The Egyptians Are Here! The Egyptians Are Here!
After much red tape and support from both the local and international community, ArtUp gathered enough letters of support to get approval from Homeland Security to bring the Egyptians to Pittsburgh for the exhibit's closing events. Because of the superfluous paper work for special petition visas and to help finance artist Amado Al Fadni’s ticket, the organization reached out to their audience/supporters. Unlike in the U.S., if you are born in Egypt, that does not mean you are an Egyptian citizen. Al Fadni carries a Sudanese passport and by international law, could not have a layover in Europe without a time absorbing & expensive transit visa. Without the generous donations from ArtUp followers, Amado would not have been able to participate in the final closing events. Thank you ArtUp and SITES OF PASSAGE supporters for making this possible!!
ArtUp would also like to extend a special thanks to The Mattress Factory Museum, Jaren Love and Senator Casey’s office, the World Affairs Council, the Center of Arts in Society at CMU, the University of Pittsburgh Theatre Department, the U.E., AFTRA, Gateway to the Arts, the Ellis School, and Ambassador Cynthia Schneider for all their hard work in making this trip for the Egyptians possible.
The project would never have come to fruition if it were not for the generous founding support of The Heinz Foundation, The Pittsburgh Foundation and the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts, Artist Residency Egypt, and the Fayoum International Art Center.
There was such an outpouring of interest to see the Egyptians that ArtUp had to unfortunately turn down offers to visit many local artists, organizations and institutions. There simply were not enough hours in the day. However, the Egyptians saw snow for the first time in their lives and were able to tour select schools, art studios, museums, and organizations in the Pittsburgh area.
A few Pittsburgh artists were able to lead private tours for the Egyptians around town. Stops included Pamela’s in the Strip District for a great American breakfast and the CREATE Lab at Carnegie Mellon University’s Robotics Institute, where the Egyptians got to ride in an electric car and play with the Gigapan camera!
Tours of the Mattress Factory Museum, the Carnegie Museum and the Warhol were a huge hit- while studio visits were also essential to the cultural emersion, meeting sound artists like tENTATIVELY a convenience and fellow Egyptian artist Kamal Youssef and his family in Amish country.
Charlie Humphrey was very generous with his time and gave the delegation a tour of Pittsburgh Filmmakers, The Pittsburgh Glass Center, as well as the Pittsburgh Center for the Arts. The Egyptians also got a chance to talk and interact will Ellis students where Director and co-Curator La Follette runs workshops. The artists addressed the upper school, made visits to the Art History class and met with a room full of 5th graders studying ancient Egypt. These 5th graders had some of the most honest and interesting questions!
The Egyptian’s also got a taste of good ol' U.S. consumerism. Apparently Pillow Pets are no longer just a U.S. phenomena!
Sites of Passage officially closed on Saturday, February 11th, 2012. Stay tuned for more information on our next Tunnel - rumor has it that it will likely be digging with Israel / Palestine!