Sylvia Ragheb, an avid collector of contemporary Egyptian art, has opened Syra Arts in the Washington Design Center. At a VIP reception in the gallery on April 25th, she discussed the vibrant collection and the artists behind the work.
While living in Egypt for the past 20 years, Ragheb not only amassed a collection of modern paintings and sculpture, but also befriended many of the artists. “I formed a special bond with them and watched them work,” she says.
Since moving to the States last year, the Dutch-born Ragheb decided to launch a gallery that would expose these artists—most of whom are celebrated internationally—to the American market. “I wanted to be able to show how diverse Egyptian art is,” she explains. “There is so much more to Egypt than what we know in the West. It’s not all about politics.”
Among the fascinating pieces on display are abstract bronze sculptures by Adam Henein, striking acrylics by Essam Marouf and mixed-media works by Khaled Hafez.
“My main aim,” Ragheb says, “is to get people to say, ‘I never expected Egyptian art to be like this.’”
Syra Arts is located on the Concourse level of the Washington Design Center, 300 D Street, SW; 703-944-3824. syra-arts.com —Sharon Jaffe Dan