404 EG: Awakening the Nonexistent

Writer: Nada el Nady

Editor: Abdullah Sobhi

While two Egyptian teens wander aimlessly through the barren (in the artistic sense) streets of Cairo in search for a place to scribble down, voice out, paint, or capture what has forever held their ultimate passion and shaped their bodies and souls, they still hold on to the hope that one day they’ll find it, that one place that would serve as so much more than just a platform for expression and a community to belong. However, as the days went by, they finally started taking in the bigger picture, the fact that no such support exists in a society such as theirs, and it’s in that moment that the nonexistence of art sparked the motive to create it.

Pen or a brush, guitar pick or a camera, this is our common ground, let the ink unite us and let the soft bristles of your brushes draw the smiles on our faces, it’s now your time.

Meet Yousef Mansour and Salma Zakareya, our two teens and the creators of 404 Egypt—the error of a non-existing URL service that would prompt the unity of all artists. This platform spots artists of all talents and abilities and gives them the chance to share their art, engage in what would be a chance to enhance their different abilities through experimental events, and receive the appreciation they have yearned for and, through the years, deserved.

We are aiming to be a community of young artists of all genres. Our dream is to establish a wide, diverse network of passionate creators and to build a platform where they get the exposure they deserve and share their art in a supporting community where they get accepted and valued.

Yousef Mansour

Yousef, a singer and poet, and Salma, a photographer, found the need of expressing and showcasing their art in themselves and others, and in the process, decided to provide their society with what it has forever lacked. On their own, the two managed to slowly craft their way towards the dream agency they have always wished to create, never giving in to the obstacles and various ups and downs that every startup is bound to face. They dismissed all the “you’re nothing but young startups” and “it will end up as a failed trial” comments and pushed through, creating a supportive platform that functions in the form of events out of scratch. The community started getting supportive when everybody around them witnessed the amount of work they put into it all.

Even though Yousef and Salma worked through it all on their own, all of their events have undoubtedly succeeded, their biggest being their launching event in which they partnered with 5 other well-known platforms across Egypt. This event was an open mic/exhibition that welcomed more than 400 attendees, 33 performers, 80 artists, and 100 exhibited pieces of art.

The Launching event took loads of work, from the venue to the printing and framing, all the logistics and preparations, the unique designs of the tickets and the public image that we needed to spread as we are starting. People usually wondered how we did it, just the two of us, but our reply is mostly that hard work and passion can defeat the inevitable, in addition to God’s will, of course.

Yousef Mansour

404 is preparing for a new event that will take place on the 14th of December at Soul Lounge, Maadi. The event will be the first volume of open mic nights that will go under the name “Speak It Out” and will feature a multiple array of talented performers who’ll get a chance to express themselves out for the public. If you’re a singer, spoken word poet, or even a stand up comedian, we suggest you not miss this chance of becoming part of what you’ll find to be the most supportive community in all of Egypt. They are also planning to start an internship program in 2020 that would last for about three months and provide workshops as well.
Whether you are a stand up comedian, a singer, a poet, a photographer, a painter, an illustrator, or a contemporary artist, find your place in 404 Egypt: a vast array of opportunities, a community like no other.