Sign in using your account with
Al Bab Selim Gallery: 'To the Other' by Walid Jahin
Walid Jahin was born in 1974 in Alexandria, Egypt; he earned a BA in Fine Art at the Alexandria University leading on to an MA in 2005 and now he is exhibiting a magical series of painting at El Bab Selim Gallery. The title given to this exhibition is 'To The Other' and each and every piece that has been submitted holds something extraordinary.
From the moment we entered the gallery's maze-like structure, a ray of blue-green colours were almost bursting out from one particular painting; it featured a man and a woman embraced in each another's arms and was clearly emphasising a strong and positive emotion between them. The blue-green colours of the two characters seemed to merge together until they were almost like the colour of stone which made them resemble ancient stone-statues. This was further emphasised by the sturdy body proportions as they had an essence of the Greek, marble statues that always stand so tall and proud.
The figures in Jahin's paintings could easily be seen as statues of mythological Gods and Goddesses or of those that guard the ancient temples. They possess an importance and hierarchy about them which is further emphasised by their large scale and delicate beauty. The female form is a concurrent theme within Jahin's work and it is said that he is aiming to portray the woman as sacred, elevating her into another realm, one without any limitations. He wishes to show women as being free. Another delicate touch within his paintings are the red lips on the women; they are painted in a tone that contrasts every other colour on the canvas making them both eye-catching and beautiful, the reason for this is to emphasise the overall importance of women in his work.
Walid Jahin creates his gigantesque masterpieces using a variety of materials, the main medium however is paint, both oil and acrylic, though some of the pieces feature collaged elements using tiny bits of silver and gold paper on canvas.
One of the details to look out for in this series of paintings is that some of the women are posed with their eyes closed; this of course illustrates the serene, dreaminess of his paintings though it also suggests that there is so much more behind the woman's body, such as a deep and powerful soul.
While the main element in these paintings is the female figure which is outlined with thick black lines, there are also great mounds of white flowers in several of them too; these emphasise the beauty and softness of the female's essence as well as creating the overall sensual mood that Jahin's paintings portray. Overall, 'To The Other' is a successful exhibition that deserves much appreciation for it highlights the divinity and beauty of women everywhere.
While the late Inji Efflatoun has become known for her colourful paintings, Safar Khan Gallery’s current exhibition shines a light on Efflatoun’s ink-on-paper collection, ‘Freedom After Prison’. Utilising the chosen materials through different techniques, Efflatoun created a diverse collection of sketches, which depicts life in the Egyptian countryside.
In some of the paintings, Efflatoun used staccato pen strokes to form the scene. One of them is ‘Rest Time’, in which the artist drew the masses of resting workers, adding a touch of detail here and there to break the detachment of the outlines.
On the other hand, other paintings boast a flowing outline, especially the ones including palm trees and greenery. In one of the best pieces in the exhibition, Efflatoun not only studies the form of palm leaves, but she also adds a creative touch to this simple form, filling the thin outline of the element with waves of ink, using the wide tip of a black marker.
Merging between the previous two techniques, Efflatoun drew a number of scenes that portray the dwellings of the peasants. For example, in one of the paintings, the artist used a continuous outline to draw the houses, while pen strokes were used to form the shape of other details, like palm trees or straw ceilings. Where necessary, Efflatoun used the wide tip of the marker for creating shades.
Though the different shades of ink are dominant in this exhibition, the gallery shows four paintings in colour, three of which are by Efflatoun herself and the fourth is by the exhibition’s guest of honour, the late Taheya Halim.
While two of Efflatoun’s were placed in near the front desk, making it difficult for the viewer to have a close look at them under the stares of the curators, the third, which portrays the artist while working in a simple set of brush strokes, is placed amidst the other ink paintings. However, being the guest of honour, Halim’s Painting, which depicts a Nubian couple seated on a bench, is centred on the wall facing the entrance.
And whether in colours, or merely painting using ink, ‘Freedom After Prison’ is sheer proof of the artist’s brilliant ability to create animated paintings using different mediums.