Thursday February 13, 2020
The life of Reda Ahmed — born into the family of a small-hold farmer in the village of Harrania near the pyramids of Giza – would likely have been as unremarkable as that of most girls born and raised in the Egyptian countryside had it not been for the presence nearby of the Ramses Wissa Wassef Art Centre.
From the age of ten, Reda, along with other village children, came to the Centre after school and during the long summer holidays to play in the garden and to weave under the mentoring of Suzanne Wissa Wassef, daughter of the Centre’s founder, Ramses, and his successor in the Centre’s pioneering work in tapping and nurturing the artist latent in children.
From the start, Reda enjoyed weaving on the simple vertical loom and participating in the annual wool dyeing of the many colors of yarn which go into the vibrant, detailed depictions of life in rural Egypt for which Wissa Wassef tapestry weavers are famous.
By her early twenties, Reda was a second generation full-time, master weaver, with a passion for her art which continues to this day and has seen her creations featured regularly in exhibitions of Wissa Wassef tapestries worldwide for over three decades.
Indeed, Reda herself, as practicing artist, has been on display. In 2006, the artist participated in a Ramses Wissa Wassef tapestry exhibition at the “Brunei Gallery” of the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS) at London University, where, over a period of two weeks, she captivated exhibition visitors, displaying her artistic and creative abilities as she wove on a small loom in the exhibition hall.
Today, aged 56, mother of three and grandmother of five, she continues to weave with passion, providing valuable income to her family since her husband’s retirement.
Works by Reda Ahmed will be on display in a collection of Ramses Wissa Wassef tapestries to be exhibited at the “Tucson Botanical Garden”- Tucson, Arizona, in September 2020.
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