The Ramses Wissa Wassef Art Centre is making several activities:
1- The Art School:
It was in 1941 that Ramses Wissa Wassef was asked to build a small primary school in the old quarter of Cairo. This architectural project gave him just the educational opportunity he had been seeking. Wanting to provide a fairly simple technical process as a vehicle for the children’s efforts, he asked the committee, which had initially commissioned the building, if it were possible to let him teach weaving to the children after school. Here, it is interesting to note that Ramses knew little of the practical aspects of weaving before taking on the project. In preparation, he read up on the subject at length and experimented with the craft on his own. He also researched on how to prepare and use natural vegetables dyes; a practice he felt would give more control over the colours produced. Since that time only natural vegetable dyes have been used on the wool that goes into the tapestries.
Admirers of his achievement frequently ask why Ramses Wissa Wassef chose weaving as the medium for his experiment.
2- On-line Gallery of Ramses Wissa Wassef Art School Tapestries:
An extended essay about Ramses Wissa Wassef''s philosophy and the history of the Art Centre, this lavishly illustrated book is an essential companion to The Brunei Gallery Exhibition. It explains the background to the "experiment in creativity", its trial in the 1940s, the move to Harrania in the 1950s and the extraordinary tapestries produced there ever since by the first generation of children to learn the craft of high-warp weaving. The book also describes how, after the death of Ramses in 1974, his widow Sophie continued the original project while a new, second generation of weavers has been guided by Ramses and Sophie''s daughters to become masters like the first. There are photographs of work produced in the early years of the experiment, of the Art Centre buildings and their setting, and of many of the tapestries in the exhibition. This publication will be invaluable both as a source of information and as record of many of the outstanding works created at the Centre.