The graduation projects of art students in Cairo this year reflect the conflicting feelings that many experienced as a result of the social restrictions imposed because of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Drawing inspiration from multiple patterns of Egyptian heritage, the works combine experimentation in the use of raw materials with the latest digital technologies, thus revealing a connection with the contemporary world.
There are five faculties of fine arts in Cairo and other parts of Egypt, in addition to the faculties of applied arts and art education. Students at these institutions recently completed the academic end-of-year exams and submitted their graduation projects, the fourth stage in a five-year course leading to a bachelor’s degree.
The course starts with a preparatory year, after which students choose a major, usually painting, sculpture or graphics. The fifth year ends with theoretical and practical exams, but the graduation projects make up a large percentage of the final grade, and a good grade on the project is essential to graduate.
Randa Fakhry, an assistant professor of painting in the Faculty of Fine Arts at Helwan University, says the graduation project is the first thing to put in a student’s CV, because it “is considered a turning point in practical life.”
Fakhry, who is an independent artist as well as an academic, notes that students discuss their ideas and initial sketches with the teaching staff before choosing the methods and elements of artistic approach.