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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.
When Winston Churchill, former British Prime Minister, was asked to cut arts funding in favour of the war effort, his response was "…then what are we fighting for?"
Stylish flooring, iridescent, white walls and two spacious levels Duroub Gallery in Garden City demonstrates exactly that, with a group exhibition featuring the works of over fifty artists,
Artist Samir Abdel-Rahman, born in 1947, has a collection of 30 oil paintings on display at as part of the exhibition, focusing on Egyptian culture entwined with Islamic Art and iconic motifs.
One of his paintings portrays three rows of Egyptian men dressed in white galabeyas dancing, playing music and celebrating; though the figures are mostly white shapes with tanned faces, the background is a mixture of vivid orange and fiery red implying heat, energy and festivity. The painting is set out like the early Pharaonic wall paintings that exist to tell a story. The story here is clearly one of joy and celebration, perfect for during Ramadan.
Mohamed Yousef is another talented artist contributing to this exhibition with a colourful, cubist style painting, rich in colours and symbolism. One particular painting portrays a Bedouin woman garbed in shiny jewellery and colourful attire. There is a white bird present at the bottom of the female’s face which could be a symbol of peace; the woman’s face is strong and the centralised position could imply importance.
The second floor of the gallery displays, not only paintings, but also ceramics, jewellery and textiles both for viewing and sale. A pair of medium sized, pearl earrings cost 120LE. There is also a selection of stylish pendants created from glass plus some beaded jewellery.
Hung upon the wall is a beautiful collection of tiny, framed ceramic pictures; some feature old buildings in Cairo with tiny windows carved into the clay, others are of coral with glass fish in vivid colours. The contrast between the glass and clay creates a strong effect as the fish appear closer and stand out more due to their bright colour and shiny surface compared to the coarse feel of the clay. Overall these pieces are tiny, delicate yet beautifully created.
In addition to the numerous paintings, fine jewellery and these tiny creations, the exhibition also contains some amazing, intricate wire sculptures, which can be admired and appreciated from all angles.
Duroub Gallery’s goal is to create chemistry in art between different generations and bring them together through one diverse exhibition, to which we feel it has been successful. It really is a marvellous mixture of talent; art mediums and forms making it well worth a visit to Duroub Gallery.