Earth Gallery, a quaint and vibrant store located in Maadi has introduced us to the wonderful dream-catcher and friendship-bracelet world.
We wanted to know more about how Earth Gallery came to be so we invited over its founders, Hoda Ismail and Mohamed Aref, for a Prime Talk.
Prime Magazine: How did two artists come together to create a fashionable art inspired store.
Hoda Ismail: We started with graffiti street art and we wanted to do something more professional. We moved on to mural paintings, working on painting people’s offices, rooms or houses. Then, we figured we wanted to have our own products – that’s when we started to do the whole gallery thing. We started to apply our designs to products, such as paintings.
PM: And you still have paintings?
HI: We still do the murals but we’re focusing more on the products, because we do everything ourselves.
PM: So all your products are handmade?
PM: How long does it take you to restock, since everything is handmade?
Mohmaed Aref: One necklace, for example, takes about an hour.
PM: Were you taught how to make everything?
MA: I taught myself how to make everything. Hoda studied Fine Arts at university though. I didn’t study art.
PM: [To Hoda] That’s where you learned and were taught to make all these handmade products?
HI: Yeah, I majored in scenography, which is where I studied the interior design and fashion design. But mostly all the products we make I taught myself how to make, that’s what Mohamed has been doing since he was young. Since he never studied art, I feel like his mind is more open. Since I know all the rules I have all these restrictions and he’s more open to imagination and that’s a good thing, so we kind of work well together.
PM: I noticed that you guys have expanded your products to include clothes. Were you always interested in that – did you always want to expand that way?
HI: Actually, clothes came first. Well, let me tell you something about the whole idea behind the “earth” thing. Where this all came from is that when we started working on the designs, we tried to put hidden messages in our art and everything that we design. We try to put simple elements representing different cultures from around the world. For instance, in one single painting you can find small elements representing Indian, Native American, or Mexican culture. So, after paintings, we wanted to do clothes, clothes that were inspired from cultures. We have some skirts that are inspired by the Pharaohs and the Harem pants, from the Alexandrian fishermen.
PM: Favorite brand?
HI: The first thing I can think of is Desigual.
What would you never leave the house without?
MA: My iPod
HI: Yeah, iPod.
Dream celebrity to meet?
HI: Stephen Tyler.
Blonde or brunette?
Twitter or Instagram?
Favorite country to visit?
HI: not sure.
Dream catcher or friendship bracelets?
MA: Dream catcher.
HI: Dream catcher.
Favorite thing about Egypt?
Favorite thing about Maadi?
HI: It’s very cozy and quiet.
MA: It’s home.
If you could open a branch anywhere else, where?
MA: Probably Zamalek?
Maadi or Zamalek?
Threads or beads?
Bracelet or necklace?
Rainbow or black?
Hoda and Mohamed finished the Prime Lightning Round in 2:07 minutes.
PM: I wanted to ask you both if you have a favorite piece from your collection?
HI: I think our favorites are our murals.
PM: What’s your life motto/favorite quote?
HI: “What goes around comes around.”
MA: Do whatever makes you happy.
PM: We went on a Prime Hunt for Cairo’s best creative Konafa and one of the top 3 was Nino’s Bakery. What do you think of Nino’s brownies?
MA: they’re very good.
PM: This month we are searching for Cairo’s best mushroom burger, what’s your favorite burger joint in Cairo?
MA: Lucille’s or Fuddruckers.
PM: Do you have any ideas on what we could hunt for next?
HI: I was thinking you should search for something that you don’t find everywhere, like Chinese food.
Hoda and Mohamed couldn’t leave without drawing on our Prime wall and leaving us a sweet message! It just goes to show that when you’re passionate about something, it exudes through your everyday activities… even through simple things like leaving a message on a wall.
Special thanks to Nino’s bakery for catering Hoda and Mohamed’s interview with those delicious Ruby Brownies!