Collage Earthworks Schmuckstück von Marwa Zakaria

Earth Works: Encounter of ceramic artists from Austria and Egypt

With the support of „POTS und BLITZ – Keramik, Porzellan und Designmarkt“ and its organiser MTS Wien GmbH, the VIENNA DESIGN WEEK, as well as the Hildegard Burjan Parish, ADAM brought Marwa Zakaria and Khaled Sirag, both top artists and lecturers at the Faculty of Applied Arts at Helwan University in Cairo, Egypt, to Vienna for 9 days. Both have already been represented at numerous national and international exhibitions and have received several awards.

The programme jointly organised by the aforementioned cooperation partners took both to the ceramics studio of the Angewandte in Vienna, to the VIENNA DESIGN WEEK and to numerous artist and intercultural encounters.

The highlight was the successful exhibition of the works of Marwa Zakaria and Khaled Sirag at the MTS „Pots und Blitz – Keramik, Porzellan und Designmarkt“ in the MuseumsQuartier, which every year features artists from Austria and abroad as well as young talents selected by a jury of experts.

This cooperation makes sense not only from a historical perspective: the predecessor institution of today’s University of Applied Arts, the Imperial and Royal School of Applied Arts, was founded in Vienna in 1867 and also taught ceramics. The independent Institute of Art and Ceramics emerged in 1918 from the Faculty of Applied Arts, which had already been founded in Cairo in 1836. Both institutes are among the oldest faculties with ceramics training in the world. An important classification system for historical Egyptian ceramics was introduced there in the 1980s under the title „Vienna System“: a common terminology for describing the raw material for ceramic products made it easier for archaeologists to describe and classify the finds.

In the examination of nature and the environment, history and mythology, as well as the current challenges of humanity, soil and (the) earth do not only play a symbolic role and are more than the material of ceramic objects. The raw material itself reflects our interaction with the planet. The shaping of utilitarian objects, sacred objects and art is one of the oldest cultural techniques that mankind has developed in various regions of the world since the Palaeolithic.

The meeting in autumn 2022 is to be the prelude to a cooperation of Austrian ceramists with the Faculty of Applied Arts in Cairo and Egyptian artists, which we also want to continue in Austria in 2024.

Images: (c) mts