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N-ART: Building a Network of Visual Artists in Egypt

Could an online platform give way to a new generation of artists to be seen?
N-ART: Building a Network of Visual Artists in Egypt
N-ART is the first mobile application that emphasizes building a network of visual artists in Egypt, as well as globally.

Egypt has a strong connection with art that traces its root to Pharaonic times. Today, Cairo is home to tens of different art galleries exhibiting ancient and contemporary art from across the country. However, artists in Egypt face the same problem experienced by millions of artists all over the world: getting enough exposure to the fantastic artwork they produce. One innovative solution to this problem could be Nart.

Nart, or Network for Artists, is a mobile application aiming to build a social network of artists in Egypt. Art lovers, artists and galleries alike can download the app and create their profile for free. Art lovers can browse and purchase a wide selection of art, while artists can upload images of their art and create a portfolio of work for people to browse. Finally, galleries can upload information about their upcoming events and discover and collaborate with the most talented artists in Egypt and vice versa.

The biggest benefit of Nart’s platform is that it reduces the cost for artists to increase their exposure. Instead of having to rent expensive gallery space, artists can simply upload their artwork to the startup’s app. Furthermore, artists don’t need to rely on conventional social media and instead can use a dedicated networking platform made up of like-minded artists and prospective buyers.

The app is the vision of Nadia and Farah Shoukry, sisters with decades of experience in Egypt’s art industry, who saw how the majority of Egyptian artists were underserved, in need of the exposure their amazing artwork deserved. While artists in foreign countries benefited from well-established support networks, Egypt’s artists were not afforded the same luxury. According to Nadia, “Nart has solved a major problem for artists since they can now display their art easily”.

After developing their idea into a working concept the two were able to secure close to $20,000 in funding from Falak Startups, a regional startup accelerator, to take their vision to the next level.

“Nart has solved a major problem for artists since they can now display their art easily.”

Nadia Shoukry, Managing Director, Nart

Nart’s journey hasn’t been without its difficulties. Farah says it’s often hard to explain their platform to older artists but once they grasp the concept they’re enthusiastic to get onboard. Furthermore, as with any new platform, it’s difficult to attract large galleries and well-known artists to join the platform. However, since its founding in 2018, Nart has amassed a network of over 200 artists in Egypt, displaying over 1000 pieces of artwork to the world. 

Marwa Ragab, an Egyptian interior designer and photographer, heard of Nart through Facebook and decided to download the app. She loves how easy it is to browse and buy a wide variety of art directly through the app, without needing to spend hours visiting galleries. Moreover, she loves how photographers can also use the platform to show off their work as well.

The two co-founders hope to grow their platform significantly, reaching over 300 artists by the end of 2019 and expanding into other art hubs such as Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, the Emirates and Lebanon. Farah says there are over 25,000 artists in Egypt so the potential growth for Nart is exponential. The two want to grow the app into a network platform for artists across the Middle East and the rest of the world, creating the premier destination for everyone to indulge in their love of art.

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