Build engaged audiences through publishing by curation.
|Current selected tag: peinture. Clear.|
Your new post is loading...
In his first solo show in the art-crazed Dubai, prominent contemporary artist Khaled Hafez exhibits a series of paintings and drawings drenched in symbols and iconography that attempt to unravel the complex, multi-layered Egyptian identity.
An enduring characteristic of Hafez’s work is contrast; his collages juxtapose symbols of contemporary culture, such as models cut out from fashion magazines, with ancient Egyptian iconography, for example.
The appearance of a multitude of symbols and icons that reflect the underlying themes the artist toys around with; such as the collision of civilisations and generations, assembled as busy collages bathing in paint and alternative materials, renders Hafez’s work constantly vibrant and dynamic.
Former culture ministry official Mohsen Shaalan exhibits his artwork – completed during his recent one-year stint in prison – at Cairo's Gezira Art Centre until 28 February.
Charged with negligence and professional delinquency and imprisoned for a year after Van Gogh’s $55 million "Poppy Flowers" was stolen from the Mohamed Mahmoud Khalil Museum, former Deputy Minister of Culture and enduring artist Mohsen Shaalan, 62, rendered prison as his personal studio.
An exhibition entitled 'Black Cat: A Prison Experience' that opened 16 February at the Gezira Art Centre showcases the artwork Shaalan created behind bars. Prowling through the collection of large scale oil paintings and ink drawings is a black cat, a symbol for the feeling of injustice experienced by the artist.
Mohsen Shaalan, who had been working for the ministry of culture since 1989, does not deny the lax security and wretched condition of the the museum. In an investigation carried out by the attorney general following the robbery, it was uncovered that out of the 43 cameras at the Mohamed Mahmoud Khalil Museum, only seven were functional (...)
Art and freedom
The only fragment of freedom he could hold on to was art. After resistance and a brief refusal to get accustomed to life in prison, Shaalan adapted to his reality, and in any ways capitalised on it. His son, Ahmed, brought him art supplies in prison, serving as a trigger for an unexpected artistic endeavour that Shaalan exhibits in February.(...)
The Muslim Brotherhood and Salafis give artists cause for concern. Their work reflects the country's uneasy mood and conflicts.
The Muslim women in Marwa Adel's photographs are shadows, repressed by custom, religion, marriage and regret. While nude, the figures are obscured by sepia scrims, scrawled upon with stifling words — as if their true selves may never be known.
Like their creator, a single mother edging at the bounds of artistic freedom in a patriarchal society, the images are at once vulnerable and defiant. A man from the Muslim Brotherhood, the nation's dominant political force, which is infusing Islam into a once-secular government, scolded her at a recent exhibition.
"He had a long beard and he stood up and told me, 'How could you do something like this? You are a Muslim.' He said women should be veiled and covered. His kind wants us to cover our minds, our issues. I told him, 'Don't worry about me. I know my God very well.'"
She touches a computer screen. A woman, face in hands, surrounded by cages, seeps to life. She touches the screen again. And again. (...)
"The ultraconservatives say I'm an atheist," she said, adding with a piercing dig at the opposite sex, "but if you argue with a man, you argue with God."
The political rise of the Brotherhood and more extremist Salafis scares Egyptian artists, writers, satirists and journalists. Brotherhood leaders engulfed by political unrest and economic turmoil have not, at least at this point, shifted significant attention toward galleries and museums.
The ArtTalks gallery in Cairo's Zamalek neighborhood is prone to works that touch upon the revolution: Wailing mothers holding the hearts of fallen sons; an imam and a priest, sitting side by side with pensive expressions; a family portrait as if painted from the 1940s — before a stricter Islam was imported from the Persian Gulf — with unveiled women and men in western suits. One of the most striking paintings is a half-male, half-female nude, kneeling, the face covered by a veil, the body part of a cross. The image crystallizes the crises of religion, civil rights and identity radiating through the Middle East.