Wissa Wassef, Ramses (1911-1974)

Ramses Wissa Wassef, 1911-1974. Ramses Wissa Wassef, 1911-1974.

Ramses Wissa Wassef was an Egyptian architect and professor of art and architecture at the College of Fine Arts, Cairo. He and his father-in-law, Habib Gorgi, believed that children were (and are) endowed with creative powers and with a potential that should be encouraged.

In 1951, Wissa Wassef established the Ramses Wissa Wassef Art Centre, near the Giza Pyramids. The aim was to teach Egyptian village children to create art, and tapestries in particular. He encouraged the children to weave, and later on to embroider images based on things they saw around them in their villages, such as women talking and making bread, men working in the fields, weddings, birds, fish, and so forth. It was his intention that no two patterns on the tapestries or embroideries should be the same.

One of the basic aims of the project was for the children (and later adults) to create items that could be sold to earn money for their families, while keeping their creativity alive. The Wissa Wassef school was a success and since then there have been many individuals and groups who have copied this approach. Not surprisingly, the Wissa Wassef style of spontaneous embroidery has influenced designs on embroideries and appliqué panels produced in other parts of Egypt and beyond.

See also the TRC Needles entries on Akhmim embroidery; Street of the Tentmakers and Wissa Wassef embroidery.

Source: MENHEZ, Shahira and Gillian VOGELSANG-EASTWOOD (2016), 'Embroidery from Egypt,' in: Gillian Vogelsang-Eastwood (ed.), Encyclopedia of Embroidery from the Arab World, London: Bloomsbury Academic, pp. 264-293, esp. pp. 270-271.

Digital source of illustration (retrieved 1st July 2016).


Last modified on Tuesday, 02 May 2017 16:46