As I've mentioned before, my aim with documenting and sharing my visits to art-related events is to essentially highlight the exceptional, underrated and under-represented community of artists we have here in Cairo. I'm not an art critic but rather an inquisitive observer. And I definitely don't intend on discrediting or criticising galleries and artists, instead, I want to utilise this opportunity to become more well informed, delve further into the Egyptian art scene and discover more talents.
You may find my interpretations to be more of a synopsis than your typical critiquing review because my main focus here is the work itself and I'd rather start a conversation about it rather than proclaim success or failure. Which is why I prefer delivering a general outlining of the work and the artists, and leave the rest to the readers' imagination.
Zamalek Art Gallery is arguably one of Cairo's most well known galleries that has been active within the Egyptian art scene for more than 15 years. This is my first review on Zamalek Art Gallery's exhibitions and I wanted to start it off with their annual Masterpieces collection.
Zamalek Art Gallery
16.7.17 - 20.9.17
11 Brazil St.
A little over 60 art works were exhibited and the artists featured in the exhibition include:
Farghali Abdel Hafiz, AbdelRahman El Nashar, Yasmine El Hazek, Amina ElDemirdash, Souad Mardam Bey, AbdelAziz Saab, Sameh Ismail, Mostafa Abdel Moity, Ayman ElSaadawy, Ahmed AbdelTawab, Kamal El Fiky, Nathan Doss, Gamal El Sagini, Zeinab Al Saginy, Adel Mostafa, Rabab Nemr, Adel Tharwat, Khaled El Abbassiry, Carelle Homsi, Emad Ibrahim, Georgy Fikry, Gazbia Sirry, Hussein Bicar, Mohamed El Fayoumi, Saleh Abdel-Sabour, Wael AbdelSabbour and more.
Note: I will only be sharing a number of works for the purpose of not giving away too much therefore I unfortunately will not be able to feature all the artists involved in the exhibition. This does not mean that some works deserved to be mentioned more than others; on the contrary, I really appreciate all the work and artists involved.
Farghali Abdel Hafiz is one of Egypt's most established artists. One who has expanded and explored many different mediums and approaches to painting than most artists we see today.
Nationalism is deeply rooted within in Abdel Hafiz's work. They are a form his own celebration and pride of Egypt as the Motherland of the world.
He's known for his use of earthy materials such as sand, clay and mud combined with his dynamic colours, symbols and figurines placed in the context of the past and the present.
Based on his career, one can perfectly describe Abdel Hafiz as a multifaceted artist with a great patriotic spirit, even in Egypt's most turbulent times, he constantly creates and encourages an uplifting and unified Egyptian identity.
Abdel Hafiz's style has definitely changed over time in terms of aesthetic when you compare his work in the 60's to his current work. I personally prefer his older works.
Rabab Nemr is genuinely one of my favourite artists of all time. Nemr draws most of her inspirations from her beautiful city of Alexandria and moulds her cubist impressions with her ever-changing colour palettes.One of my favourite things about her is that she does not confine herself between her signature figures and that she's a true artist who constantly seeks new horizons to pursue within her work.
She paints from memory and constantly reinforces a sense optimism with her impeccable attention to detail. With such a special and distinguishable style, the embodiment of her work nurtures the idea of vitality and hope.
Khaled Sorour’s collection of paintings reveal the daily nuances we experience in Cairo represented through his pop-art-like-style with bold outlines creating depth within his work.
Hussein Bicar was one of Egypt's most noteworthy and accomplished artists of the 20th century and the first Egyptian to illustrate Arabic children's books. He was also a teacher, storywriter, poet, reporter and musician. He's known for utilising the Nubian and Ancient Egyptian cultures within his artworks.The austerity within Bicar's work is highlighted with his strict lines. As a multitalented individual, Bicar made a conscious decision to steer away from Western art and create his own approach to art, and he believed that channeling his Egyptian roots would aid him in doing so. And I'd definitely say it did
Emad Ibrahim's emotionally charged paintings become heightened especially in this one with his monochromatic colour palette.
Ibrahim signature mix of charcoal and acrylics portrays a lot of the life in the countryside with his paintings, revealing its simplicity and peacefulness; which it creates a great contrast with the other paintings that depict the bustling Cairene streets.
Amina ElDemirdash's spontaneous brush strokes and appreciation for the beauty of imperfection in a society that highlights the importance of vanity is quite special and definitely adds a certain depth within her work. She's constantly inspired by the characters of people as opposed to their physical appearances, architecture and places. This piece is part of her first acrylic and pastel nude collection.
Gamal Abdel-Nasser’s sculptures were perhaps one of the highlights of the exhibition.
Gamal El Sagini is a legendary and widely renowned Egyptian artist. Like many of the artists, Egypt was the main catalyst for El Sagini's work.
Based on the events taking place he would express his hope, discontent and unequivocal love with his country.
El Sagini always wanted to feed the viewer's mind and soul, to the extent that when he found that his work was piling up in his studio rather than in the streets of Cairo, he threw his work into the Nile as his own act of dissent. He proved his the power of his passion and his powerful desire for people to see his work so that it can fulfil it's duty.
I'd say Gamal El Sagini is definitely an artist whose work will live beyond its times because of his undying commitment and love for his craft.
Ahmed AbdelTawab has a massive collection of work, and is not limited to a certain medium, he weaves in and out between bronze, granite and wood.
His abstract forms are emblematic of his preference for geometric shapes and bold lines. Very simple yet potent in it's effect.
Nathan Doss has created his own style that cannot be attributed to any art movement or artist style. Doss's ambitious attitude towards his work paved way for his originality.
Doss has proved himself to be a conscientious artist having demonstrated his own form of liberation when it comes to creating sculptures leaving us with such an unconventional yet beautifully familiar aesthetic like the above photo.
Don't miss all the work displayed in the exhibition. You also must check out Mohamed El Fayoumi and Khaled El-Abbassiry's sculptures, and George Fikry's paintings.
Comment your thoughts! Have you been to the exhibition? What did you think?