Sign in using your account with
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.
For ten days only, Ubuntu Art Gallery is displaying a collection of sculptures by renowned artist, Halim Yacoub, who is both an acclaimed sculptor and talented painter. This exhibition features some of his most intriguing pieces of work cast from bronze and the material alone fills the gallery space with a glorious glow.
From the moment we entered Ubuntu’s glass doors, we could see that the gallery is filled with a ray of figurative monuments ranging from a height of approximately one-to-two feet tall and each presented on a marble plinth. The general concept seems to be around animals and humans with shape and form being an important feature. Then there’s the material itself; Yacoub takes full advantage of bronze an ideal material when making sculptures, filling his pieces with the finest details, with the reflective qualities adding richness.
The first piece to catch our attention was the one of a duck-like figure; it’s only from the shape of the beak that one can associate it with a duck rather than a chicken or other bird, though the one leg that is visible is long and thin like that of a flamingo. The body itself is made up of bold curves resulting in a plump shape, though it does lack detail and should this sculpture be turned on its side or positioned at a different angle, it might be impossible to associate it with a bird at all.
Another sculpture portrays a horse, though it seems to show it in a more grotesque form than traditional arts have presented the animal historically. The legs are thick like tree trunks, it has a large upper body which suggests the horse is masculine, as does the strong face and the mane consists of sharp triangle shapes. However, despite the bizarre portrayal of the horse in terms of shape and form, the way the bronze material captures the light still bestows it a certain sense of honour, pride or position.
Born in 1937, Yacoub graduated with a degree in Interior Design in 1960 and then, in 1967, went on to achieve a Diploma from Zurich Academy of Fine and Applied Arts. He has since been widely recognised for his sculpture work and this exhibition is a true portrayal of the artist’s talent and ability in creating eye-catching works of art, showing familiar things, in an unfamiliar way.