Monday April 22nd, 2024
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This Egyptian Jewellery Label is Reviving Ancient Egyptian Symbolism

Taking inspiration straight from the ancestors, Artist Shereen Shawky’s label Dys-Euphoria is interpreting ancient history with an abstract and contemporary design language.

Ziyad El-Helbawy

This Egyptian Jewellery Label is Reviving Ancient Egyptian Symbolism

“Our ancestors were pioneers in symbolism and storytelling… I wanted to dig out those roots, and carve my own path with them.”

In ancient Egyptian mythology, creation began when primordial waters receded, revealing the first dry land - a solitary mound of earth known as ‘Benben’. According to legend, it was upon this mound that the rays of the sun fell for the very first time, marking the dawning of life itself. Millennia later, these origins remain a profound source of inspiration for Egyptian jewellery designer Shereen Shawky and her experimental Ancient-Egypt inspired label Dys-Euphoria.

An architect and visual artist, Dys-Euphoria’s founder Shereen Shawky’s creative spirit had been simmering for several years. Having graduated from the German University in Cairo’s School of Architecture, Shawky’s thesis project saw her diving deep into Ancient Egyptian Mythology, sparking a certain fascination that would come to shape her professional journey.

“My bachelor’s degree topic was on Ancient Egypt and Mythology - I’d researched a ton, and I had this extensive background of incredible knowledge and stories that I was so fascinated with. That’s what drove me into going down that path.” Dys-Euphoria founder Shereen Shawky tells SceneStyled.

Shawky's career path allowed her talents to blossom. After graduating university, she gained valuable experience working under acclaimed Egyptian architect Hassan Abouseda, throwing herself into the challenge of building out Abouseda's new online furniture studio. Her previous experience at Egyptian fashion house Maison Pyramide exposing her to the fashion industry, Shereen realised her innate affinity for meticulous craft and narrative-driven design. 

With a background in architecture, art, and product design, Shawky felt poised to launch a project of her own. She drew from these varied inspirations to conceive Dys-Euphoria, a jewellery brand where she could express both technical skill and artistic passion. “I wanted to take my experience in architecture, visual design, and product design and go into fashion to the beat of my own rhythm.” Shawky tells us.

Dys-Euphoria was soon launched, with its debut collection 'A Tribute to Benben' drawing direct inspiration from Egypt's creation myth. Intricate earrings took abstract forms representing central figures and concepts from ancient narratives. One particular design that Shereen holds dear is the 'Khepri Wings' earrings, featuring an abstraction of the scarab god Khepri, and scarabs in Ancient Egypt, who were likened to the sun due to their peculiar life cycle - a symbol of immortality and renewal. 

“The Khepri scarab was holy to the Egyptians; they likened it to the sun given how it reproduced seemingly out of nowhere. I wanted to pay tribute to that symbolism, and let that sun shine once more…” Shawky notes.

"Our ancestors were pioneers in symbolism and storytelling. Unfortunately now with everything being so globalised, we don't see that anymore." Through her jewellery, she aims to reconnect with Egyptian roots in a novel way. In Shawky's words, "I wanted to dig out those roots, and carve my own path with them; my own design language."

Within this collection, one discovers the ‘Sphinx Moth’ earrings, symbolising transformation through abstract forms, while the ‘Ba’ earrings embody freedom, taking the shape of an eagle. Shawky delves further, exploring designs such as the ‘Ma'at Wings,’ capturing the essence of balance and order through her artistic abstraction of the iconic symbol of the winged goddess. Each inaugural piece in this collection forays into uncharted realms of interpreting ancient myths in a contemporary visual language. Shawky adeptly navigates the terrain of honouring her cultural heritage while boldly pushing the boundaries of creativity, drawing from her diverse spectrum of professional expertise.

“I’m a visual artist through and through. I am in love with anything that is at once pleasing to the eye and has deep narrative roots.”

The label's name itself nods to this interplay of opposites. According to the designer, "Dys-Euphoria is my creative outlet. Throughout my journey there were dark times and good times." She continues, "Euphoria and its polar opposite. Life is about embracing the extremes with open arms." This sentiment is cleverly encapsulated in the name, with ‘dys’ hinting at difficulties while ‘euphoria’ evokes joy.

At its core, Dys-Euphoria seeks to spotlight Egyptian heritage in a modern context. Shawky's creations present ancient symbols with a neo-futuristic twist, acting as contemporary conduits to a mythic past. Blending architecture, art, and fashion, this young brand offers a window into the mind of a visionary designer on the ascent. With debut accolades including a finalist selection at Fashion Trust Arabia under its belt, and a bold creative spirit, Dys-Euphoria seems poised to make its mark showcasing Egypt's treasures both old and new.

“I’m a one woman team: I direct, I shoot, I brand, I design, and I dream.”

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