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Gallery Misr: 'Tank Girl' by Nadine Hammam
Every now and then you find an art exhibition in Cairo that is completely different from all the others, to the point where you can’t stop Tweeting about it or taking pictures to put up on Facebook. This is exactly what happened when we stepped into Gallery Misr where ‘Tank Girl’ by Nadine Hammam was on display.
The first thing that caught our eye was the blue banner covered in pink letters, with the words: ‘GO LOVE YOURSELF’. The pieces, by Cairo born and raised Hamman, are mixed-media and focus mostly on gender dynamics and investigate the relationship between the public versus the private, the external versus the internal, which are key to Middle Eastern society.
Tank Girl is about the most primitive search for attention, affection and passion. It highlights the elusive yet complex relation of love and sex; something that, in contemporary social context, ties into the traditional overbearing Egyptian society. Hammam’s paintings suppose a stronger, more independent and more elusive female persona.
From an aesthetic point of view, Hammam’s pieces are multilayered and her use of colours pops. One example shows a female figure with a glittery bunny in between her legs, with text reading ‘Just Love Me’. The same colours are used in most of the series; mainly primary colours red and blue. Her piece ‘The Girl with a Hole in Her Heart’ features a woman sitting down with condom wrappers in the place of her heart. One of the best pieces, carrying the title of the exhibition, is ‘Tank Girl’. A woman sits with her legs straddling an army tank with the phallic shaped turret of the tank in an erect position and seems to be ejaculating rats.
Another very nice piece shows a woman sitting in a seductive pose with ‘You said you wanted me, so here I am’ written on her body. Condom wrappers make another appearance in a piece with two women back to back with the text ‘I need a revolver more than I need you’. The word revolver is made out of the wrappers while some words have a small white line with the text ‘Love me please’. We were also quite impressed with the ‘For How Long Will You Love Me’, which shows the word ‘me’ between the legs of the female figure.
If you want to purchase a piece by Nadine Hamman, you will need a fair amount of money. Pieces are between $8,000 and $20,000. They might be relatively pricey but then again, it’s worth it. The exhibition is an absolute must see and kudos to Nadine Hamman for tackling this subject in such a brilliant way.
Currently showcased at Zamalek Art Gallery’s Venue II, An Introduction to Voidness is an exhibition featuring a collection of exquisite bronze sculptures by Nathan Doss.
Doss’ unique sculpture pieces stand out inside the spacious gallery, with his style evokinga sense of the mystical, particularly when it comes to the lean stick-figures he has created, which appear to be stretching and reaching out for something.
Perhaps the most interesting aspect in those pieces is that though they feature both an object and a figure; the artist incorporates the two in such a way that they appear as one. In fact, in several of Doss’s sculptures, the viewer needs to apply much more focus in order to single out the figure entwined with the object.
One particular piece demonstrating that approach features a tall, lean figure thrusting a shovel into the ground. Both the man and the shovel are similar when it comes to their long, wiry shapes which have been merged together as though they are one.
A second sculpture depicts a man entangled within a kind of webbed-frame, though he doesn’t appear stuck or imprisoned by it, but rather part of it. This presents us with an entirely new object.
The title An Introduction to Voidness may be a reference to Doss’s style, which evokes many pieces containing holes similar to the ones we see in a honeycomb or a sheet of wire mesh. An Introduction to Voidness can also indicate a different kind of emptiness; one that exists inside a human being.
Born in Mallawy, in 1971, Doss earned a Bachelor’s degree in Fine Arts in 1993. His subject matter varies within his sculptures,though most of his work is quite figurative and there is a small number which is more difficult to interpret due to a more abstract style.
With an intriguing collection of small scenery, birds and people all created from bronze and incorporated into one dazzling display; An Introduction to Voidness is a highly recommended exhibition with so much to offer; especially when it comes to some insights into Doss’ interesting sculpting approach.