British Council 80th Anniversary

The British Council’s 80th Anniversary in Egypt (1938–2018)

British Council Cairo
El Sawy Culture Wheel
Cairo, Egypt

November 15–17, 2018

On the occasion of the British Council’s oldest oversees office turning 80 years old, this archival exhibition features custom constructed elements and installations made to complement the celebratory events and programming at two venues in Cairo.

Point of departure is a commissioned review of the British Council’s work in Egypt since 1938 that examines past activities and the impact of this work on individuals and institutions across Egypt. The exhibition focuses on 21 stages and themes addressed in the review and features each in a condensed form, in English and Arabic, on large panels.

Each of these 21 panels is custom-fitted for the respective indoor and outdoor spaces and is paired with a historical picture from the archives, with the exception of two panels dedicated to the institute’s Famous Visitors that feature new illustrations. An indoor audio/video installation screens a loop of classic footage from previous British Council events in Egypt, such as The Royal Ballet performing Swan Lake at the pyramids in 1969. 

The panel installation at the main venue is flanked by two existing, dilapidated display cases that have been refurbished with a fresh coat of black paint and LEDs to resemble vintage marquee lighting. These cases are used to display rare photographs and original print matter from the British Council’s archives.