypt is Luxor, to be exact the wonderful western bank of Luxor with all its spiritual ancient monuments, touching landscapes and welcoming people.
MOST DISTURBING CLICHÉ ABOUT EGYPT, IN THE MEDIA OUTLETS OF THE WORLD IS
Claudia & Sayed: The most disturbing cliché is that to travel to Egypt is more dangerous than elsewhere in the world. Egypt is as safe as other places/countries in the world are.
EGYPT SHOULD BE KNOWN FOR:
Claudia: Not only for his impressive ancient sites but also for its vivid art scene. Before the pandemic stopped everything I had the feeling Egypt is full of art to bursting point. Art exhibitions, fairs and events took place everywhere.
Sayed: Egypt should be known for its crafts, for its artists, for its pure spirit.
YOUR VIEWS ON SPIRITUALITY
Claudia: Spirituality is something very personal (the beliefs, the paths). However, spirituality should be well-grounded so as not to lose grip on reality and get hopelessly lost in unknown spheres.
I experienced that it doesn’t need a lot of “practice” in Luxor. To connect with the Higher Self, it suffices walking around the ground of the necropolis or the temples, where through thousands of years highly spiritual rituals took place. Or to go boating on the eternal and endless waters of the Nile.
Sayed: Our spirituality makes us alive. With every breath we take, we take in the spirits, which are in everything, especially at the magical west bank of Luxor.
Our future is already written in the texts of ancient Egypt, for example in the inscriptions of temple walls. Even if we can’t read them we can connect with them through our inner wisdom that allows us to understand them and work with them.
YOUR VIEWS ON MONEY
Claudia: It’s necessary but not what actuates or stimulates me.
Sayed: It makes you free and allows you to be creative.
AN INSPIRATION SOURCE YOU RECOMMEND FOR A YOUNG CREATIVE
Claudia: I recommend a visit to Luxor spending a lot of time on the Nile and the necropolis at the edge of the desert. That’s why we currently work on a new project, namely the “Artist in Residence” program: to offer creative people an environment to boost their creativity.
Sayed: The temple reliefs are the inspiration source I recommend. You mustn’t understand them to be inspired, just look at them.
AN EGYPT BASED FEMALE TALENT THAT DESERVES TO BE PROMOTED AT INTERNATIONAL LEVEL, AS EXPONENT OF LOCAL CREATIVE SPIRIT
Claudia & Sayed: We have so many female talents here, it was really a hard decision o choose just one. We decided to vote for Mervat Shazly Hilaly. Mervat was born in Aswan. In 1992, she finished her studies at the Painting Department of the Faculty of Fine Arts at the Helwan University, Cairo, and earned a bachelor degree in 1998. She is a graduate of the Cairo College of Fine Arts and holds a master degree and PhD in arts. Mervat participated in many exhibitions and received a couple of awards. Her Nubian roots are reflected in her powerful artworks.
“Art is what drives out all the hidden aspects of a human soul, especially for an artist. And for me, what inspired my art is the diverse universe of femininity with its common and repressed emotions and thoughts and the desire for self-accomplishment in life’s tedious paths with all that influences them.”
If you are interested in reading more about this unique contemporary art gallery, check out their official website here.