Following Napoleon’s 1798 invasion, Egypt was the first country in the Arabic-speaking world to be exposed to Western art on a large scale. In 1908 Prince Yusef Kamel, member of the royal family, opened the Cairo School of Fine Arts. Today the newly renovated Egyptian Museum of Modern Art surveys Egyptian artists from the late 19th century onwards,. A one-hour late-afternoon visit can segue into an evening of gallery-hopping (hire a car and driver from the hotel to stay with you) in the upscale Zamalek neighborhood on Gezira Island, across the east branch of the Nile from the Conrad. Al Masar Gallery represents an older generation of artists such as sculptor Adel Henein alongside young up-and-comers such as Khaled Hafez, and Kareem Al Qurity, who has done portraits of police and soldiers. Opened in 2011, , Gallery Misr exhibits paintings, sculpture, drawings, and audio and visual installations and photography by Egyptian artists including Nadine Hammam, whose Tank Girl, depicting a naked woman astride an Egyptian army tank, Ubuntu, opened in 2014, offers a platform to artists from many different social backgrounds. Safar Khan founder Sherwet Shafei is often on hand to greet visitors.. Across the street, Zamalek Art Gallery, founded by friends in 1999, houses a permanent collection of Egyptian pioneers as well as promising young talent. . Share discoveries and keep up with the scene on the @ART_EGYPT Instagram account. After your art crawl, dine alfresco along the Nile on Egyptian-Italian fusion dishes at Left Bank. Just off busy 26th of July Street, Cairo Kitchen serves modern versions of stuffed vine leaves or traditional Egyptian stews and salads—try the hummus lightened with pureed carrots—made with only organic ingredients.
The Egyptian Museum of Modern Art is in the Gezira Exhibition Grounds, near the Al Ahly Sporting Club and the Cairo Tower. The Al Masar Gallery is on the corner of 26th of July Street and Aziz Abaza Street, near the Zamalek end of the 15th of May Bridge. Gallery Misr is on Bin Zanke Street, just off Hassan Sabry Street, also in Zamalek. You can find Ubuntu further down Hassan Sabry Street, and Safr Khan is on Brazil Street. Continue down Brazil Street to number 11 to find the Zamalek Art Gallery. Left Bank is on Abou El Feda Street, at the northernmost tip of Zamalek. Cairo Kitchen is at the corner of El Aziz Othman Street and 26th of July Street.
EGYPTIAN MUSEUM OF MODERN ART: Gezira Exhibition Grounds, opposite the Opera House; 20-2-2736-6665
AL MASAR GALLERY:Baehler’s Mansion 157 b. 26 July St. Zamalek, Cairo Governorate 11561; 20 2 27368537; Hours: Sunday-Thursday 11AM–9PM,Friday-Saturday Closed; almasargallery.com
GALLERY MISR: 4A Ibn Zanke St., off Hassan Sabry St.; 20-12-2273-0838; misrgallery.com
UBUNTU: 20 Hassan Sabry St.; 20-10-0279-2223
SAFR KHAN: 6 Brazil St.; 20-2-2735-3314; safarkhan.com
ZAMALEK ART GALLERY: 11 Brazil St.; 20-2-2735-1240; zamalekartgallery.com
LEFT BANK: 53 Abou El Feda St.; 20-2-2735-0014
CAIRO KITCHEN: 118 26th of July St. (entrance on Aziz Othman St.); 20-2-2735-4000; cairokitchen.com; no alcohol is served