Darb 1718, an Egyptian NGO founded by visual artist and cultural activist Moataz Nasr, is situated at the crux of a site with Roman, Islamic and Coptic civilizations. Moataz got the idea and name for the center during the 1977 “Bread Revolution” in Egypt, where he was an active participant. The name is a pun on the Arabic words “path” and “to hit”, and seeks to create a path for lasting societal change through the platform of art and culture.
Despite many of the bureaucratic obstacles that faced Darb 1718, they persevered, officially opening their doors as a non-profit NGO in December 2008. Now running as a contemporary art space with two art galleries, performance and workshop spaces, a spacious outdoor cinema, roof lounge and artist-in-residence studio along with a living space, Darb 1718 works to connect local Egyptian and international creatives to one another, offering a space to collaborate, be inspired and allow Egypt’s rich cultural scene to thrive.
Through their belief that artists are vehicles to change, Darb 1718 hopes that they can promote social change through connectivity and the promotion of cultural experiences and events. They also aim to have a longer term impact on the Fustat area which surrounds the cultural center, an area that is on the by and large not thriving economically. Darb 1718 also eventually aims to offer creative training opportunities for those residents that will aid in the generation of income and the improvement of their neighborhoods and lives, and to boost tourism in the area which in turn improves the neighborhood as well.