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Gezirah Art Center: Summer Student Exhibition
Zamalek's Gezirah Art Center is currently hosting its annual summer collection, which serves as a showcase the creations of young Egyptian artists and art students all over Cairo.
Residing within the beautiful historical mansion that is Prince Amr Ibrahim Palace, Gezirah Art Centre is a work of art in itself and surely stands out as a unique landmark; with its Neo-Ottoman architecture style and its scenic tranquil garden decorated with stone and metal sculptures dating from the early 1900s.
Within Gezira Art Center's three halls - named Ahmed Sabry, Ragheb Ayyad and Al Hussein Fawzi - sit a colourful, imaginative and inspiring collection of artwork.
The Ahmed Sabry Hall contained a colourful collection of mosaics, collages, drawings and paintings by children as young as eight years-old. Further in, university student, Nada Al Ramly, displays a beautiful piece showing a boat floating on calm water, portraying a calm essence through pastel colours and delicate brush strokes.
Being the largest among the halls, the Ragheb Ayyad Hall offers the most variety in the exhibition, displaying pieces by art students. The first piece is by Hesham Abdel Fattah, portraying an elegant looking couple sitting together on a stool with a slightly urban background and sea view. The piece is painted in romantic tones of dark reds and browns and in a highly sophisticated style that demonstrates both the student's skill and passion for the arts.
A series of wooden collages were both imaginative and pleasing to the eye and it was nice to see many sculpture pieces within the exhibition, which added more diversity to the collection. A particularly alluring piece was the ceramic vase, by Anis Gamel, with its obscure form and colours that could almost resemble underwater caves.
The Al Hussein Fawzi Hall holds perhaps the most traditional pieces, featuring a collection of Islamic and Christian paintings along with Pharonic paintings, all of which are narrative and involve a rich cultural approach. One particular piece by art student Mennatallah Ashraf, captures Picasso's refined style which was delightful to contemplate.
Overall, Gezirah Art Center's summer exhibition is a festive event with many students attending with their families. It was truly inspiring to witness the children's talents which exceeded our expectations displaying an impressive collaboration in terms of presentation, skill and hard work.
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.