Monday, September 10, 2007

For the Artist in All of Us

Out on the Mariouteya Road on the way to Sakkara is a unique art center. Fagnoon is run by Mohamed Allam who decided to give children an artistic outlet in a way that no one else here has ever done. His center is in the countryside and out in the sunlight and fresh air. For 40 LE (roughly $8) a child can spend all day on two art projects and no one will rush him. The projects range from pottery to painting to wood working and staff are on hand to help with materials or an extra hand. The center itself is built in a totally child-friendly fashion with outdoor pottery wheels set in a garden that is reached by a curving bridge that is much stronger than it looks. Patios on the second floors are connected by other bridges and part of the ground floor has a wonderful net made of coloured cotton material for children to climb, slide down and swing from. Activity is the order of the day. A small flock of goats roam the pottery garden and there is a huge pile of lumber for choosing wood with which to work. Open air showers are even available to clean paint and mud from mucky artists before they get back in the car. The name of the center, Fagnoon, is an Arabic joke based on the words for artist "Fanan" and crazy "Megnoon". It's a wonderful place to go nuts, as I noticed the day I visited when a group of college students (probably people who started coming to the center while still in secondary school) were streaking about the upper verandahs with water balloons. Many of the schools in the area use the center for art classes, and it's usually a favourite with students long after they leave for college.

My photos may be a bit spotty for a while as my camera is unhappy and must go in for service. Meanwhile, I'll see what I can do with my Nokia....


Susan said...

Isn't this place wonderful? I took a group of 8 year olds, and they absolutely loved it! Gorgeous backdrop of Sakkara pyramids, too.

Anonymous said...

We took our kids there in December when we were in Egypt visiting relatives. The goat and donkeys were huge hits as was the pottery wheel. I also loved the view of the Sakkara pyramid. I got a great photo of it as the sun was going down.

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