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Gallery Grant: Summer Collection 2015
Artists have always been interested in reviving objects in their paintings; something that is beautifully captured in the pieces of the gallery Grant's annual summer collection in Abdeen district.
Gallery Grant, is currently hosting an annual summer collection featuring remarkable artworks from all artists who exhibited their pieces over the past year. The gallery provides a soothing atmosphere and an educational, enlightening and artistic experience to all its visitors, with its adequate lighting and its stylish and modern interior.
As we enter the gallery's hall, an assemblage of paintings hung on the walls instantly draws our attention, all of which are traditional, moderately small and framed to add that extra touch of refinement.
The first painting we came across is a modern abstract piece by esteemed Egyptian artist Mohamed El Zahid, which seems to entail a story of precision, colour, shape and form; from afar it could almost be considered a still life, perhaps a room with objects and furniture together creating an interesting composition. Warm reds and oranges tones are used in the background, whereas cooler tones; blues and greens, are used for the objects, creating a clear separation between the two.
Most of the paintings covering the walls of Gallery Grant have an oriental flavour, focusing particularly on Bedouins and rural life in Egypt. One artist, Hassan Rashed paints a young Bedouin boy playing an instrument similar to a guitar; his skin is dark as is his robe, though the ta'aya on his head is full of vivacious colours and intricate patterns, which are also featured in the background.
Farouk Shehata is another artist who applies his attention to oriental art, particularly focusing on Egyptian scenes, though his style is quite modern in relation to traditional, realist artists. Two of his drawings rely on portraying Egyptian scenery including the river Nile, tall palm trees and a mosque. Shehate's aesthetic can accurately be described as a beautiful and personal scenic scribble on paper.
Perhaps one of our favourite artistic creations within this exhibition is a piece by Hoda Murad called 'Strelitzia' (commonly known as the Bird of Paradise).
Using oil pastel over paint which defined the strong lines of the stem as opposed to the thicker paint used for the petals, Murad succeeded to capture a 3D-like flower glowing against a dark background like tiny flames of a candle.
Gallery Grant's summer collection is small in size yet beautifully composed with a small collection of the paintings on for sale
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.