Dr. Reem El Mutwalli, Founder of the Zay Initiative in conversation with Shahira Mehrez, Creative Advisor to the Zay Initiative, Researcher & Collector of Arts & Crafts.
OUR GUEST: SHAHIRA MEHREZ
A Creative Advisor to the Zay Initiative and lifelong supporter of Middle Eastern arts, Mehrez began collecting and archiving Egyptian peasant dresses as a teenager. She holds a master’s degree in Islamic art and runs El Arish, a Sinai-based women’s collective that produces hand-embroidered Bedouin pieces. She is passionate about preserving traditional crafts and domestic resources while updating them for contemporary audiences.
Shahira’s collection of over 500 dresses, which is the largest in Egypt (and possibly the world), ranges from heavy black wool Bedouin Sinai cloaks to bright cotton Nile Delta prints decorated with ribbon and Siwan dresses finished with mother-of-pearl buttons.