Exterior view of Contemporary Image Collective (CIC), Cairo, 2011. Photo: Mohamed El Maymony
Townhouse Gallery was established in 1998 as the first independent art space in Egypt, to make contemporary arts accessible to all without compromising creative practice. A nonprofit platform for creative inquiry, the gallery supports artistic work and a wide range of media through exhibitions, residencies for artists and curators, educational initiatives, and outreach programs. By establishing strong local and international relationships, as well as diversifying both the practitioners and audiences of contemporary art, Townhouse aims to support and expand the knowledge, appreciation, and practice of contemporary arts in Egypt and the region.
Policy-making and programming—from day-to-day activities to far-ranging goals—are deeply informed by the gallery’s location in downtown Cairo’s bustling car mechanics’ district. Neighborhood workers and residents, artists, and visitors all move within and throughout the gallery spaces and the lanes, blurring the line where Townhouse ends and the street begins.