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El-Nafeza Center for Cultural Development
History and Background

El Nafeza Foundation for Contemporary Art & Development

An Egyptian foundation working in the fields of art and development, legally registered in 2007 though it has been informally working since 2002. Its Papermaking Centre is located in El Fustat district, in Masr El Qadima (Old Egypt). El Nafeza''s main fields of interest are development through art and contemporary art, especially the art book.

In Development: El Nafeza organizes workshops for youth, especially girls, in papermaking from the agricultural refuse, and establishes specialized training centres to teach and spread the arts and techniques of the recycled papers made from papers and agricultural refuse – especially rice straws, Nile water lilies and bananas stalks.

In Art: El Nafeza organizes local and international exhibitions and workshops in the field of the artist and art book, as its founder, Dr. Mohamed Abou El Naga, is the innovator and founder of Imagining the Book Biennale, held in Alexandria and supervised by him in 2002 and 2005. El Nafeza also provides database and news for artists and people interested in the field of artist and art book through El Nafeza''s website.

El Nafeza produces and designs different handmade paper products (such as presents boxes, books covers, lighting units, etc), which are shown in different exhibitions and are displayed in different places in and outside Egypt, including the Bibliotheca Alexandrina, the Townhouse Gallery, El Khaton in Al-Azhar district, the Catacomb in Maadi, Phardise in Alexandria and Alanda Gallery in Jordan. El Nafeza continuously innovates new ways of using handmade papers, notably in purposes of interior design to attract new customers and open new markets locally and worldwide.

It cooperates with other civil society organizations (CSOs) interested in projects of increasing income, especially for marginalized categories and people with special needs, as a way of reaching the impoverished rural societies that need a new craft to help eliminate poverty and improve the living conditions.

El Nafeza seeks to revive and spread the papermaking industry, contributing to the protection of environment through disposal of agricultural refuse, such as rice straws, Nile water lilies and paper refuse – in an environmentally friendly way. It tries to provide an untraditional source of income for many of the people of the countryside and poor areas, by teaching them the art of papermaking, especially girls, and also people with special needs, such as the deaf and mute.

In the space between art and development, El Nafeza supports many experiments and workshops run by artists with papermakers at the centre, exchanging artistic experiences and techniques in mutual creation, as most of the book arts are based on handmade books and papers made by the centre.

The artist''s special experience, therefore, is supported and new horizons are opened for imagination and creation, by means of the projects that support the exchange of experiences and techniques, and cultural exchange, opening communication channels and dialogue through art as a human expression.

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