By Ahmed Mansour
The Bridge is a traveling exhibition that showcases the diverse work of 47 contemporary visual artists from all over the world. The goal of the exhibition is to correct the misunderstanding that exists between the Middle East and the West, Christians, Muslims, and Jews and to create a cultural and religious unity between all.
The exhibition was sponsored and hosted by Sodic, a real estate development company, with the British Council, Syra Arts and United Religions Initiative as program partners.
“The turn out did exceed our expectations and the work that has been donated was just as beautiful as was expected,” said Perry Huessian, the Head of the Marketing Team at Sodic. “Spreading that specific message now is more important than ever especially with all the misconceptions about religions that has been roaming. We also get the chance to support all the local artists that have more and more issues with the funding to spread their work and make a living out of it, even though there has been an art renaissance after the revolutions here in Egypt. So in a way, we are indirectly helping artists to reach their goals, helping charity organizations, and promoting religious unity.”
Organized by Caravan, an international humanitarian art NGO, The Bridge was first presented in Paris at the historic church of Saint-Germain-des-Pres in the Latin Quarter, the oldest church in Paris, during the first week of February 2015 to commemorate the United Nations World Interfaith Harmony Week.
“The idea of The Bridge came to me because I grew up in Senegal, West Africa, which is considered to be a Muslim country,” said Rev. Paul-Gordon Chander, Founder and President of Caravan. “For the first 20 years I grew up with a Christian family, but I did have a lot of Muslim friends, but all my life I did feel there was tension between Muslims and Christians, and I also remember that I kept wondering that there had to be a way in which to ease the tension between the religions, so I dedicated my life to build this bridge of understanding between religions by using music and visual arts.”
“I consider The Bridge different than any of the other events that Caravan has organized,” added Rev. Chander. “We have artists contributing to this event from all over the world, particularly from the Middle East, but the fact that their work will go to the West is very promising.”
The showcased artwork, which has been donated by the artists contributing to the event, were specially made for The Bridge and will be up for sale for the highest bidder, in which 60 percent of the money will go to charities based in Egypt and 40 percent will go to the artists.
“I have believed in this event ever since it started in Paris, and the fact that it came to Cairo is a pleasure. The idea behind The Bridge, which is combining the East and the West and all the religions in between, is just a marvelous idea and all people should take it into consideration,” said Randa Fahmy Aboul-Nasr, the Co-Founder of Syra Arts.
Sodic is one of the region’s leading real estate development companies and is currently developing a number of large and diversified projects in Egypt. Sodic’s development ranges from residential projects of different types to retail, commercial and large scale mixed-use city centers in the east and west of Cairo.
Originating from Cairo and based in Chicago, Caravan focuses on building bridges through the arts between the creeds and cultures of the Middle-East and West. Caravan’s experience has shown that the arts can serve as one of the most effective mediums to enhance the understanding, bring about respect, enable sharing and deepen friendship between those of different faiths and cultures.