Townhouse Gallery gets into the election spirit


‘Politics of Representation’ exhibition in Townhouse Gallery displays diverse range of materials used by candidates in Egypt’s ongoing parliamentary elections.

[Published in Ahram Online]

The abundance of new parties competing in Egypt’s parliamentary elections has left many voters baffled. The voting process, the division of voting into three stages, the huge array of candidates, and no central information centre within each district to disseminate information, has been very confusing, especially for voters unused to voting in a freely-fought election. There have been many schemes to educate voters, but this is the first initiative originating from Cairo’s art scene that has come to Ahram Online’s attention.

“For the first time we have so many candidates using a new visual language beyond painted street banners,” said Dina Kafafi, Townhouse’s PR & Media Officer. “We thought it would be interesting to collect these visuals and showcase them in the gallery to give people a chance to reflect on them.”

The exhibition is a mixture of visual art and voter education. Displaying all the election posters in an organised fashion in the same room gives potential voters the opportunity to examine them in detail and read about the parties to make an informed decision.

“Audiences look at how different people use design elements such as photography, font, and colour to disseminate information,” commented Kafafi.

The exhibition is organised chronologically and by party coalition. There are posters from Islamist, liberal, leftist and independent candidates. The materials showcased include posters, banners, flyers, leaflets and cards.

“Posters are set up in the same way they are on the street, more than one in the same spot and overlapping each other at times,” said Kafafi.

Townhouse will add to the exhibition throughout the election period. “This exhibition depends on public participation,” Kafafi commented. “There is a box on the first floor of the exhibition where anyone can drop off posters that will be put up the next day.”

There is a computer screen showing voter education videos posted on the official election website of the youth group Al-Qabila TV.

The exhibition’s final section is dedicated to English and Arabic maps of political party profiles that can be found on the Arabist blog.

The gallery will be recording election results as they appear.



The exhibition opened at the Townhouse Gallery on 4 December and will continue until 6 January 2012

The Townhouse Gallery, 10 Nabrawy St., off Champollion St., Downtown Cairo

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