Raphael Cormack has a PhD from Edinburgh in Arabic theatre. He is the co-editor of ‘The Book of Khartoum’ (Comma Press)

The eye-popping posters that promoted Egyptian films

The Egyptian film industry came to dominate the Arab world – and poster makers did much to secure its hold on the popular imagination

25 Aug 2023
Self-portrait (detail) by Van Leo, taken in Cairo in January 1945.

The photographer who created Cairo in his own image

Van Leo’s portraits capture a lost world and are in a class of their own, writes Raphael Cormack

27 Jun 2022
Howard Carter photographed with the golden sarcophagus of Tutankhamun in 1922 by Harry Burton (colourised version).

Golden boy – the timeless appeal of Tutankhamun

A century after the discovery of his tomb, our interest in the teenage pharaoh says more about the present than the past

1 Apr 2022
City II (1968) Huguette Caland

‘A real hit parade of work from almost every country in the Arab world’

An important survey of abstract Arab art throws up questions about the influences swirling around in the post-war period

3 Mar 2020
A postcard showing the Kursaal Casino and Music Hall, which was on Alfi Bey Street in the Ezbekiyya district of Cairo.

Life was a cabaret – the Roaring Twenties in Cairo

Most traces of the city’s early 20th-century nightlife have now disappeared. Only the shells of former casinos and theatres hint at this bygone era

6 Jan 2020
Toward Damascus at the Foot of Mount Qassioun, Muhajreen Quarter, c. 1933, Mustafa Farroukh, Collection Hani Farroukh

The modern Arab artists who have turned to words

A century of writing by and about artists from the Arab world is full of debates that still resonate today

30 Oct 2018

Were the Egyptian Surrealists too unpatriotic to be popular?

Surrealism in Egypt was an international affair that lost out to more nationalist art movements

10 Jan 2017

The legendary bookseller of Cairo

The death of Cairo’s self-styled ‘friend of researchers’ feels like another great loss at an already difficult time

29 Mar 2016

Egyptology from the point of view of Egyptians

Review of a groundbreaking study of overlooked 20th-century scholars

11 Feb 2016